Archive for Saturday, October 27, 2001

Riggins would be ideal candidate for spot in Monday Night Football booth

October 27, 2001


A friend of mine came up with one of the best zingers I've heard about the atrocious sound system in Kansas University's Allen Fieldhouse

Said Ron Evilsizor: "How come some kid with a second-hand car can spend about a thousand bucks and get sound gear you can hear three blocks down the street . . . and those geniuses on the Hill can't even figure how to help us hear better in the fieldhouse?"

We're not talking about some ragamuffin in the cheap seats. Ron and his family have spots right behind the scorer's table on the main level. Like so many others, they feel cheated by the average offering from the public address system.

Ron says that when announcer Max Falkenstien uses one of those big portable mikes for a presentation, the audio isn't too shabby. Most other times, crummy.

Basketball coach Roy Williams did KU fandom a big favor when he re-emphasized the miserable acoustics after the recent Late Night With Roy.

Funny-man Dennis Miller continues to draw flak for his contrived and convoluted humor attempts during ABC's Monday Night Football telecasts. The guy is bright, well-read, quick and talented. But he continues to try too hard and comes off as some irreverent, self-immersed intellectual with a license to bore.

If Miller's canned, as it appears he will be, how about former Kansas star John Riggins as the replacement? Riggo not only is witty and articulate but he's a Hall of Fame back with a Super Bowl ring and most valuable performer pedigree. He's comparable to Dandy Don Meredith, the puckish old Dallas Cowboys quarterback who used to spar with Howard Cosell. Nobody's yet measured up to Meredith. Riggins could make people forget Dennis Miller in a wink.

Riggo starred for the New York Jets and Washington Redskins and is an extremely intelligent guy with a lot of views on many things. When he'd talk about football, he'd do so from a deep background as a player, bon vivant, man about town and actor.

The Centralia, Kan., product has been on radio and television talk shows recently and always has something enlightening to offer, funny or professional. He's not bashful and could add a lot.

Two of the greatest quotesmiths I ever encountered were the late Phog Allen and Riggins. You could call either one at 3 in the morning (about the time John got home from a night on the town) or run across them in a supermarket; they'd always have something bright and lively to say.

When he was living back here in the off-season, Riggins frequented the same grocery store I did. We loved to zap each other verbally and he always came out ahead, except once.

I sneaked up from behind John, attired in short shorts, a leather vest, no shirt and a mohawk hairdo and asked softly: "Say, didn't you used to be Larry Csonka?"

The reply, very basic, even for a guy with a good vocabulary. Trust me, it wasn't nearly as polished as the time John attended a Washington dinner and, seated at the same table with Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, advised her to "Loosen up, Sandy Baby!" That's one night Riggo had complained earlier about a low ceiling only to discover he had drunk himself under the table.

John later sent a bouquet of apology. "Sandy" laughed it off, they met informally and get along fine. Riggo with his great career, glibness, lilt and checkered past would be ideal for Monday Night Football.

Kansas football fans can't say much about Oklahoma's decision to use against Nebraska a couple players arrested over the weekend for less-than-noble behavior. After all, quarterback Mario Kinsey and running back Reggie Duncan could be in equal, or worse, trouble for their credit theft and misuse caper. Their victim was Miss Kansas USA, who filed charges that the KU duo are still dealing with.

Question is, if Kinsey and Duncan are convicted later, do they stay on the roster or does Terry Allen have to cut them for more than the one-game suspension earlier? Are they keeping up their grades, will they draw penalties such as community service if not jail-time, will they pay penance and will both be back next season?

Lots of folks think the two should have been hit harder than a lenient Terry smacked them. Whatever, they're in the woodshed with many fans and if they step out of line once more, there'll be a major civilian uprising.

Then there is massive fullback Joe Hall at Kansas State who seems drawn to academic and social misconduct. The 260-pounder who played pretty well at times against Texas A & M is on the pan again, this time for probation violation. I guess one of the big jock mysteries of all time is how this guy was able to pass an alleged 17 hours of summer school to be eligible a year or so ago. Albert Einstein would have been taxed to do that!

Funny how Kansas and Kansas State fans love to jibe each other about jocks who run afoul of the academic and legal system. This year you didn't hear many "character jibes" either way because each club had at least one cause celebre to blush about, along with their frustrating losing records.

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