|09-10-2005, 07:17 AM||#1|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Green Mountains
Filed under: Generaló broncos.mostvuablenetwork.com @ 5:06 am
Jerry Riceís name will never be listed upon the Denver Broncos official stat sheet, having never caught a pass for the Blue and Orange in a regular season game. While itís true that Rice will not contribute to the offensive production of the Broncos, it cannot be said that his impact wonít be felt in Denver.
I was among the most anti-Rice proponents during the pre-season. I watched as the youth around him made plays that he no longer seemed capable of. I watched as Todd Devoe caught a four yard slant pass, broke a tackle and galloped 93 yards for a Denver touchdown. It was the type of play that Jerry Rice invented. Before Bill Walsh devised the West Coast Offense, the slant was a mere afterthought. Before Jerry Rice, Bill Walsh was a kook for devising an offense based on miniscule passes. But Rice ran slant after slant, breaking a tackle and going the distance. The Jerry Rice that came to Denver, however, no longer broke that tackle that allowed him to go the distance. His tired muscles lacked the burst to get behind even the most inexperienced corners he matched up against. Like most great athletes the muscle in his chest was far stronger than those of the rest of his body. Riceís statistics will never be a part of the Denver Broncos, but you canít help but be affected by his heart.
I was annoyed, even angry, at Rice for hanging around. Loathed to think that the Broncos would pass on a kid like Devoe out of respect for the greatest receiver the game has ever seen. I prayed to the football gods day and night that Jerry would choose to hang them up. When I learned that Rice had made the Broncos final roster, I threw a temper tantrum. I thought that Shanahan had finally lost it. Iíve questioned a plethora personnel decisions during Shanahanís tenure, but none had put me over the edge like keeping a decrepit Rice around as a nostalgic trophy of glory days on the Bay. Over the past days, and the events that unfolded, my attitude towards Rice changed.
When I read of the scene that greeted Jerry when he entered the Broncos meeting room; the entire Broncos staff and each player standing and applauding the career and achievements of perhaps the greatest ever to play the game, I realized that having Rice around may not have been such a bad decision after all. Imagining that scene gave me goose bumps. Jerry standing in front of his peers and explaining to them what made him different, what drove him to be the player he became. A room full of Denver Broncos with an exclusive insight on what it takes to be better than everyone else canít be a bad thing for a football team. Nick Ferguson put it simply, ďfor once in my life I feel like Iíve been a part of history.Ē
Jerry Rice may not catch a pass that means anything in Denver, but heís left his mark here. There are 52 other Broncos players who witnessed Riceís farewell address first hand. For an athlete, a moment like that canít help but remind you of everything that is great about sport; how much you should appreciate the opportunity that you have been given. Jerry loved the game of football, and in an era where the game has become an afterthought to the players and their antics, its nice to see a guy that loved the game more than he loved to promote himself. Itís a valuable lesson for anyone to learn: devote yourself to the task, and the rest will take care of itself. Itís a lesson that 52 Broncos have learned and will carry with them each time they step on the field. Itís a lesson that Champions know well.
|09-10-2005, 09:12 AM||#3|
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: The Backside of the Internet
Still hate Rice.
But I was watching In Their Own words the other day on Jerry and they were randomly showing highlights of his skills throughout his career and I just watched, every now and then shaking my head, as this receiver hauled in passes not meant to be caught. It dawned on me, somewhere about halfway through the show, that Jerry Rice had all the amazing talent that Randy Moss has ever shown, except perhaps jumping. Rice made more spectacular catches than I have ever seen Moss or even Harrison make.
There probably isn't something secret he did to become the best. Something anyway, you cant put into words or define by science. Something intangible but clearly there as it manifests itself outwardly in his performance. Perhaps, whatever it is, cant be taught, only caught, like a contagious disease and perhaps you are right, his time here might have done something good for not just our receivers, but our entire team.
I still hate Rice. But I am grateful I got to see his entire career.
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