Jerry Rice elected to Hall of Fame


Congratulations to the Saints and all their fans in winning the Super Bowl.  It was a great game to watch and a much needed win for the city of New Orleans.

The day before the Super Bowl the NFL announced the 2010 Hall of Fame inductees which included 49er legend Jerry Rice.  First,  congratulations to Mr Rice, your induction is very much deserved.  It was always automatic that he would be named to the NFL HOF when he retired but for all the records he set at wide receiver and for his legendary work ethic and hunger to always be better it was not always apparent that he would become the best wide receiver of all-time and one of the best NFL players to put on a uniform when he entered the league.  In the 1985 draft Bill Walsh traded the 49ers first two draft picks with the Patriots for their 16th pick to select Rice.  NFL scouts liked what they saw from Rice while at Mississippi Valley State but most teams regarded him as a second or third round pick because of his speed.  Walsh loved what he saw in Rice and knew he had to trade up in the draft if he wanted to land the wide receiver.  The rest is history.

Rice credits his work ethic to his father, Joe Nathan Rice, who was a brick mason.  As a teenager Rice would help his father with his brick work which created the well-known story of his father throwing bricks up to him on a second floor for him to catch. If Rice dropped any of the bricks from the scaffolding he would have to pay for the broken ones.  The elder Rice was not preparing him to be an NFL player but was instilling in him a work ethic that he translated into his off-season workouts as an NFL player.

Growing up in Orange, California I was lucky enough to see Jerry Rice play numerous times.  Anaheim, CA which was 10 minutes from my house was where the Los Angeles Rams played and the 49ers would come into town each year to play their division rivals.  My dad had season tickets for the Rams and I was able to watch Rice and the 49ers destroy the Lams each year until they moved to St. Louis in 1995.  One of my most favorite memories of Rice was in 1993 when he caught a ball one-handed on the sideline and continued into the end zone, untouched.  He instantly become my idol growing up and I was lucky enough to interview him late last year and of his potential HOF induction he said,  “It would mean the world to me.”

My favorite memory from watching him on TV was on September 5, 1994 when he broke Jim Brown’s long standing career touchdown by scoring his 127th TD of his career.  I remember Rice catching it between two Raider defenders and I instantly jumped up into the air as he raised both arms to celebrate the touchdown.  I still have the newspaper from the day after he broke the record and now I get to add to my 49ers newspaper clippings with his HOF induction.  As a first-ballot inductee Rice will be enshrined on August 6.

Rice by the numbers

Receptions: 1,549

Receiving yards: 22,895

Touchdowns: 208

Awards

13-time Pro Bowl selection: (1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2002)

3-time Super Bowl champion: (1988, 1989, 1994)

NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team

NFL 1980s All-Decade Team

NFL 1990s All-Decade Team

Super Bowl MVP in 1988

Rice’s NFL records

All-purpose yards: 23,546

Total yards from scrimmage: 23,540

Receiving yards: 22,895

Touchdowns: 208

Receiving touchdowns: 197

Single season receiving yards (1995): 1,848

Receptions: 1,549

100-yard receiving games: 76

1,000-yard seasons: 14

Consecutive games with a touchdown catch: 13

Super Bowl receiving yards: 589

Super Bowl receiving yards in a single game: 215

Super Bowl receptions: 33

Super Bowl touchdown catches: 8

Video of Rice being selected to hall of fame

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