A quick programming note to pass along for NFL Network: The one-hour feature “Jerry Rice: Catching History” makes its debut tonight at 8 p.m. ET.
Hosted by his former coach, Steve Mariucci, this one-hour adventure covers all of Rice’s heroic highlights and uncovers the secrets that made him one of the greatest players in NFL history. The show also includes never before told stories about Rice’s early days, and a return to his favorite workout spot — simply known as, “The Hill.”
Mariucci spent some time taking questions on Rice during his live chat with fans Wednesday on NFL.com and recalled the one performance that defined Rice as a Hall of Fame player.
“For me, the game or season that tells the story about Jerry’s love for the game, dedication and work ethic — and his obsession with being great — was 1997,” Mariucci explained. “He blew his knee out. Anybody else would have been done for the year. He made it back for the Monday night game when we retired Joe Montana’s jersey. Probably the biggest regular-season game ever played.
“On a play called ’74 Zebra Bake,’ he caught a TD pass from [Steve] Young, got blown up by Steve Atwater and blew his knee out … again. The next day, he told me, ‘Coach, it was worth every second of it.’ He wanted to show that he could rehab and show those young guys how to work. He showed so much in that season, even though he only played sparingly, to show what he is all about.”
Rice also visited NFL.com to chat with fans this week — so check that out here — and don’t forget that Thursday we’ll take an in-depth look at him with our Hall of Fame coverage on the site, including a look back at the 1985 NFL Draft with Gil Brandt and Michael Lombardi.