On Sept. 5, 1994, Jerry Rice scored his NFL record 127th touchdown in front of a nationally televised audience. For an encore, Rice won his third Super Bowl at season's end, and would continue to add to his astonishing list of accolades for another decade before retiring before the start of the 2005 season.
How dominant was Rice? He received a 311.99 overall score, according to Pro Football Reference's Hall of Fame Monitor. Not only is that the highest tally of any player, its more than double the total of the next closest receiver, Randy Moss. Rice remains the NFL's all-time leader in receptions (1,549), yards (22,895) and touchdowns (197). He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
Rice was born on Oct. 13, 1962. In celebration of his 59th birthday, here are five fast facts on arguably the greatest player in league history.
He scored 22 TDs in a strike-shortened season
In his third season, Rice caught a then-NFL record 22 touchdown receptions for the San Francisco 49ers in 1987 and finished just behind Broncos quarterback John Elway in the MVP standings. Making Rice's touchdown tally even more impressive was the fact that he did it in just 12 games. Rice had twice as many touchdown receptions as the next closest receiver, Eagles wideout Mike Quick.
Along with holding just about every regular season receiving record, Rice is also the most prolific receiver in NFL postseason history. His 2,245 career postseason receiving yards is 803 more than the second-most prolific postseason wideout, Julian Edelman. His 151 postseason catches is 33 more than Edelman, and his 22 touchdown receptions in the playoffs is eight more than tight end Rob Gronkowski.
King of Super Bowls
Rice continues to hold the record for the most receiving yards in a single Super Bowl. He won MVP honors after catching 11 passes (a then record that stood for 25 years) for 215 yards in the 49ers' 20-16 win over the Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII. Rice is the only receiver to catch three touchdowns in a Super Bowl, which he did in Super Bowls XXIV and XXIX. He holds the Super Bowl career records for receptions (33), yards (589) and touchdowns (eight). In his four Super Bowls, Rice averaged over eight catches for 147 yards and two touchdowns.
Two legendary partnerships
Rice caught 67 touchdowns from Joe Montana during their legendary partnership that spanned from 1985-92. Rice followed that by catching a then-record 92 touchdowns from Steve Young, who succeeded an injured Montana as the 49ers' starting quarterback in 1991. Rice won three receiving titles each with Montana and Young as his quarterback. He led the NFL in touchdown catches during his last two seasons with Montana as the 49ers' starting quarterback and during Young's first season as San Francisco's starter.
Rice is the only receiver in league history to earn Pro Bowl honors after turning 40. In 2002, the 40-year-old Rice was named to his 13th and final Pro Bowl after catching 92 passes for 1,211 yards and seven touchdowns during the regular season. He caught 14 more passes during the postseason while helping the Raiders advance to the Super Bowl. In Super Bowl XXXVII, Rice recorded the game's longest offensive play, a 48-yard touchdown pass.