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5. Weekly stats
During the heated rivalry with the Dallas Cowboys in the 1990s, Rice would read the weekly stats of Cowboy’s receiver Michael Irvin and try to match them.
Rice is regarded, without doubt, as the number one receiver of all time. But if Rice was not around, Irvin would have been considered the best of that era.
Rice kept tabs on Irvin’s stats week in and week out, and at the end of the season, he was able to gain 31 more yards than his rival.
From 1991 to 1995, Rice was able to amass more yards than Irvin. The two were followed by Cris Carter, as they were easily the three best receivers of the generation. However, Rice made sure to make everyone know that he was still the best, despite the fact that the Cowboys had some very dominant years as a team as well.
Recently, Randy Moss, the six-time Pro Bowler said: “I really do think that I’m the greatest receiver to ever play this game.” Irvin, now an NFL analyst and a former Cowboys receiver, refuted this statement by saying, “Randy’s done a wonderful job in the NFL. He’s done some wonderful things. Numbers do count and especially when they lead to victories. That’s why I think everybody has to capitulate when it comes to talking about greatest receiver. Bar none, nobody’s having a conversation. It is Jerry Rice, period.”
Rice was a 13-time Pro Bowler champion who made it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010. He can be proud of his 1,549 catches for 22,895 yards and 197 touchdown receptions, but most importantly, he has the victories to back up the stats. Stats don’t mean anything if you aren’t winning, but Rice was able to be a part of many Super Bowl winning 49ers teams as well, which is what matters most.