Stories from the Pro Football Hall of Fame Archives

By: Jon Kendle

Jon Kendle is Director of Archives and Football Information at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His biweekly columns tell unique and interesting stories starting from the league’s founding in downtown Canton in 1920 to the present day.

Rice Evokes Memories While Modeling 49ers Throwback Jersey


Jul 06, 2021

 

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This past week, the San Francisco 49ers announced they will be wearing a 1994 Red Throwback uniform during the 2021 National Football League season. The classic uniform will join the ’94 White Throwback uniform, which was introduced by the team in 2018.

This upcoming year will be the team’s 75th season, and the '94 Red Throwbacks will play a major role. The uniform pays homage to the team's 1994 season Super Bowl XXIX-winning team. This year's jersey also will include the 49ers diamond-shaped 75th anniversary patch, which is a nod to the NFL 75th anniversary patch worn across the league in 1994.

To help make the announcement, Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice was on hand to model the uniform. He looks like he still could play.

In 1994, Rice put together an incredible season. He led the league in receiving yards with 1,499 on 112 receptions and scored 15 total touchdowns. He also put on a show in Super Bowl XXIX against the San Diego Chargers, catching 10 passes for 149 yards and three touchdowns.

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Rice put together so many memorable seasons it’s hard to select one as his greatest. One game that took place during the 1990 season, however, stands out as an all-time NFL great. Rice produced single-game statistics that most receivers would be hard-pressed to compile in a three- or four-week span – some in an entire season.

This performance took place Oct. 14, 1990, pitting the 4-0 49ers against the 2-2 Atlanta Falcons. The 49ers were without one of their key playmakers on offense; running back Roger Craig was deactivated for the game. That, however, never became an issue as Rice picked up the slack. He terrorized the Falcons’ secondary, led by second-year cornerback and future Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, all game long.

Atlanta began the game with the football, but on the first play from scrimmage, running back Steve Broussard fumbled and gave the ball to San Francisco just outside the 26-yard line. After a quick handoff up the middle, Joe Montana connected with Rice on a 24-yard touchdown pass for the first score. That was just the beginning.

In all, Rice finished the game with five touchdowns (24, 25, 19, 13, and 15 yards) and 225 yards on 13 receptions as the 49ers pulled out a 45-35 victory to remain undefeated at 5-0.

The five receiving touchdowns tied an NFL record held by Bob Shaw of the Chicago Cardinals, who established the record Oct. 2, 1950, and Chargers tight end and Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow, who tied it Nov. 22, 1981. They remain the only players in NFL history to record five touchdown receptions in a game.

“Some clubs will help receivers by throwing to them any time they’re close to the end zone,” Bill Walsh, former 49ers head coach and Hall of Famer, once said. “We don't do that. Jerry has earned every touchdown he’s scored.”

And Rice scored a lot. During his 20-season career, he totaled 208 total touchdowns (197 receiving, 10 rushing and one fumble recovery). He scored at least one regular-season touchdown against 28 different teams.

Rice also holds the NFL postseason record for touchdowns with 22.