Jerry Rice Hall Of Fame: Top Five Reasons He's The Best WR Ever

Mihir Bhagat@mihirbhagatSenior Analyst IIIAugust 7, 2010

Jerry Rice Hall Of Fame: Top Five Reasons He's The Best WR Ever

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    17 Dec 2000:  Jerry Rice #80 of the San Francisco 49ers walks off the field during the game against the Chicago Bears at the 3Com Park in San Francisco, California. The 49ers defeated the Bears 17-0.Mandatory Credit: Jed Jacobsohn  /Allsport
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Ever since Jerry Rice came into the league in 1985, he's simply dominated his opposition and become one of the most significant icons in the world of football.  This Saturday, August 7th, he  is set to be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

    In honor of one of my favorite players of all-time, here are the top five reasons why I firmly believe he's the greatest receiver ever. 

5. Played With Class

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    MENLO PARK, CA - OCTOBER 08:  Former NFL player Jerry Rice poses for a portrait at Sharon Heights Golf Club on September 8, 2007 in Menlo Park, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    In my mind, a key element that separates the greats from the legends is one's character.

    Jerry Rice displayed tremendous class and was a role model of sportsmanship and citizenship throughout his career. 

    Instead of showboating and participating in excessive celebrations, he remained modest and allowed his play on the gridiron do the talking.

    He truly set the standard of how a professional football player should carry himself on and off the field. 

4. Was The Best Against The Best

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    12 Nov 1995: Jerry Rice #80 of the San Francisco 49ers runs with the ball as Deion Sanders #21 of the Dallas Cowboys runs after him during the game at the Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas. The 49ers defeated the Cowboys 38-20.
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    To truly determine whether or not one can be ranked as one of the greatest of all time, he must perform at his best against the best. 

    Jerry Rice did exactly that as he played extremely well against arguably the greatest cornerback of all-time, Deion Sanders.

    In their ten meetings, Rice compiled a total of 60 receptions for 1,051 yards and 11 touchdowns, which over the course of a 16-game season would result in 96 receptions for 1,682 yards and 18 touchdowns. 

3. Work Ethic, Dedication, and Passion

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    21 Jul 1998:  Wide receiver Jerry Rice #80 of the San Francisco 49ers looks on during the 1998 San Francisco 49ers Training Camp at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. Mandatory Credit: Jed Jacobsohn  /Allsport
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    An integral key to success in all aspects of life is to prepare. 

    Jerry Rice had that principle firmly ingrained in his mind, as he is noted to be one of the most dedicated and hard working athletes to ever play in the NFL. 

    He would spend countless hours in the weight room, on the practice field, and studying film, all in order to earn a competitive advantage over his opposition. 

    Steve Young stated that he once witnessed Jerry Rice running wind sprints all by himself...after they won the Super Bowl.

    That, in my opinion, is a prime example of work ethic.

2. Records, Awards, and Championships

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    17 Dec 2000: Jerry Rice #80 of the San Francisco 49ers is carried off the field after defeating the Chicago Bears during a game at 3Comm Park in San Francisco, California. DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit: Jed Jacobsohn/ALLSPORT
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Jerry Rice currently holds virtually every all-time major statistical category for receivers, by far. 

    He's caught 1,549 receptions for 22,895 yards and 197 touchdowns, which are numbers I don't expect any receiver to ever come close to. 

    He's a 13-time Pro Bowler, 11-time First Team All-Pro, and a member of, both, the 1980's and 1990's All-Decade team. 

    Moreover, he's done what every professional football player strives to do--win championships. He was an essential ingredient of the 49ers victories in Super Bowl XXIII, XXIV, and XXIX. 

    In the three games combined, he registered an astounding 28 receptions for 512 yards and 7 touchdowns. 

1. Consistent Dominant Performance From Start To Finish

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    23 Dec 2000: Jerry Rice #80 of the San Francisco 49ers waves as he sheds a tear, in perhaps his final game as a 49er, at the end of the game against the Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado.  The Broncos won 38-9.  DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandat
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Jerry Rice's 21-year career started with a boom and ended with a bang.

    Just a look at his mind-boggling numbers can show you has obvious incredible talent. 

    He possessed reliable hands, ran precise routes, and had an immense understanding of the game. Not to mention, despite running a 4.71 40 yard dash at the NFL Draft Combine, he was a tremendous athlete and made numerous acrobatic grabs throughout his highlight-filled career. 

    Despite two career-threatening knee injuries, he effectively used those gifts to consistently produce at a high level year in and year out. 

Conclusion

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    SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 19:  Former 49er Jerry Rice addresses the crowd during a ceremony held in his honor during half time of the NFL game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks at Monster Park on November 19, 2006 in San Francisco, C
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Even today, Jerry Rice remains the epitome for an elite receiver. 

    Personally, Jerry Rice is one of my favorite players of all-time and his play was clearly one of the most dominating. He has left behind a great legacy for future receivers to follow, and I’m proud to honor him for his services to the league.

    Moving forward, I wish him the best of luck in whatever direction he wishes to pursue. 

    Be sure to tune in to ESPN from 7-10 PM ET, and watch history be made as Jerry Rice, along with six other football legends, will be officially inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

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