Jerry Rice: A Football Life
After watching NFL Network’s, A Football Life, I can honestly see why Jerry Rice was the Greatest of All Time. I’ll put my hatred of the Niners aside for the next hour…
What I learned about Jerry is that he grew up outside a small town in Mississippi known as Crawford, his Dad was the local mason, and he loved to chase horses. Jerry would spend up to 45 minutes chasing and then catching the fastest horse in town, Petey. When he wasn’t chasing horses, he was working with his brothers and his father, catching bricks all day. No wonder Jerry was the best receiver of all time. The guy grew up chasing horses and catching bricks. Yes, chasing horses and catching fucking bricks. That is how you build the greatest receiver of all time.
As he grew older, he would go on to attend Mississippi Valley State University playing under coach Archie Cooley. Cooley designed a pass heavy offense for Jerry and star QB, Willie Totten. The two paired up nicely and together they earned the nickname “The Satellite Express”. At MVSU, Jerry broke 18 Division 1 records and recorded 28 TD’s during his senior year. Due to the small-school factor, almost every coach in the NFL looked beyond him, except Bill Walsh.
Jerry only ran a 4.7/40 yd dash, but he still caught the eye of Bill Walsh, head coach of the 49ers. I can’t believe he only ran a 4.7. The best receiver of all time ran a 4.7? Absolutely crazy. However, football genius, Bill Walsh noticed Rice’s explosiveness and knew he would be a great fit for his West Coast offense. In fact he was drawing up plays for Jerry before they drafted him. During the 1985 draft, the Niners made a deal with the Pats to jump up to #16 in order to draft him. As soon as Jerry showed up to training camp with the Niners he was in awe. Small town guy now in a big city, go figure. In his 1st season, he dropped a lot of balls. While he felt like a complete failure, he still recorded 49 catches for 927 yards and earned the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Late in the season in a Monday Night game against the Rams on December 9, 1985, Jerry set the single game franchise record for receiving yards with the help of Joe Montana.
Joe is quoted, “Jerry wasn’t the fastest guy, but he had a knack to get behind defenders, if he saw the football in the air he would go get it because he knew it was his. I remember when he scored 5 TD’s on Atlanta in his 2nd season because nobody could guard him 1 on 1.”
Jerry learned a hard work ethic from his father at a young age, and he never lost it. He was known for his intense work out regimen which was centered around a 2 1/2 mile sprint up a mountain. Terrell Owens said he had to stop and rest a few times, while stating about Jerry, “that man is no joke, the man is a beast.” Jerry’s fear of failure is what kept him on his toes and he defined “strong work ethic” to many of his teammates.
Joe Montana and Jerry would lead the Niners to victory in Superbowl 23. Jerry had 11 catches for 215 yards and a TD beating the Bengals 20-16 and earning the Superbowl MVP. After the game, the media was more so focused on Joe Montana instead of Jerry, so Jerry spoke out. Not affecting his relationship with Joe whatsoever, the two would guide their team to the Superbowl the following year. The Niners beat the Broncos 15-10 and Jerry dominated the game with 7 catches, 148 yards, and 3 TD’s. Unfortunately, 3 of the team leaders: Roger Craig, Ronnie Lott, and Montana would leave the Niners during the offseason.
The stormin’ Mormon, Steve Young, joined the Niners that year, and Jerry wasn’t used to catching balls from a lefty. It took a lot of practice until the 2 clicked, but when they finally did, they were unstoppable. They reached the NFC Championship two years in a row, in 92′ and 93′, but lost both times to the Cowboys. America’s team? Ya right, fuck Jerry Jones and the cowdicks. Then “Primetime” Deion Sanders joined the other side…
While Deion may have been cocky, he backed it up, winning the 1994 defensive player of the year. The Niners played the Cowboys again in the NFC Championship, this time, coming out victorious 38-28. In preparation for the Superbowl, Jerry wanted his teammates to stay in and stay focused. Deion, of course, wanted to party. A few nights before the game, the two got into a heated argument, which almost ended up in a fist fight. That would be some fight, huh? I would take angry Jerry over Deion any day. I would even bet a G that he would knock out Deion within 30 seconds of the fight.
The Niners ended up smoking the Chargers 49-26 and took the Lombardi Trophy back to San Francisco. Jerry had an outstanding game: 10 catches, 149 yards, 3 TD’s. Over the course of 3 Superbowls, Jerry had: 28 receptions, 512 yards, and 7 TD’s. OUTFUCKINSTANDING.
Jerry was always known to be the best dressed player on his team on or off the field. He would even comb his hair before putting on his helmet. He was a perfectionist and he defined the motto of “look good, feel good, play good.” During the late 90s, the “play good” portion of his creed became unseen by his coaches. He was no longer viewed as an elite wideout after the Niners acquired young stars, Terrell Owens and JJ Stokes. He was certainly aging but his tough work ethic never faded away. His daughter, Jacqui (smokeshow) found him sawing off his cast the night before a Monday Night game at The Stick against the Broncos. How did he perform? He caught a TD with a bum knee.
In his final home game at The Stick against the Bears on December 17, 2000, coach Steve Mariucci wanted Rice to be Jeff Garcia’s #1 target. In the first 30 plays, Jerry was targeted on 15 of them. So the Bears began to double-team him, leaving Terrell Owens in single coverage. Garcia and TO took advantage of this, and TO went on to break the all time NFL record for most receptions in a game with 20 (Brandon Marshall now holds the record with 21). Jerry was quite upset that the day wasn’t focused on him anymore, so he asked Mariucci to put him back in with 1 minute left. Garcia aired out a deep ball to him over the middle of the field, and the crowd went crazy. The Niners carried Jerry off the field in his historic last home game at The Stick.
In 2001, at age 39, Jerry was picked up by the Oakland Raiders and pulled in 175 passes in 2 seasons from Rich Gannon. The Raiders met the Bucs in Superbowl 37 and got smoked. Why did the Raiders get smoked? 1. Gruden knew the entire playbook because dumbfuck coach Bill Callahan didn’t change a thing. 2. Rich Gannon was a baby squid and didn’t throw the ball over the wide open middle (when he finally did, Rice scored a TD).
Rice joined the Seahawks at age 42, and at 43, he wasn’t able to earn a starting spot with the Broncos, so he finally retired.
Jerry Rice truly is the Greatest of All Time. He holds a plethora of NFL records including: most career receptions (1,549), most career receiving yards (22,895), and most career TD receptions (197). Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010, Jerry was the King of YAC and there will never be another GOAT.
By: Dago Joe