Jerry Rice, Hall of Fame wide receiver, was named by the NFL as the greatest player in the history of the sport. His playing days with Hall of Fame quarterbacks Joe Montana and Steve Young are well documented, but during a previous interview on Pro Football Now, Rice said he wishes he could suit up with a few current quarterbacks.
Without hesitation, Rice selected Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, and Tom Brady as truly “exceptional players” at the position. Perhaps his San Francisco roots compelled him to add Colin Kaepernick to the list, saying, “I think I could make him a better quarterback.”
Just this week, however, Rice seemed to revise the list slightly. In a Tweet from Bill Simmons of Sportsnet on Monday night, Rice kept Rodgers and Brady in his top three, but added Russell Wilson.
Surprisingly, the starting quarterbacks for Super Bowl 50, Peyton Manning and Cam Newton, are omitted from his shortlist. With eight career Super Bowl touchdowns, maybe he thinks he’s caught enough of those.
One fact is certain: Rice in his prime would have made any one of these elite quarterbacks even better. The all-time leader in receiving yards is literally miles ahead of the second-place spot in the record book. With 22,895 yards over his career, Rice is 4 1/2 miles further than Terrell Owens, who shows up next on the career receiving yards list with 15,934. Rice’s 197 career touchdowns are unparalleled as well, with 41 more than Randy Moss at #2.
Football fans and fantasy players have plenty of film to see the Montana-to-Rice and Young-to-Rice combinations on the playing field. But how about a Brady-to-Rice or Rodgers-to-Rice highlight reel? Looking back to see the signature stride of Jerry Rice flicker on my screen inspires this current football fan to wonder: What If?
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