Thirty years ago today, Jerry Rice was Blue-Gray Game MVP

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On many Christmases past, football fans and NFL draftniks had an excuse to duck away from unwrapping gifts for a few minutes. The old, reliable Blue-Gray Game was on, delivering a nice little needed dose of football in-between heaping plates of holiday cheer.

An annual game for college stars hoping to turn pro, the Blue-Gray Game was one of the primary talent showcases of its time. And on Christmas 1984, those who tuned into the Blue-Gray Game saw a prolific wide receiver from a Division I-AA school star against major-college standouts.

Thirty years ago Thursday, Mississippi Valley State’s Jerry Rice was the Blue-Gray Game MVP as the South rolled to a 33-6 victory over the North.

Rice caught a pair of TDs, including a 60-yarder, according to The Associated Press‘s account of the game.

“I wanted to make a point for small college players everywhere,” Rice said afterwards, per the AP.  “I wanted to play well for them.”

The Blue-Gray Game hasn’t been played as a college football all-star contest since 2003. Perhaps because of its placement on Christmas — and perhaps because it was that nice little shot of holiday football — the game still inspires some nostalgia. We wouldn’t mind its return. And we really wouldn’t mind seeing some highlights of the ’84 game, when Rice — soon to be an NFL star — made a big splash.

16 responses to “Thirty years ago today, Jerry Rice was Blue-Gray Game MVP

  1. I have memories of having that game on… and thinking “where the hell is Mississippi Valley St?”
    and – this guy can play.

    I had forgotten that until reading this story. Thanks MW!

    Merry Christmas everybody!

  2. And 30 years ago the NFL ignored how concussions were ruining players lives…that went on for another 28 years before they finally acknowledge it. Money league only.

  3. I remember attending this game almost every year with my father and brothers. Most of the times, when we got to Cramton Bowl, they were giving away tickets so the stands wouldn’t look so empty on national TV. This was one of the highlights of our year, football AND Christmas…you couldn’t beat that combination!

  4. I remember that Rice dropped 2 or 3 passes that were right in his hands in that game. Then the Niners draft him and I went crazy. That might have been my most ignorant moment in my life which was proved by a unbelievable career.

  5. Nice item from the AP.
    Two of the big players on offense mentioned in the story, Jerry Rice and Rickey Moore, went on to be drafted by Bill Walsh.
    Walsh felt he needed a legit fullback. Roger Craig was a little light for that. So he drafted Moore in like the third round, but he never stuck. Showed up a little out of shape and got cut.
    Further down on that same sports page you’ll notice Bernard King’s 60-point game on Christmas.
    Great sports history there. Jerry Rice and Bernard King.

  6. Remember the NFL Champs versus the College All-Star game? Ah, good times…..ya’ll should write a story on that game…….

  7. Perhaps because of its placement on Christmas — and perhaps because it was that nice little shot of holiday football — the game still inspires some nostalgia. We wouldn’t mind its return

    ———————————————————————————-
    I think what would keep it from returning is that the Blue/Gray game was for the top seniors on teams that didnt go to a bowl game. Between so many underclassman leaving early and so many teams now going to bowls, I just dont think there would be enough quality players for the game to happen.

  8. In the end he was just like every 49er player and fan….he wanted to be part of the Seahawks.

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