When a player in any sport is in consideration to be one of the greats in a particular sport, there is usually a physical characteristic that one can attribute to their greatness. Lebron James stands out because he is built like a tank.
Reggie White was one of the greatest defensive ends that ever lived. However, he stood out because he was a tank at 6”5” and 300 pounds.
The measure of a player’s greatness is magnified when they can achieve amazing accomplishments without having any physical attributes that make them stand out.
Jerry Rice never really stood out in terms of physical attributes. He was 6”2” and 200 pounds. He did not have blazing, electrifying speed. However, he possessed all of the intangibles needed for success and then some. Consistency and hard work were Jerry Rice’s strongest attributes.
However, this is not a surprise, given how Jerry Rice was raised.
Before CBD infused drinks were ever a thing, Jerry Rice was born in Starkville, Mississippi. His father was a bricklayer by trade and held down other jobs to support his family financially.
Jerry Rice once said that he learned the definition of hard work by watching his father work. Jerry Rice played college football at Mississippi Valley State. He would set the NCAA Record for most receiving TDS
Rice ended up being drafted as the sixteenth overall pick in the 1985 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. Rice played for the 49ers for fifteen incredible years. In his rookie season, Jerry Rice nearly had a 1,000-yard season in spite of the fact that he only started 4 games. He was selected to the Pro Football Writers Association All-Rookie Team. (1985)
After his rookie season, Jerry Rice would go on to have 1000-yard seasons for the next 11 years (1986-1996)
Within those 11 seasons, Jerry Rice led the league in receiving yards six times. (1986, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995). At the same time, Jerry Rice led the league in receiving touchdowns. (1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, and 1993). Additionally, Jerry Rice won the NFL Offensive Player of the Year award twice. He was the common denominator when the 49ers transitioned from Joe Montana to Steve Young at the beginning of the 90s.
Of course, Jerry Rice won 3 Super Bowls during this period. He was the MVP of San Francisco’s 20-16 victory in Super Bowl XXIII over the Cincinnati Bengals. Jerry Rice’s performance stood head and shoulders above the rest. He had 11 receptions for 215 yards and 1 touchdown.
Jerry Rice’s streak of 11-straight 1000-yard seasons ended due to an injury he suffered during the 1997 season. He would have another 1,000-yard season in 1998.
After his tenure ended with the San Francisco 49ers, Jerry Rice signed with the Oakland Raiders. He would have two more 1,000-yard seasons (2001-2002). Jerry Rice would play his final full season in 2004 with the Oakland Raiders and the Seattle Seahawks.
Jerry Rice’s records and accolades are too long to list. He has all of the NFL-wide receiving records.
He is the all-time leader in receiving yards with 22,895 receiving yards. He is also the all-time leader in receptions and touchdowns. I don't expect any of the records to be broken anytime soon.
Jerry Rice was also selected to the 1980's All-Decade Team and the 1990's All-Decade Team.
He was also selected to the NFL's All-Time 75th anniversary and 100th-anniversary teams.
Jerry Rice was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2010. He is the greatest wide receiver in NFL History. Furthermore, he should be considered one of the greatest NFL players of all time.
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