Whenever the conversation around the greatest players in NFL history, Hall of Famer Jerry Rice‘s name is undoubtedly brought into the discussion. Rice put fort an incredible career that saw him set numerous all-time records that may never be broken. That has made his opinion on his peers that much more valued as he speaks from a perspective of knowing what it takes to become one of the game’s greatest players. When it comes to his point of view on the subject, he has a clear-cut choice, and it isn’t the future first-ballot Hall of Famer Tom Brady.
NFL greatest player of all-time debate
Over the years, it has been an often hotly-debated topic of discussion in determining who is the greatest player in league history.
There have been several players that have had the privilege to be in the conversation. It has seen Rice be mentioned for many years, given his dominance and longevity with elite production. That chatter has shifted lately toward Brady as he has now racked up six Super Bowls and numerous other NFL records along the way.
Even with that being the case, Rice has another choice aside from Brady for that honor.
Jerry Rice believes that Jim Brown is the greatest NFL player
For many years, Rice has been in the conversation as arguably the greatest player in NFL History.
However, he has continued to take the approach of taking himself out of the mix. That stance has remained firm even in his retirement as he voiced last October that he believes that fellow Hall of Famer Jim Brown holds that mantel, according to Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz of The USA TODAY Sports.
Rice, however, was “without a doubt” in his choice for the No. 1 player in league history: former Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown.
“It’s everything he brought to the game,” Rice said of Brown, who earned eight all-pro nods in nine seasons. “He didn’t play as long (as other running backs), but he had the speed and physicality, and it’s just the way he played the game.”
Rice’s stance shouldn’t come as much of a surprise as he kept his opinion on the situation on the same belief. That’s even with Brady continuing to find unmatched success into his 40s as he previously voiced that same stance back in 2015.
It’s no shot at Brady by any means, but more so that Rice believes that Brown is unmatched with what he put forth.
Jim Brown’s illustrious career
Rice isn’t alone on that belief regarding Brown as many believe that he was the greatest player in league history.
Although he cut his career short after nine seasons to pursue other ventures outside of football, Brown was an incredible talent during his playing days. His production was unmatched as he rushed for a then-NFL record 12,312 yards with 106 rushing touchdowns along with 262 receptions for 2,499 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns.
In his 118 career games, Brown holds a 104.3 rushing yards average per contest, and 5.2 yards carry. Despite last playing in 1965, he still possesses the all-time mark with 1.068 touchdowns per contest, most games with three or more touchdowns (14), most seasons leading the league in rushing yards, and highest career scrimmage yards per game (125.5).
Brown also had the accolades to back up that notion as he earned nine Pro Bowl selections, eight First-Team All-Pro selections, a Second-Team All-Pro nod, three AP NFL MVP awards, and Rookie of the Year honors. He also led the league in rushing eight times and in rushing touchdowns on five occasions. Given all that, it’s hard to ignore the strong case he made for that prestigious honor.