Some food for thought to help get you through the dog days of practice, brought to you by the greatest wide receiver in NFL history, Jerry Rice.
A three-time Super Bowl winner and one of the key players during the dynasty years of San Francisco 49ers football, Rice attributes the Niners' winning culture to intense and focused practice sessions. “It’s the way we worked during the week; it was just like a football game,” he says. “We took pride in what we did on the football field. You can’t b.s. all week long and then go out there and expect to put your best product on the football field on that given Sunday.”
The Niners came ready to play each and every Sunday, and they put their opponents on notice even before the opening kickoff.
Says Rice: “We had teams defeated before we even stepped on the football field, because teams would watch us warm up. There would be no blown assignments, no dropped balls. Everybody was sprinting during warm-ups. We knew the opposing team was staring at us, and that was like a mind game. We wanted our opponents to know that they were in for it. So we practiced the way we played. And that was very important to us as San Francisco 49ers.”
Accountability among the players was another ingredient in the Niners’ recipe for success, and it started at the top with Rice and other star players. The 12-time All-Pro was among the first players to show up for camp—rookie camp, that is—and he was a regular at special teams meetings. “Even though I was not on special teams, I wanted those guys to know how important that was,” he says. “If I don’t prepare the right way, these guys, they’re not going to prepare the right way.
“It’s all about setting a standard,” he continues. “If I’m there working, grinding every day, they’re gonna be like ‘wow, this guy’s been around for 15 years and he’s still working.’ It was very important to set an example for those guys to let them know that you might only get one opportunity.”
Heed Rice’s advice. Capitalize on every practice, team meeting and film session.
Want more from No. 80? Follow the link to learn about Rice’s Legendary Hill Training.
Photos: sfgate.com, jerryricefootball.com
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