TAMPA, JAN. 25 -- John Riggins will find out Saturday afternoon if he has been voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, although he said, "If it's a nice day, I might be outside when they call."
In his first public comment since being named two weeks ago as one of 14 modern-era finalists for enshrinement in Canton, Ohio, the former Redskins fullback said: "The only thing I can really say is that I'll be very happy if it happens. I'm happy to be considered. If it doesn't happen this time, I'll take my turn and wait for it down the road."
Riggins, the sixth all-time leading rusher in NFL history, is considered a strong candidate for the hall, although the selection committee has always been unpredictable.
The 31-man committee, made up of writers and broadcasters from around the country, holds its annual voting Saturday morning in Tampa. A vote will be taken to reduce the list from 14 to 10. After the final 10 have been determined, a second vote will cut the list to six names. Those six will be voted on, individually and in alphabetical order, with a yes or no for membership.
Depending on the number of selectors attending, a candidate will be elected if he receives 80 to 83 percent of the votes. Four to seven members are elected each year, including a candidate put forth by the seniors committee, which this year chose former Chicago Bears offensive lineman Stan Jones.
The modern era candidates are running backs Riggins and Earl Campbell; offensive linemen John Hannah and Bob Brown; quarterback Ken Stabler; wide receiver Lynn Swann; tight end John Mackey; kicker Jan Stenerud; defensive linemen Carl Eller, L.C. Greenwood and Jack Youngblood; cornerback Lem Barney and team executives Al Davis and Tex Schramm.
USFL Has Super Impact
Super Bowl XXV will be a sort of celebration for the U.S. Football League, with three Giants and five Bills having begun their pro careers in the league that died in 1985.
In addition, Buffalo General Manager Bill Polian and Coach Marv Levy ran the Chicago Blitz for one season before its bankruptcy.
"Do I have great memories?" Levy said. "Well, not really. Just before I took over the team, they swapped players with the Arizona Wranglers and I went from having a pretty good team to one that went 2-14. That symbolized a lot of things about that season."
A lot of things included making road trips in yellow school buses and having dressing rooms devoid of several essentials.
"One Christmas, one of our assistant coaches gift-wrapped toilet paper and gave them away," Levy said. "We teetered all season and finally collapsed after the season."
Polian said watching Levy "hold that team together" convinced him he was a special kind of coach, which ultimately led to the two men and several other Blitz front office staffers rejoining each other in Buffalo.
Others from the USFL include Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, center Kent Hull, safety Dwight Drane, kicker Scott Norwood and linebacker Ray Bentley and Giants center Bart Oates, punter Sean Landeta and running back Maurice Carthon. Bills Green on Grass
Sunday's game will be only the fourth time the Bills have played on grass. They are 14-1 on turf and 1-2 on grass, losing in Washington and Miami and winning in Cleveland.