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Friday
Nov 28th

Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith, and John Randle inducted into the Hall of Fame

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ryanMany, including myself, consider Jerry Rice the Greatest Football player to ever grace an NFL field; and I do mean grace. While Rice did have a few “diva” years in the beginning of his NFL career, you don’t hear much of that because of the hard work and professionalism shown throughout Rice’s career. Typically, you can make a statement like that and it just breezes by without one really noticing the words “hard work” and “professionalism”, and really thinking about there meaning. With Rice, you must pay attention to these words (See: Rice’s legendary training regiment, and meticulous nature all the way down to his uniform), because he is one of those unique individuals who mastered the meaning of the George Washington Carver quote: “When you do common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the World.”

The only way to really compare Rice’s NFL statistical career is to compare him to some other player, in some other sport, because only a few in NFL history can even sniff (and I do mean sniff)…sniff, the statistical success Rice achieved in his career. I highlight the word “sniff” because there is one of those “sniffers” sniffin’ ‘round the Vikings current roster. I’m sure Brett Favre, said sniffer, has a nose like a bloodhound, but I have to use him as an example of why the few historically accomplished NFL souls such as himself, cannot sniff…ok I think you got it by now.

To explain, Jerry Rice holds the overall NFL record for the most yards gained from scrimmage (the scrimmage line is wherever the referee places the ball for the offense), with 23, 540!!! That is 4.5 miles of catching a ball while running through some of the worlds strongest, finest athletes, who are dead set on knocking your nose in the dirt. The most important thing to keep in mind with that statistic is that Rice is a wide receiver. Wide receivers run around and wait for someone else to throw them the ball in order for them to be successful.

Quarterback statistics aren’t coupled with the receivers and running backs because for the most part quarterbacks sit back and toss the ball to someone else, and so it’s easier physically to throw a ball 1,000 times, than to run the ball 1,000 times (though the mental acumen is more difficult for the quarterback). Running backs have the ball handed to them most of the time, or at the very least are only catching the ball a short distance from the quarterback who is throwing it to them. Receivers line up the farthest from the quarterback; run through and around multiple lightning-fast behemoths; then turn their heads and look for the quarterback and ball through the forest of lightning-fast behemoths; then clear their mind of all the lurking danger so they can concentrate on catching the ball before being pummeled by a behemoth running full speed at them (which many times the receiver can’t see, but can only hear the ground pounding, and behemoth grunting getting louder and louder as they near impact); and then once the receiver has caught the ball, they must have the presence of mind to start their break dance routine of spins and jukes, because the behemoths don’t care that you just went through all of that to get the doggone ball, so they still wanna break you off something vicious (and for a few million dollars I don’t blame ‘em).

I go through all of that because when looking at the NFL record books, Jerry Rice is the only receiver in the top 10 for overall yards; and it’s wrong for me to say top 10 when the man is #1. And did I mention that Rice also #1 in NFL history with the most touchdowns!!! A receiver!! Running backs even have the benefit of: 1. Not having to catch the ball for most of their touchdowns, and 2. Getting several no-brainer 1-inch, 1ft, or 1yard touchdowns, which is easy money.

Brett Favre holds the NFL records for a handful of longevity-related statistics at the quarterback position, and several other quarterbacks in Favre’s performance class seem to get the most lauding as the greatest NFL player ever. That’s all beautiful for comparison except for one fact…Rice has three Super Bowl victories. Case closed. And if you want to compare Rice to anyone, it would be Wayne Gretzky…who they call The Great One.  Gretzky is Canadian, so congratulations Jerry Rice, you are The Great One in American Sports.

Jerry Rice is so great (at football, not “Dancing with the Stars”) that I only have space to say Emmitt Smith (#1 in yards in NFL history for a running back) had the best Hall of Fame speech, and John Randle of the Vikings, also inducted in the 2010 NFL Hall of Fame, picked on me in the weight room at Mankato too often so he gets last mention. Hope I see him so I can tell him to put some more weight on the doggone bar. That was in the 90s and my chest still hurts …but congratulations to that behemoth, too.

 

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