Sport fans will always debate who was the greatest player of all time in various sports or who was the greatest player at a certain position. Even for uberstars like Ruth
there are always some fans who would argue that someone else was better, whether it be Willie Mays
or Oscar Robertson
. But when it comes to football wide receiver
s, no one can rationally argue that Jerry Rice
was not the greatest of all time.
Rice's numbers speak for themselves. He is the all-time leader in every conceivable measure of a wide receiver's worth, including receptions, receiving yards, touchdowns, touchdown receptions, and consecutive games with at least one catch. The cornerstone of the San Francisco 49ers dynasty of the 1980s and early 90s, Rice helped lead the team to Super Bowl victories in the 1988, 1989, and 1994 seasons.
Rice built his total dominance of his sport upon incredible hands, brilliant route running, sharp cuts, and blazing break-away speed. But Rice also was one of the hardest workers in the game, adhering to an extremely rigorous training regimen and always seeking to improve his game. Rice's efforts paid dividends by allowing him to come back from two devastating knee injuries in the 1997 campaign.
The son of a Mississippi bricklayer who could not provide his son with many opportunites, Rice's learned the value of hard work at an early age. A standout at obscure Division I-AA Mississippi Valley State University, Rice was passed over by many teams in the 1985 draft despite great scouting reports, because he was thought to have run up good stats against poor competition. The 49ers were willing to gamble however, and a dynasty was born.