Jerry Rice has been selected to the Pro Bowl 13 times, he has been named an NFL All-Pro 12 times and has won three Super Bowls with the 49ers. Yet he has never donned the cover of Madden, the best-selling American sports video game in history.
However, Rice is hoping his time is now as fans will have the opportunity to vote him on the cover by going to ESPN.com/MaddenVote. A total of 64 players will be involved initially, but each week that number will dwindle. One side of the voting bracket is filled with 32 legends, while the other is filled with 32 of today's superstars.
Round one of voting kicked off yesterday, with the final vote taking place on April 24. The cover athlete will be revealed on ESPN's SportNation, just as it was last year. The show airs weekdays at 4 P.M. ET on ESPN2.
49er fans, do yourselves a favor by going online and voting for the greatest wide receiver to ever play the game.
B/R: What would it mean for you personally to be on the cover of Madden 25?
Jerry Rice: It would mean the world to me because this is something that I always wanted to accomplish and never got the opportunity to. Looking at Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb, Marshall Faulk, there are so many guys that have been on the cover and now with the legends, they’ve given me the opportunity; so it would be right up there with all the awards that I have received like winning Super Bowl MVP and all that. So I’ve got my fingers crossed. I’m excited, I’m a little nervous because there are some great athletes that really deserve to be on that cover of the video game.
B/R: Why should fans vote you onto the cover of Madden 25?
Jerry Rice: I know it’s a popularity situation, but I think I've got some fans out there that really appreciated the way I played the game, always gave 100 percent. And another thing too, I think I would look good on the cover of Madden Football. That’s one thing, but like I said, a lot of other guys are entitled, but I hope the fans get on Twitter, they vote me in and I finally get a chance to live a dream. And that’s being on the cover.
B/R: Do you think A.J. Jenkins has what it takes to contribute to the 49ers in big way next season?
Jerry Rice: I am still waiting to really get with him and work out with him, but from what I have heard, the guy has the quickness and speed to get open. And he got a little bit of playing time, but I think it was great for him to experience what he was experiencing with the 49ers, watching the veterans prepare the way they did, so I think he is really going to help that team a lot. I just heard also that they just signed Anquan Boldin. Now you’re bringing in a guy that has a lot of experience, he has been there before and he really hurt them during the Super Bowl with the plays that he was making. So I’m sure with Kaepernick, he’s excited about that signing.
B/R: What are your thoughts on Colin Kaepernick and his future in the NFL?
Jerry Rice: You could tell he felt like he really belonged on that football field, he demanded control of the huddle and he was able to make plays with his arms and then also with his legs. I was just talking to him and the funny thing about him is that he only took a week off and then he got right back into his regimen, so this guy is real serious about being one of the best quarterbacks to play the game and I think he is headed in the right direction.
B/R: Do you believe the “Pistol Offense” is a fad, or is it here to stay?
Jerry Rice: I don’t think it’s here to stay, but I think it’s going to be around for a while. It really exposes your quarterback to hits. I think Baltimore did a great job in the way they prepared and got ready for the Super Bowl. You notice when Keapernick handed the ball off, there was always somebody there trying to inflict some pain. But this guy can drop back in the pocket and be a pocket passer, yet I don’t think they want to take away from him running the football. However, you don’t want to expose him that much; look at what happened to Robert Griffin III. So I don’t think the pistol is going to be around that long.
B/R: In your eyes, what area should the 49ers focus on upgrading during the offseason?
Jerry Rice: You know I really thought they had everything in place. They just got rid of the kicker and you can always add defense, but I think just adding more weapons on offense is going to make them more potent. They’re just going to have to be able to finish it and really gain a lot of momentum and kick that door in. They came close this year and I’m sure the players have that bad taste in their mouth right now saying, "Hey, look, you know we had a great season and we got to the Super Bowl, but that’s not good enough." Now they are going to have to come back, and it is going to be a little more difficult because teams know now what they are capable of doing.
B/R: Which young receiver do you think will explode onto the scene in the next couple of years?
Jerry Rice: You know, I look at A.J. Green and Julio Jones and what they’re doing. I’m just amazed while watching him with Matt Ryan. Watching Julio Jones develop into that playmaker, not to mention his route-running and the way he can utilize his speed to blow by you. Also, he’s not afraid to go up and attack the football, so it’s going to be one of those two guys that is really going to blow up this year.
B/R: Is there any wide receiver out there right now that resembles you and the way you played the game?
Jerry Rice: You know I look at Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald and their work ethic. It’s not about just what they're accomplishing on the football field; it is more than that. They can put up so many great numbers, but they know that it is about teamwork to get the ultimate goal and that’s to win the Super Bowl. So it is not about just me, me, me. You know they’re completely team players and not a big show on the football field and also off the football field.
B/R: What are your thoughts on Anquan Boldin, and the role they will use him in next year?
Jerry Rice: Well I think as a slot receiver, he’s a nightmare. You are going to have to really pay attention to this guy going down the middle. He’s a big, physical guy and he’s not afraid to go across the middle. He is very reliable at making big plays, just like he did at the Super Bowl on that fourth down when he just went up and attached to that football and kept the chains moving. So this is a great acquisition for the San Francisco 49ers. I'm not saying that this is going to get us over the hump, but at least we’re headed in the right direction.
B/R: Any thoughts on the potential Darrelle Revis trade, or is it now out of the picture with the Boldin trade?
Jerry Rice: You know, I think it is pretty much out of the picture. I don’t know if he is going to stay in New York, but just listening to everything that has happened there, I think he wants to get out. He wants to go to a contender, and I had thought maybe the 49ers would reach out to him to try to bring him in because he is an exceptional defensive back. But with the signing of Anquan Boldin, I don’t think that is going to happen.