One of the things that make sports so intriquing are the endless debates about who is the greatest at which position. Montana, Unitas or Manning? Kobe or Jordan? Payton or Jim Brown? Debates such as these are waged in sportsbars and barbershops nationwide. Sports enthusiasts cycle through sport after sport, position after position, with the exception of one, wide receiver. When the question is asked,"who's the best wideout ever?", there is only one answer, Jerry Lee Rice, period, end of discussion.
Now I'm sure there are people out there who will ask how I can make such a bold claim on an issue that is usually a matter of opinion. To that, I simply quote Denzel Washington in the movie Training Day, "It's not what you know, it's what you can prove!".
To my knowledge, Jerry Rice is the only receiver to amass two careers worth of stats in one. Factor in that this was done primarily in the short-passing attack of the West-Coast offense, and his achievement becomes all the more impressive. In sports, the best arsenal for arguing one's point are statistics and accolades.
Here is a very condensed look at Jerry Rice's resume at the time of his retirement in 2004:
- 3-time SuperBowl Champion (SuperBowl XXIII MVP)
- 1987 NFL MVP 13-time ProBowl selection 10-time 1st Team All-Pro
- 274 consecutive games with a reception
- 1549 receptions 22895 receiving yards 208 Total TDs
- 22 TD receptions in only 12 games during the 1987
On August 7, 2010, the Pro Football Hall of Fame will welcome with open arms, inarguably the greatest wide receiver in the history of professional football. For those of you who challenge this statement, I pose a simple question, if not Rice, then who?