49ers: How Hall of Famer Jerry Rice Impacted My Life

Niners Live features a special interpersonal/homage edition article on one of the greatest players to ever play the game, “Jerry Rice.”


 Here at Niners Live, we are giving a tribute to the greatest receiver of all time. Guess who? None other than the Goat himself, Jerry Rice the “Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco Treat.”

Jerry Rice, standing at 6’2” and weighing 200lbs, hailing from Mississippi Valley State, was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the first round (16th overall) in 1985.  He set an NFL record with 22 TD receptions. He also led the NFL in receiving yards and touchdown receptions six different times. In 1987, he set the record of 1,848 yards receiving. By 1995, he owned virtually every significant receiving mark including receptions (1,549), receiving yards (22,895), most 1,000 yard receiving seasons (14), 208 total touchdowns, and recorded 23,546 combined net yards. To top things off, Rice won the SUPER BOWL XXII MVP award. He has been named to the First-team All-Pro team for 11 consecutive seasons and 13 Pro Bowls.  Not only is he the greatest receiver, Jerry Rice is arguably the greatest football player of all time. Via Profootballhof.com. 

Jerry Rice’s impact in my life:

You may be led to believe this was just another article about Mr. Rice’s career. Not quite so. This article is about how Jerry Rice impacted my life, along with the lives of many others. At nine years old, I was the little fella who was always on the playground playing football with the older kids. Of course, we were playing 15 on 15 with no flags, referees, or pads then. I would spread out wide, run the fade, and catch the ball every time. The older boys used to call me “Little Rice.” That year, I saw my 1st 49er game, and I was hooked on the team ever since. It also helped that my cousin and family were die-hard Dallas Cowboys fans. Jerry Rice was the fastest thing I had ever seen coming up as a youngin. I used to say, “Isn’t somebody supposed to be checking him?” He was killing the scene every time he touched the ball.

I used to laugh at his touchdown celebrations on people every time he scored. I still like touchdown celebrations. Being the nerd I am, I went to the library and checked out my 1st book. It was a children’s book about Jerry Rice. He came from a small town named Starkville, MS and was born on October 13, 1962. His dad was a bricklayer, and Jerry Rice used to catch bricks as a little boy. Funny thing, my dad had taken a bricklaying job once, and I went with him. I remember catching those bricks like it was yesterday. My dad and I quickly changed occupations also. As aforementioned back then, it takes a lot of effort and practice if you want to be the best at something. Along the years, Jerry Rice had numerous quotes and interviews that kept me focused and motivated me to go 100% at any task.

Quotes at a glance by Jerry Rice:

“Today, I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.”

“I think my secret is that there are no shortcuts for hard work, determination, and having that ‘don’t give up’ attitude.”

“The enemy of the best is the good.  If you’re always settling with what’s good, you’ll never be great.”

Perseverance and resolve:

After seeing how Jerry Rice bounced back after his knee injury in the late 90’s, and the workout plan he stayed committed to in the latter years of his career, it became a “vital rule of mine never to give up and keep pushing forward.” And Rice bounced back to become a top receiver in the league once again. Was there any doubt? That type of effort is a clear-cut model of how not to give up, and always work hard.

Can I leave you with this?

Lastly, just writing this article alone has brought back some inspiring memories from the past that have been lying dormant until now. Just the thought itself brings energy that flows to the soul to be the best at anything I do. Jerry Rice helps me remember always to put in long hours, hard work, and dedication to whatever you plan to accomplish regarding your goals that you set for yourself. When I played high school football, our team went to the state championship and made our little city proud. When I joined the military, I made noncommissioned officer before I was old enough to buy alcohol.

And now as a new staff writer at www.NinersLive.net, the home of the fan, the simply unique, the different, the underdog, the underrated talented/style, etc, I will and I must strive to be the best at my craft at the highest level known to man, woman, and child.  My mottos I live by? It’s simple: Always sharpen your ax, always push forward/leave nothing, always put in time and effort. Pledge to be 100% to how you play this game of life. If “we’re all true to that, the victory is imminent.” I have other inspirational figures in my life, but I want to take this time to thank you, Mr. Jerry Rice.

On a Niners Live side note: By far my favorite football player and overall athlete of all-time, “Jerry Rice.” I can remember as a child growing up watching him play for those great 49er teams of the late 80’s and 90’s trying my best to emulate his moves on the field every chance I got. How can 49er fans forget his courage to continuously go across the middle with no “FEAR?” You can’t mention going across the middle without naming the Great Jerry Rice! I simply idolized Mr. Jerry the “G.O.A.T RICE” as a teenager growing up. I want to take this time to pay homage to, Mr. Jerry Rice.

Like always, keep your eyes wide open, 49er fans. Niners Live will be watching with you. #eyeswideopen and often imitated but never duplicated… Go Niners.  

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All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com, Pro Football Focus49ers.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com unless otherwise indicated. Author Jonathan Armstead new Staff Writer at Niners Live, Co-Author, Editor Niners Live, Co-Author, Irvin Johnson,  Kevin Mitchell new Staff Writer at Niners Live and Jimi Payne.