Tom Bogert, CBS Local Sports
In 1995, the two premier wide receivers in the NFL were the San Francisco 49ers’ Jerry Rice and the Detroit Lions’ Herman Moore. The pair combined, rather equally, for 245 catches, 3,534 receiving yards and 29 touchdowns. That loosely translates to video-game-freakish numbers, in case that wasn’t abundantly clear.
Well, the JR Sport Brief podcast is hard at work in San Francisco ahead of Super Bowl 50 and was able to feature each of Rice and Moore on one podcast.
Widely regarded as the greatest receiver of all time, Rice doesn’t buy into the cliches that most athletes call upon. The standard “oh it’s just another game” nonsense in reference to the Super Bowl. For Rice, when the lights shined brightest, he was more locked in than ever. That is a scary thought for someone that was so good that he could’ve sleepwalked into the Hall of Fame.
“You focus on the details, what you have to do to inspire your team on to win,” said Rice. “That was something I really focused on, being the best football player that I could be on the biggest stage. If you go back and look at Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football, Super Bowls, playoffs: I was always at my best. I stepped my game up.”
Rice was the winner of three Super Bowls during his time in San Francisco and believes that it’s up to new 49ers head coach, Chip Kelly, to return the team to prominence. No pressure, Chip.
“It’s going to have to be up to Chip Kelly to turn this around,” said Rice. “There’s a lot of things that are going to have to happen before the San Francisco 49ers are at the top again.”
Well, speaking of cliches, Rice did dial one up when it came to his Super Bowl 50 prediction, or lack thereof.
“It would be great to see Peyton Manning get his second one but it would also be great to see Cam Newton to get his first one,” said Rice. “I’m just hoping for a good football game, and it’s going to be up to those generals, Newton and Manning, to really lead their team on to win. The team with the fewest mistakes will win this football game.”
Moore’s Super Bowl prediction wasn’t quite as diplomatic as Rice’s, but it wasn’t far off. Moore ‘is leaning’ towards the Panthers. The former wide receiver revealed a scary thought that’s been cloaked underneath Cam Newton’s sheer brilliance this season: he’s been without his best receiver, Kelvin Benjamin, all season. Benjamin tore his ACL in August.
The Panthers’ receivers have all elevated their games in Benjamin’s absence, according to Moore.
“That’s the only thing that I can attribute it back to is the fact that Carolina has some ballers,” said Moore. “They got some guys who say ‘you know what, now is my time to shine.’ That’s team.”
Moore was teammates with Barry Sanders when the star running back abruptly retired from football, not too dissimilar to what’s happening with Calvin Johnson and his reported retirement in Detroit a little more than 15 years later. Moore reckons this is going to become much more a common occurrence.
“When you start talking about longevity, the money side of it I don’t think goes well with guys saying ‘okay I need to play 15 years.’ They’re not going to do that,” said Moore. “I think the careers are going to get shorter and shorter because of the size of the money.”
The former Lion great also believes that Johnson’s retirement is for real.
“I believe that he will ultimately retire. I just don’t see what’s going to bring him back,” said Moore. “I don’t know, necessarily, that physically he wants to put his body through that because of the long-term effects that could come with extending a career when you don’t have to.”
Nowadays, Moore spends his time across an array of endeavors including software coding and being a spokesman for Quick Lane Tire and Auto.
As a fan of repetitive disappointment and frustration, Tom holds Liverpool FC, the New York Knicks and New York Red Bulls near and dear to his heart with occasional joy coming from the New York Giants and New York Yankees.