Riggo Discusses Twitter and the Skins
The best part of John Riggins's early experiments with Twitter? That I had to ask him for some mild help understanding his 140-character blasts. Even as every athlete plus their fourth cousin has started twittering, there haven't been terribly many references to the Stepford Wives. So what, for example, did Riggo mean by bringing that up when discussing last weekend's preseason Skins broadcast?
"Mind control," he said. "Everyone on the broadcast team felt like they were a member of the Stepford Wives. That's what it felt like I was watching. Everything was beautiful, every player on the team is all-world, this team does nothing wrong."
Or in tweeting that the broadcast made him think of Robert Shaw's Battle of the Bulge?
"There was a shot of Snyder and Zorn," Riggins recalled. "Snyder was wearing the Redskins hat with a parka on. Right away you think tank commander . He was right in the middle of it. In fact, I couldn't tell who the head coach was and who was the bystander."
Saying he'd rather pick up Freddy Krueger as a hitchhiker than Brett Favre?
"Brett Favre is scarier than Freddy Krueger, are you kidding me?" he said. "That guy has some emotional problems. If he's goofing on everybody, I give him a standing ovation and say you're far in front of the rest of us, but I don't think that's the case. I think this guy's ego is so big, and he clearly enjoys this so much, that he's become pathological."
Riggins was concerned that his tweets are too obtuse, but I'd say the bigger issue is that I'm too dull. Either way, your access to the thoughts of Riggo will only increase as football season nears. Riggins said he'll share his "particular slant at life" both on his feed and on an upcoming Facebook page and Riggo44.com Web site, which will feature longer-form blogs. Why the social media blitz?
"I don't know if I really have a good answer, other than, according to Madonna, you have to reinvent yourself every so often," he said. "I never got a tattoo, I never got an earring. I think Twitter may be something similar. I figured, 'Hey, I denied myself two of these things, why not try this?' This seems a lot less harmless, and I don't have to see someone to get the tattoo removed."
Riggins, of course, has been a fixture on local media and TV shows through much of his retirement, and while he isn't a massive consumer of sports news, he sees what's happening and forms his opinions. In some way, "you get the feeling people rely on what your opinion is," he said, and Twitter is an easy way "to stay in touch with fans and let them know what you're thinking."
Like, what's he thinking about Mike Vick?
"Guy wants to come back and play football, get the hell out of his way," Riggins said. "What is football all about? It's basically about punching people, beating them up. If you look at the essence of football, there's rules, but the whole purpose, the job description, is to create mayhem on the field, which we legitimize by calling it a game. So now everybody who's a football player is supposed to be Dudley Do-Right? Don't you have to be a little pathological to play the game, a little bit unbalanced? So now we expect these people to be Congressional medal winners? What do you think you're watching here, Tiddly Winks. To me it's a contradiction."
Or this Tweet, about Jason Campbell: "JC showing signs of offseason turmoil, pressure mounting, when you shoot at the king; must kill him."
Again, being dull, I asked for an explanation.
"Management of the Redskins went after the king," Riggins said. "They took a shot at him, a couple times in fact, botched both attempts, and ended up with now a shaken king. Point being, is the king going to be able to perform with all the pressure that keeps mounting? Maybe I've got to be a little more straightforward."
No way. Anyhow, will the king be able to perform?
"Gosh, I'll tell you, Jason's a kind of guy that you'd want to take home, if you're a woman, and introduce to your mom," Riggins said. "But that doesn't necessarily translate onto the football field as a quarterback. I saw one moment last year where I thought maybe he might work. After the Giants game, he was completely humiliated, he in particular, along with Jim Zorn. I saw in that New Orleans game what I thought to be a guy that could be a leader, a guy with some fire. He had the flared nostrils in the second half when, he threw the touchdown pass.
"That's the guy. That was a week of humiliation, all the goading he did to himself, the hair shirts he put on and went through, and he got to that performance. And then the team started winning and he slid back into the old shoes of comfortability, which is who he really is. It's not unlike Wade Phillips down in Dallas. It's not in his personality to be that cocky guy, that in your face guy. I think there's an edge that perhaps he doesn't possess. That's just my opinion, I don't know, but as I've said all along, he seems to be more a guy who manages the game for you, and if everyone else makes plays, he can manage the game for you.
"If you're down to 90 seconds on the clock and you need a touchdown, is Jason Campbell that guy? Is he gonna take you down the field. I'd have to say I have my doubts."
Riggins becomes the second prominent ex-Skin to jump on Twitter this month; Darrell Green has already nabbed well over a thousand followers and, among other things, has engaged them in a discussion on what he could run in the 40. I asked Riggo whether he and Green were likely to become twittering pals.
"I hung out in the shed with the Hogs, he actually went to the light," Riggins said. "Kind of opposite ends of the spectrum. He's where the light is bright, I'm down at the bottom where it's kind of purple."
But, like all of us, Riggins already understands the lure of trying to build up his followers. As his numbers have gone up this week, he said, he felt like a politician, trying to play to the polls.
"Your ego gets involved," he said. "It's a weird dynamic. You feel like you've got to get pissy--how many followers you can get. In the end, is it an ego thing? Is it all about self-glorification? I don't know. Clearly you can get a message out. There's parts of it that actually are very fascinating, the part where you can immediately let people know what's on your mind."
And to steal a little bit of his thunder, here's his prediction for the '09 Skins, in 126 characters:
"I'm not gonna give you a number, but it looks to me like more losses than wins. I just think it's more of the same, basically."
Posted by: mopp04 | August 27, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: punchdaclock | August 27, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: tapscott_k | August 27, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: jansjay | August 27, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Barno1 | August 27, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: richs91 | August 27, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: richs91 | August 27, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: TheFingerman | August 27, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: malcolmyoung1 | August 27, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: didnik | August 28, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.