Happy birthday to a 49ers legend: Reliving Jerry Rice’s greatest games

Oct 13, 2021 at 4:47 PM--

San Francisco 49ers legend Jerry Rice celebrates his 59th birthday today. Rice was drafted in 1985 with the 16th overall pick, and throughout his Hall of Fame career, he set records that may never be broken. For example, the all-time touchdown and receiving record.

Rice was also a 10-time NFL All-Pro, a three-time Super Bowl champion, and the 1988 Super Bowl MVP against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Throughout his career with the 49ers, Rice had performances such as his 10-reception, 241-yard, one-touchdown game against the Rams. Then, there was the five-reception, 133-yard, two-touchdown outing in a cold NFC Championship Game against the Chicago Bears and a 14-reception 289-yard, three-touchdown game against the Minnesota Vikings.

On his birthday, we will relive Rice's top five games or performances of his career.

"One, two, three, fo, FIF"
49ers vs. Falcons: October 14, 1990

A day after his 28th birthday, Montana and Rice dominated the Atlanta Falcons secondary. The 49ers entered the game with a 4-0 record against the 2-2 Atlanta Falcons at Fulton County Stadium. Both teams had one of the best shoot-outs of the year.

The Super Bowl MVP threw six touchdown passes. Five went to Rice, who made defenders, like Charles Dimry, look silly as he finished the game with 13 receptions and 225 yards.

The only other receivers to have a five-touchdown game were Bob Shaw against the Chicago Bears on October 2, 1950, and Kellen Winslow against the Oakland Raiders on November 22, 1981.

Super Bowl dominance and MVP
49ers vs. Bengals: January 22, 1989

In his fourth year, Rice had one of his most dominant games in Super Bowl XXIII against the Cincinnati Bengals with 11 receptions, 215 receiving yards, and one touchdown.

Rice was also named the game's MVP and was the decoy on the drive that saw Montana throw the game-winning touchdown to John Taylor with 34 seconds left in the game. San Francisco earned a 20-16 Super Bowl victory.

Record-breaking night
Raiders vs. 49ers: September 5, 1994

On the opening Monday night of the 1994 season, Rice made NFL history when he broke Jim Brown's touchdown record. Coming into the game, the ninth-year receiver had 124 career touchdowns, two behind Brown's total.

Rice recorded two receiving touchdowns and one rushing touchdown, including a 38-yard touchdown pass by quarterback Steve Young with 5:23 left in the game to break Brown's record.

Rice also added 169 receiving yards, helping the 49ers dominate the Raiders with a 44-14 victory.

This man is not human
Broncos vs. 49ers: December 15, 1997

On the opening day of the 1997 NFL season, Rice was supposed to be lost for the year with a major knee injury after defensive lineman Warren Sapp tackled him.

Rice showed how inhuman he was by rehabbing and returning in time for a Monday night showdown against the eventual Super Bowl champion Broncos that same season.

Rice's three-reception, 40-yard, and one-touchdown performance was not dominant but did show the toughness of the 12th-year receiver.

Saying goodbye is hard
Bears vs. 49ers: December 17, 2000

In the final home game for the Bay Area legend, the Bears had no intention of letting Rice have another career game against the franchise like he did in a 1991 Monday night game with five receptions for 125 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

With the Bears defense fixated on Rice, they did not adjust to another 49ers receiver who had a career game. Sixth-year wideout Terrell Owens took advantage of their fixation on Rice, racking up 20 receptions for 283 receiving yards and one touchdown.

The 49ers won 17-0, and Rice gave a tearful goodbye to the franchise and the fans. Many fans wept as they watched Rice carried off the field, ending the era but seeing the mantle passed to another.

Finishing his 16-year career with the 49ers, Rice totaled 1,281 receptions, 22,895 receiving yards, and 176 touchdowns.

Rice signed with the Oakland Raiders during the 2001 offseason and retired after the 2004 season. He finished his NFL career with a slew of records and accolades, cementing his place in NFL history.

Happy birthday, Jerry Lee Rice.
  • Written by:
    Sports has been my first love since I was 12 years old. At one point I wanted to play football professionally. I started to take photography as a hobby in my teenage years but this was when I followed sports. I started to listen to sports radio, I found my true calling and it was to be a sports talk show host. Though I follow football and basketball, I started to have a new love of cultures around the world. After graduating from San Antonio College in 2018, I worked for the Castroville News Bulletin before going to A&M San Antonio to get my communications degree. Since I have written for the Ranger of San Antonio College, the News Bulletin and the Mesquite of Texas A&M San Antonio, I met many people and went to a lot of events. My major milestone was being in the press box of the San Antonio Commanders game for the Mesquite and being apart of a press conference with the Medina County Sheriff and other local news outlets. When I am not doing anything, I like to watch old cartoons on the DC Universe, play video games such as Mega Man and the Mass Effect series. I have also created Youtube channel called "Anger Management" with my friend Aaron Donnell.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


  • Paul
    I heard Rice has super strong hands from catching bricks from his Dad job in the Mississippi summer heat. Let's get some bricks and throw them to the 49er pass catchers.
    Oct 14, 2021 at 3:40 PM
  • Aaron
    Great article and happy birthday to the goat, Jerry Lee Rice.
    Oct 13, 2021 at 6:01 PM

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