On Grimm and Not "Real Pretty Football"

Transcript from "The John Riggins Show," August 5th, 2010

Lou Holder:  There was a time when the whole league knew counter-trey was coming, and they couldn’t stop it (laugh), they couldn’t stop it.  Randy White, you can’t stop it.  We’re running it right at you.

Riggo: It was a play that, I don’t want to say struck fear in anybody’s heart, but it was a play  that they got tired of having to try and stop, because you had Jacoby and Grimm in your face, and Donny Warren, if that was the heavy side over there, and with these guys, already the pile started to move, and then when I got there and slammed it, it moved a little bit further, and the next thing you know, you get up from the scrum, and you’re about 3 or 4 more yards down the field.  Not real pretty football, but certainly dominating football.
It’s funny we’re saying this, because I was thinking about, when you think of the fear that different backs , and I don’t want to put myself in that category, but there’s a difference between a power back and a finesse back.  I remember Howie Long talking about Barry Sanders --- uh, I mean your worst nightmare, having Barry Sanders out there.  And that is a fear --- Barry can go the distance in any given moment.  But with the power backs, those are the guys, that really ... it isin’t necessarily fear, but it’s where they actually steal your manhood... that’s where it’s mano e mano, it’s down in the pitt, and that’s what crushes team spirit, and that’s what crushes the will to resist.  I remember George Dickson, the running back coach, that was here back in 78’,  George told me, “You know, eventually during the course of a game, one team breaks the other team’s will to resist.”  And that’s what those teams were back then, that were led by guys like Russ Grimm.  There was no finesse.  We weren’t a west coast offense.  I mean we could throw the ball down field, make no mistake about that, we could throw the ball down field against anybody, but it wasn’t necessarily what we did. Everything was predicated off of hitting somebody and continuing to hit somebody, until they finally started to give.  You know you just keep hammering away,  what do they say?  it’s like when you take a block, a big rock, and you start hammering it with a sledge hammer, it doesn’t break on the first blow, it may not break on the tenth blow, but sometimes, all the sudden, that 50th blow, it turns into rubble.  And that’s kind of the way that offense was. 
And as I say that, the defense was very similar in the same regard. The turn overs. Richie Petitbon had guys comin’ from all over, you never knew really what was going to happen out there.  There were guys that were playing at a very high level... had their motors runnin.’ 
We go back to those days, and everyone remembers that fondly.  Isin’t that human nature? Once you get a taste of something, and once you’ve been there,  this privilege becomes a right,  and all the sudden when you get it yanked away, all the sudden, it’s not so much fun anymore. 


  1. Wow, what Anonymous said! I always thought it was about breaking the other guy's will and ultimately the team, one by one in a 1 hour (3-hour) matchup. Thank you Senor Riggins. I can't begin to tell you how much fun that was for a very long time. Welcome Sir Grimm, you stand among the giants.

  2. My kids were little, learned Hail to the Redskins as first learning to talk. They knew #44, they knew the play. I moved to the FL Keys, Dolphins country. On my office door was the 4th and 1 play. Every Dolfan that saw it stopped in awe. They knew greatness.

  3. Nice, thats how I remember it. It all seemed to change when they brought in Desmond Howard for Art Monk. Monumentally bad idea.

  4. Yes, I was a dolphin fan and remember vividly watching Riggins and crew pound on the fins in the superbowl. Yes, the defense eventually turned to rubble, just like he said. It was Marino's first super bowl, something he never won.

  5. Hemingway would love that.