Larry Fitzgerald: Jerry Rice record is not attainable

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Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald recently joined the 1,000-catch club, and at age 32 he may have a few hundred more catches left in him. But he doesn’t have 544 catches left in him.

Fitzgerald, currently at 1,005 catches, is 544 behind Jerry Rice’s all-time record of 1,549. And Fitzgerald says there’s no chance of breaking Rice’s record.

I don’t think the record’s attainable,” Fitzgerald told Peter King of

There were two amazing things about Jerry Rice’s career. One was how great he was at his peak, when he was by far the greatest receiver in the league. Rice once caught 22 touchdown passes in a season when no one else even caught 12. He once caught 100 passes in a season when no one else even caught 85. He once had 1,502 receiving yards when no one else even had 1,300.

But the other amazing thing about Rice’s career was how long he remained an effective player. Most wide receivers — even great receivers — begin to decline by age 30 and are totally done by their mid-30s. Rice was still the best receiver in the NFL in his mid-30s and had a 1,211-yard season in Oakland at age 40. He was 42 — 10 years older than Fitzgerald is now — when he finally retired.

And that’s why it would be so hard for Fitzgerald to catch Rice. The combination of a great peak to his career and superhuman longevity is just not a combination we’re likely to see again any time soon.

Some day, Rice’s records may be broken. Passing offenses are putting up bigger numbers all the time, and a young receiver like Odell Beckham, or maybe some young receiver who’s not even in the NFL yet, may play 15 or more seasons in the pass-happy NFL and top Rice’s stats. But Fitzgerald recognizes that it won’t happen any time soon.

59 responses to “Larry Fitzgerald: Jerry Rice record is not attainable

  1. And a big reason for that is the lack of current and future NFL QB talent. Even if the next Jerry Rice is out there, who’s gonna throw him all those passes? The current generation of great NFL throwers will age out in the next 3 to 5 yrs and there are no Joe Montana s coming up in the college ranks today, as far as I can see.

  2. Yeah, Rice’s record will stick for some time.

    This message is brought to you by Stickum – catch some today!

  3. It’s unattainable. Goodell made the NFL the ACL football league with his garbage rule changes. The odds of a young WR making 1,500+ catches without tearing a knee during the chase is next to impossible now. Way to go rog. Can’t wait for you to be sued

  4. The only way I see a reviever doing this is if a guy like ty and luck or someone like Amari cooper and car can team up at QB and WR to have a huge successful career and I still don’t see it happening. I don’t give Odell a chance just because in 4 years when Eli’s done they probably will have a QB who isn’t good and Odell won’t be able to put up rice like numbers then.

  5. The crazy thing about the 22 TD season is that he did it in 12 games, catching a TD in every game and multiple in seven of the 12 games. Most impressive single season stat line ever in my opinion.

  6. And if Rice didn’t have Montana, Young and Stickum, that story may also have been different.

  7. Jerry Rice…..the best WR who wasn’t a DIVA…..His record will not be broken for sure….

  8. Good. Jerry was more committed to his craft than anyone every has been. Always working hard to get better.

  9. The big difference between the two is that Jerry* used Stickum to get there. Larry did not…..

    * – Admitted Self-Proclaimed CHEATER!

  10. Had the pleasure of watching JR his entire career in SF..He was magical and he actually blocked as well. Granted it doesn’t hurt to have Montana/Young throwing the ball for most of your career either

  11. stick·um
    noun – informal
    a sticky or adhesive substance; gum or paste.

    Larry, if it worked for Jerry, it can work for you. 544 catches is nothing if you just know how to catch them. Just use it, and then go on TV to complain about how other people cheat.

  12. If Fitz had Warner/Palmer since 2004 – different story

    Rice played a few years with Garcia and some other below average QBs as well.

    So give Rice Montana, Young his whole career and he probably gets to 2k

  13. I’ve lost all respect for Sticky Rice. When he wasn’t coated in superglue he had a major drops problem, the film does not lie.

  14. STICKUM******* Dont care what his record is, he cheated to the max and accused others of doing it. And when those others said they never did, Rice backtracked completely and lied to all of us.

  15. There is no doubt that Larry could catch 544 passes over the next 10 years. There is also no doubt that Larry is considering the entire play. Larry knows better than us what happens AFTER the catch! And I am not sure how Stickum helped Jerry getting hit at 42. I am amazed that so many posters here have such negative opinions of Jerry when his peers hold him in such high regard…

  16. You guys do know that the gloves that modern receivers wear are far stickier than using Stickum, right? You think Beckham caught that ball with three fingers because he has superhuman grip? The big difference is the gloves are officially licensed products of the NFL.

    Stickum didn’t keep Jerry in incredible shape into his 40’s. It didn’t give him an incredible amount of football knowledge. It didn’t give him the ability to run a route better than just about anyone you’ve ever seen.

    Appreciate greatness when you see it.

  17. Would love to see how Rice would have done with Max Hall, Ryan Lindley and John Skelton as his QB for years.
    Fitz never complained once with absolute idiots as his qb.
    That’s why it’s not hard to put Fitz in the convo with Rice is he was able to do it while working with some of the worst QBs in NFL history.

  18. IMO Antonio Brown is the closest thing to Jerry Rice currently playing in the NFL.

    Patriots fan.

  19. If they keep turning the NFL into a passing league, someone will break that record. Jerry Rice played that when you caught a ball over the middle of the field you could get SMOKED by a defender. They can’t do that anymore.

  20. Jerry Rice
    Made Jeff Kemp, Steve Bono, Elvis Grbac, and Rich Gannon relevant and millionaires

    Didn’t wear gloves in 1987, 22 TD’s in 12 Games for the “Stickum” crowd

    D Lineman use to grease their jerseys, especially the 80’s New York Giants

  21. Larry Fitzgerald is an outstanding talent…Rice was certainly assisted by an offensive scheme that utilized his talents to the fullest..I’m not sure Arizona does the same. IMO

  22. Gotta love all these nerds, who never played a down in their life, with their lame Stickum comments, as if that had anything to do with Jerry Rice being the GOAT.

  23. Odell Beckham, who just turned 23 years old, is the only WR in the NFL capable of breaking Jerry Rice’s records.

  24. Most fans of the NFL would place Fitzgerald right up at the top with the best. He is a true team player who does it all.

  25. Rice also had to actually fight off corners for the ball and worry about getting blown up after the catch. Defensive holding, illegial contact and defensless reciever penalty flags weren’t flying all over the place.

  26. At least someone’s ego isn’t letting it get the best of them and being realistic about Jerry Rice(GOAT)

  27. My favorite Rice moment was in his last season in Seattle. His team just won the game and his teammates are cheering. Rice is instead crying and throwing a tantrum. He threw his helmet and it hit a cheerleader. Why? Because his precious streak was over and the coaching staff refused to throw him a pass to artificially extend it. They took a knee and won the game instead. Such a classy team first player.

  28. bricketh says:

    And if Rice didn’t have Montana, Young and Stickum, that story may also have been different.


    But he DID have all those things ya see? He DID have them. And also three SB rings to go along with it.

  29. For the ppl crying about the Stickum comments…

    I don’t think anyone really cares that Rice used Stickum…but when he got all holier-than-thou on Tom Brady over a allegedly an 8% difference in air pressure in a football as if that had some tangible affect on the actual game, when he his own history with skirting the the rules, it kinda rubbed people the wrong way.

    Jerry is the far and way the greatest WR to ever play the game, but I also think he has probably had one of the biggest egos in the history of sports as well.

  30. im no Rice ball washer I think his numbers are bloated having MVP QBs his entire career, but the stickem comments are funny to me.

    you guys know todays gloves are probably twice as good as putting some stickem on some baseball batting gloves back in those days?

    I say remove the gloves completely and lets see who really has the best hands.

    I didnt see Tim Brown using gloves and he caught the ball just fine.

  31. Nobody worked harder for longer than Jerry. But Fitz is a complete team player never afraid to block and do it well.

  32. Dummies. You still need to get open for the qb to throw you the ball for the stickum to even work. Even if you take away 100 catches that wouldn’t have happened but for stickum (the number is probably closer to 20), Rice still ain’t getting caught.

    Fan of Rice’s biggest rival in the 80’s early 90’s – the Giants.

  33. So, he was almost released after his first year because of all the drops, then he starts using stickum and magically becomes a hall of famer? Yeah, id say thats the definition of cheating.

  34. Throwing shade on Rice’s career is irresponsible. Hate the 9ers if u will, but JR’s accomplishments speak for themselves. If Prime time calls him the goat, who am I to argue.

  35. Rice never had Max Hall, Derek Anderson or Ryan Lindley. Rice’s record has a lot to do with his quarterbacks! He can’t throw passes to himself, so while its a great accomplishment, you have to keep his HOF QB’s in mind.

  36. Wow. Lots of hate for Jerry Rice. Comes off as sanctimonious and petty. Guy was a legend, stickum or no stickum.

    I have great respect for Larry Fitzgerald as a player. If the record were attainable (I agree with him that it isn’t), I wouldn’t mind seeing him break it.

  37. It’s funny … they went through his list of pro-bowl QBs, but the other way of looking at is he’s the common denominator. Montana was already set as one of the best of all time, but Young and especially Garcia and Gannon probably would not have had their good runs without Rice.

    The other thing they left out: Rice was fearless going across the middle and that was long before they had rules in place to protect receivers.

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