Dan Jiggetts – CHICAGO BLITZ
Dan Jiggetts took a front office job with Chicago Blitz following the ’82 strike-shortened NFL season. Acting as the director of pro-player procurement, Jiggetts also played on the offensive line for the Blitz in his two years in Chicago. Jiggetts, who graduated from Harvard, wasn’t welcomed back to the Bears after acting as a player-representative during the players’ strike that shortened the season to nine games. “There were several of us that were persona-non-grata and found something else to do,” says Jiggetts, 22 years later with a laugh in his hefty voice. “Coming to the Blitz gave me an opportunity to stay in town and help put things together on the management side.” Jiggetts welcomed the opportunity to be part of something new in professional football.
The Blitz stormed into the playoffs with a 12-6 record in their inaugural season, but lost to the Stars in the playoffs in a heart-breaking defeat, 44-38 in overtime After the successful ’83 season, the owners of the Wranglers and Blitz swapped franchises for the 1984 season. This enabled the former Blitz owner, Dr. Dietrich, to be close to his team in Arizona where he resided. When Marv Levy took the job he was unaware that the players were traded along with the coaching staff and some front office people. “After I was at work I realized the entire roster was swapped,” says Levy from his Chicago home in November of 2005. Things got worse for the beleaguered Blitz franchsie, as new owner Dr. Hoffman decided to pull anchor before the season started. “It was after we lost a game to the Panthers and I saw Doc and asked him where he was going? He said, ‘I’m done, I’m out-of-here,’” says Jiggetts wryly. “That’s the last time I spoke to him, before he could legally leave the team midway through the season.”
In 1999, Jiggetts stood by his old-friend, Walter Payton, as the legendary running back announced he was suffering from a rare liver disease. As Payton spoke in a soft and sobbing voice in front of America’s media, Jiggetts put his
hand on his long-time friend, showing support in this time of crisis. “We worked together on our radio show for three years and when we had the press conference to announce he was sick, it was the hardest thing to do,” says Jiggetts, reflecting fondly of his longtime friend. “Walter was the greatest friend and teammate anyone could have. If you put a description of what a football should be, just go back and analyze the career of Walter Payton. He was the most ferocious competitor, but gentile as a lamb off the field and a great practical joker.”
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