ESPN has declared 2011 The Year of the Quarterback. They will allow NFL legends to really get into the art of their craft. To present this year of analysis to the Television Critics Association, it wasn’t just quarterbacks talking about their craft. ESPN had receivers like Jerry Rice too, so I asked his perspective on the year of the quarterback.
Crave Online: What was the greatest pass you ever caught?
Jerry Rice: The greatest pass for me, I’ve caught a lot of passes. Probably I would say Super Bowl XXIII on that final drive. I think I caught maybe four or five passes but it was the one right over the middle that got us into the red zone and John Taylor made that winning catch but to be able to work under conditions like that, when everything is on the line, I mean three minutes, 20 seconds left in the game. Imagine you are in the huddle and you’ve got to move the ball over I think it was about 85-90 yards downfield.
Crave Online: Do you have any regrets about the ones you missed?
Jerry Rice: Always. I hate dropping footballs. That was something, I could catch 10 or 12 balls during the game. If I dropped one football I was frustrated.
Crave Online: How do you learn to deal with that?
Jerry Rice: I had to try to put it behind me as quickly as possible, but I would always go back in and I would watch that film. I look at it and I was always my worst critic, because I was always searching for that perfect game and I think that really just kept me working hard and pushing during the off season and trying to be a better football player, but it was always that one drop. Or if I blew a blocking assignment. I wanted that perfect game and I never got it.
Crave Online: How do you weigh in on Brett Favre?
Jerry Rice: 297, that’s remarkable. That shows his durability, his hard work, his dedication to the game. He was like a gunslinger, gunslinger that would just fire that ball in there no matter what. You’ve got to take your hat off to him. He had a very productive career. Everything else, I don’t look at that. I look at him as a football player and what he was able to accomplish on a football field and that’s just like with Tiger Woods. I don’t look at what Tiger Woods does off the golf course. It’s what he was able to do on the golf course.
Crave Online: When is the Year of the Receiver?
Jerry Rice: I don’t know. I really don’t but I think we have to start with the quarterbacks first because we all know that those guys pretty much make football what football is today because they have to go through a lot of stuff and deal with a lot of situations and be able to handle the pressure of playing quarterback. So I feel like that’s the elite group right there and maybe after that we’ll go to the receivers.
Crave Online: Is there a year’s worth of analysis to devote to your field?
Jerry Rice: Oh, without a doubt. I mean, because everything that has to go into that is amazing because you might not be the most talented one and when I came out of college, I got drafted in the first round, but they questioned my quickness. They felt like I couldn’t play professionally because I was not as fast and I was able to prove everybody wrong because of my work ethic. Say like a Tim Teebo for instance. He was taught to play a certain way at Florida. Now he might be maybe a little late bloomer because he’s with Denver right now. Now he’s got to learn how to be a drop back passer and his throwing motion and all of that, but I think right here if you have it in your heart and you have a work ethic, you have a chance.