(Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers)
Talk of Fame Network
Hall-of-Fame receiver Jerry Rice holds virtually every career pass-catching record in the NFL … yet he played in an era where the rules weren’t as friendly to the passing game. So imagine if were active in today’s NFL.
You don’t have to. We did it for you, asking Rice on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast if he could become the first 2,000-yard receiver in the NFL under today’s rules. He didn’t hesitate with his answer.
“No doubt,” he said. “No question in my head or anything like that. I prided myself on running great routes, getting separation and paying attention to detail. And (also) being able to defeat man-to-man coverage, getting off the line of scrimmage and just opening up a lane where the quarterback could deliver the football.”
The NFL’s career leader in catches, yards receiving and touchdowns, Rice led the NFL with a career-best 1848 yards receiving in 1995. Of course, those were the days when defensive backs were allowed much more latitude than they are today – with receivers often locked in physical confrontations that more closely resembled wrestling matches.
More times than not, Rice won them.
Of course, that wouldn’t happen today. Rice would be exposed to much less contact, and the results would speak for themselves. At least, Jerry Rice believes it … and so do we.
“With all the new rules, it goes to the advantage of the receiver,” Rice said. “I remember back in the day if the ball wasn’t coming my way I was still getting hit – and they (officials) didn’t throw flags or anything like that.
“The league is trying to do q better job of protecting players, (but) if I played with the rules today, man, I could have a field day with some of the things I could get away with. But I played in an era where I loved playing because it was all about contact, knowing exactly where the defensive back was, pushing each other downfield and getting separation.”