Widely regarded as the greatest wide receiver of all time, Jerry Rice also found post-football fame on “Dancing with the Stars.” He shares thoughts of the Raiders’ ill-fated Super Bowl against Tampa Bay, playing the big game in New Orleans, and who wins Sunday:
Does it matter to you if you’re ultimately known as a celebrity dancer as opposed to a Hall of Fame receiver?
No comment (laughs). Nah, just joking. I played the game for 20 years, and I hope I was able to touch a lot of lives and bring excitement to people. And you know, for people to look at me as a dancer, I was able to reach a whole different demographic of people that (didn’t) know anything about me in football until “Dancing with the Stars.” It’s OK. It’s cool. Running though an airport, if a mom should look at me and shimmy at me, I’m going to shimmy at her.
Who in the NFL could be on
“Dancing with the Stars”?
I’d go with Steve Young. He’s got rhythm, for a white boy (laughs).
You still feel the same about former
teammate Tim Brown’s comments that Bill Callahan sabotaged the Raiders’ chances of winning Super Bowl XXXVII?
When you prepare for a game a certain way, you don’t change anything on that given Friday. Maybe the word is not “sabotage,” but you look at it and you can put whatever word you want to it. But you do not change the game plan on a Friday, two days before the Super Bowl. We had Tyrone Wheatley, Charlie Garner and probably the best fullback in Zack Crockett, and we were averaging over 300-some yards a game. We had plans to run the football. All of a sudden, on Friday, now you decide that we’re going to throw the ball 60 or more times. That, to me, leaves the players a little hesitant. Now, all of a sudden, we don’t know how we’re going to attack that football team. Maybe “sabotage” is not the word, but this is something me and Tim talked about, and we both agreed that it was just very unusual.
How proud of you of your Southern roots?
I’m a Southern boy. I still got it. Still got that Southern drawl and everything. It’s still there.
What’s your favorite Super Bowl memory in New Orleans?
Against the Denver Broncos (in Super Bowl XXIV), 55-10. I’ll never forget it. That was my second Super Bowl, and I was more relaxed, and I had a chance to enjoy the experience. Sometimes you get caught up and you have blinders on, and you don’t see everything happening around you.
What’s your prediction for Sunday’s game?
It’s going to be a physical football game. The team with the fewest mistakes (is) going to win this game, and I think the San Francisco 49ers are poised; they are ready; they’re playing with swagger. Even with the legacy of Ray Lewis at stake, I think the 49ers will prevail.