October 3, 2011

MVP Profile: Jerry Rice, 1987

Wide Receiver, San Francisco 49ers

Age: 25 (Oct. 13)
3rd season in pro football & with 49ers
College: Mississippi Valley State
Height: 6’2” Weight: 200

Drafted by the 49ers in the first round in 1985, Rice moved into the starting lineup as a rookie and showed flashes of future greatness as he caught 49 passes for 927 yards and diverted coverage from veteran WR Dwight Clark. In ’86, Rice broke out with 86 receptions and led the NFL in receiving yards (1570) and TD catches (15). He was a consensus first-team All-Pro selection and was chosen for the Pro Bowl.

1987 Season Summary
Appeared in 12 of 15 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Pass Receiving
Receptions – 65 [4]
Most receptions, game – 8 (for 106 yds.) at Pittsburgh 9/13, (for 75 yds.) vs. Chicago 12/14
Yards – 1078 [2]
Most yards, game - 126 (on 7 catches) vs. Cleveland 11/29
Average gain – 16.6
TDs – 22 [1]
100-yard receiving games - 4

Attempts – 8
Yards – 51
Average gain – 6.4
TDs – 1

TDs – 23 [1]
Points – 138 [1]

Postseason: 1 G (NFC Divisional playoff vs. Minnesota)
Pass receptions – 3
Pass receiving yards - 28
Average yards per reception – 9.3
Pass Receiving TDs – 0

Awards & Honors:
NFL MVP: PFWA, NEA, Bert Bell Award, Sporting News
NFL Offensive Player of the Year: AP
1st team All-NFL: AP, PFWA, NEA, Pro Football Weekly, Sporting News
1st team All-NFC: UPI, Pro Football Weekly
Pro Bowl

49ers went 13-2 in the strike-shortened season (three games were played with replacement players) to finish with the best record in the conference while leading the league in total offense (5987 yards), rushing (2237 yards), touchdowns (59), and scoring (459 points) and the NFC in passing yards (3750). Lost NFC Divisional playoff to Minnesota Vikings (36-24).

Rice went on to play 20 seasons in the NFL and re-wrote the record book by the time he was done. The 1986 and ’87 seasons were the first of 11 straight thousand-yard receiving seasons and 14 overall. He led the league in that category five more times, including a record 1848 in 1995. Rice also had four 100-catch seasons and was the NFL leader twice. A prolific scorer, he had a total of nine years in which he reached double figures in receiving TDs and paced the league six times. After 16 years with San Francisco, Rice moved on to the Raiders for three full seasons plus part of his last year, in 2004, in which he finished up with Seattle. Overall, he retired as career leader in pass receptions (1549), receiving yards (22,895), receiving touchdowns (197), and total TDs (208). He gained the most total yards (23,546) of any player in NFL history. Rice's #80 was retired by the 49ers and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2010.


MVP Profiles feature players who were named MVP or Player of the Year in the NFL, AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press, Pro Football Writers Association, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, Maxwell Club – Bert Bell Award, or the league itself).

[Updated 2/14/14]