The JMRA Hall of Fame Class of 2012 inductions begin with the G.O.A.T.
JERRY RICE, WR – SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS, OAKLAND RAIDERS, SEATTLE SEAHAWKS, (1985 – 2004)
Any argument against Joe Montana being the greatest quarterback of all-time could begin with one rather simple refrain:
He threw to arguably the greatest football player of all-time.
When NFL Network released its list saluting the greatest players in NFL history, it was Rice, not Browns all-world running back Jim Brown, who finished on top.
While surprising on the surface, it’s easy to see why he is considered the greatest player ever.
When discussing the greatest skill players of all-time at their respective positions, talk over the best quarterback, running back, or tight end could go well into the night.
How long does the greatest receiver argument last? A minute or less?
From 1986 to 1996, Rice was named to the All-Pro every year except for 1991 when the 49ers had to switch from an injured Joe Montana to backup Steve Young and jettisoned long-time starting running back Roger Craig during the offseason.
Only a torn ACL in the ’97 season opener against Tampa signaled the end of Rice’s domination. Even that injury had its limits. Rice returned during that same season to play in Week 16 and catch a touchdown pass (he suffered a broken kneecap on the play).
Whether it was as a 49er or even in his stint as an Oakland Raider or a Seattle Seahawks, Rice was a cut above the rest.
Yes, he played with a pair of Hall of Fame quarterbacks in Montana and Young but Rice’s game was flawless regardless of who threw him the ball.
He hit all of the checkmarks including productivity and longevity. No receiver in NFL history caught more passes for more yards and more touchdowns than Rice.
He was truly a San Francisco treat…and arguably, the single best player in NFL history.