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Holt wasn’t worried about jinxing himself when switching from 88 to 81

Holt Getty Images

Tuesday’s edition of Pro Football Talk on NBCSN continues the Prime Numbers series, looking at among other things the best of the best to wear No. 88.

One guy made a huge impact wearing the number, but only for a handful of years before switching to his college number of 81.

“Lynn Swann wore 88, Marvin Harrison wore 88, my Uncle Charles wore 88 when he was in high school,” former Rams receiver Torry Holt said, explaining his decision to wear the double-eights.  “He played tight end, he was probably about 5’11″, 165 pounds soaking wet but he was tough, he could catch, reliable.  So when I got to St. Louis and 81 wasn’t available because Az Hakim had 81 and then I didn’t want to shell out any money to get 81, I figured give me 88 I’ll make the number. . . .  I’ll make the number, I’ll rock it, I’ll make it special and my first two or three years I wore 88 I was able to do some pretty good things in that number. So that’s where 88 came about from Lynn Swann, Michael Irvin, and more importantly, my Uncle Charles.”

Once 81 became available, Holt had no qualms about ditching the jersey that got him to a pair of Super Bowls and Pro Bowls.

“I wasn’t concerned at all,” Holt said regarding a possible jinx.  “No doubt set in my mind about changing numbers. 81 came available when Az went to Detroit, 81 came available, a lot of people recognized me from the number 81.  It resonated from my college days at N.C. State so I wanted to get that number immediately. And 8 plus 1 equals 9, I wore 9 when I was in high school and 9 came about for Michael Jordan when he was in the Olympics and I was a huge Michael Jordan fan and I wanted to wear that 9 so I could try and be like Mike.  But 81 came available in St. Louis, I jumped on it, and my play continued to roll.  But there was no doubt that I’d have any setbacks when I changed the number. And then when I changed the number my pockets were able to fill up a little bit more because now everybody had to switch from 88 to 81 so it was a good business decision but more importantly it was a number that I respect and a number that resonated with Torry Holt.”

To find out whether anyone asked Holt for their money back after they purchased a jersey with his name and the number 88, you’ll have to watch the show.  If you aren’t happy with the interview, we won’t be giving out any refunds.

Tune in at 5:30 p.m. ET to hear more about the best of the players to wear No. 88, 63, 53, and 3.

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15 Responses to “Holt wasn’t worried about jinxing himself when switching from 88 to 81”
  1. andrewluck12 says: Jun 3, 2014 4:28 PM

    He belongs in the hall EVENTUALLY. He was a bad bad man and someone I think was constantly overlooked back in the day. I remember when he got to Jacksonville and I was a little worried. Till I remembered David Garrard was his qb…

  2. tooz72 says: Jun 3, 2014 4:52 PM

    Garrard was a b e a s t!!! Beast!!!!

  3. rabidbillsfan says: Jun 3, 2014 4:58 PM

    I was a huge “Greatest Show on Turf” fan, but I also hadn’t become a teenager yet, so, is that considered bandwagoning still? Either way, “Big Game” Torry Holt was the reason why, loved watching the guy play. He caught everything thrown his way, even with that mangled digit he has. He was the model of consistency, all at a high level to boot. I tend to think that Kurt Warner made Holt, and then Holt made Marc Bulger, which is something I really admire, it’s difficult to catch passes from different QB’s Mid-career and still maintain the level of play he did. The only black-eye to his resume, and this is solely the Bills fan in me, is when he signed with the Pats. Other than that, he was a model NFL citizen and I truly do wish I could go back and watch him play.

  4. vikinganswer says: Jun 3, 2014 5:00 PM

    88 – Alan Page. End of Story

  5. kicksave1980 says: Jun 3, 2014 5:19 PM

    I’ll admit my bias here, I’m a huge Rams fan and have been since they got to St. Louis. I always thought Torry Holt was one of, if not THE, most underrated players of his time. I can still remember the arguments with a friend who is a big Colts fan about Holt vs Harrison in their primes. Great player, and I’m happy to hear from/about him again! Brings back memories of a time when being a Rams fan was fun!

  6. thestrategyexpert says: Jun 3, 2014 5:28 PM

    I liked how he described how he didn’t know at the time that he was playing with so many HOFers including himself. This was one rich interview and I feel almost guilty not having to pay a subscription fee, or a slightly higher cable rate.

    How has Comcast fumbled in making money off this production? Oh well, almost guilty isn’t guilty in this society. Spoon-feed me more.

  7. purehyped says: Jun 3, 2014 5:43 PM

    There’s another guy who wore number 81 his whole career that was pretty good (great) and ISN’T in the Hall of Fame – yet. Tim Brown!

    Hmm…. maybe he should of worn number 88?

  8. docboss says: Jun 3, 2014 7:12 PM

    Holt is a classy guy and should be HOF, eventually. It may be a long wait due to the backlog of WR’s. Who needs to go in the HOF before him…just asking?

  9. bigbwoy000 says: Jun 3, 2014 7:13 PM

    Holt did Swann, Irvin & aas he said most importantly Uncle Charles proud wearing 88. He was & still is absolutely one of the most underrated WR’s of his time. If the dude wanted to switch numbers when 81 became available, why not? The man certainly earned that right where it counts, on the field.

  10. ncphinsfan says: Jun 3, 2014 8:07 PM

    Let me proudly add to all your on-field praise about this Torry Holt with some off-field facts… He literally lived next door to me in North Raleigh, NC for a few years and when he was home he was a regular guy at Bar-B-Q’s, Block Parties, mowed his own grass, etc., but what really stood out about his character is how he would play Nerf Football with the Kids in the street. A genuine Role Model and deserves a Bust in the Hall of Fame!

  11. jayblack073 says: Jun 3, 2014 8:28 PM

    Even as a Seahawks fan I love this guy, him and Bruce were just deadly together.

  12. sasserdm says: Jun 3, 2014 9:05 PM

    I became a rams fan when Roman Gabriel was drafted, there were some lean times and when NC finally got a team i switched. but I’ll always pull for the rams when they aren’t playing my panthers. 88-81 was a class act at a dive position, they are few and far between. the only one since is playing in detroit…still can’t bring any class to that team….

  13. rabidbillsfan says: Jun 3, 2014 9:58 PM

    A little off topic, but still relevant, in all the hate Mike Martz received for his post-St.Louis days, he laid the foundation for the great offenses in the NFL. Issac Bruce and Torry Holt dominating the boundaries, and Ricky Proehl lurking in the seams and across the middle. Man, it just takes me back, those early ’00’s teams were stacked. All of the love, and deservedly so goes to that offense, but take a look at some names from the defense. Aneas Williams, Adam Archuleta, Dre’ Bly, Dexter McCleon, Tommy Polley, London Fletcher, Leonard Little, Grant Winstrom, just to name a few. I still have love for the ‘Lou, hope they can get on track in that tough NFC West.

  14. JSpicoli says: Jun 4, 2014 1:10 AM

    Best Uni’s Ever.

  15. sportsbastard says: Jun 4, 2014 2:21 AM

    In his prime, nobody ran a better corner route than “Big Game”.. Nobody.

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