Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice is the most prominent ex-NFLer to fall under the category of “Patriots Hater.”
During the Deflategate scandal, Rice appeared on Jim Rome’s radio show and said there should be an asterisk next to the Patriots’ Super Bowl wins.
“I’m going to be point blank, I feel like it’s cheating,” Rice said at the time. “Because you have an edge up on your opponent and it’s unfortunate that it happened. I’ve played in cold weather, I know how hard the football is and you can grip the leather just a little bit better [if a football is deflated].
“I think you have to really put an asterisk on it, because this is going to follow them, you know, for the rest of their lives, because when you look at it, when people go back and they think about the New England Patriots they’re going to think about these controversies,” Rice continued. “I’ve always wanted to do things the right way. I didn’t want to take any short cuts or anything like that.”
Patriots fans have been crying “hypocrite” toward Rice ever since as just prior to the Deflategate scandal Rice told ESPN that he used to use the illegal substance “stickum” on his gloves in order to better catch the football.
“I know this might be a little illegal, guys, but I just put a little spray, a little stickum on them, to make sure that texture is a little sticky,” Rice said.
In an interview with Metro this week, Rice defended his use of the substance and attempted to walk back some of the things he said about the Patriots at that time.
“Ya know, I don’t think [using stickum] is taking advantage of anything,” Rice told Metro. “You still gotta be able to run routes. You still gotta be able to separate from defenders. You still gotta be able to catch the football. I’m one of those type of guys who likes to joke around. I say certain things … stuff like that. Maybe that was one of those things that I shouldn’t have said … the comment about the New England Patriots. Sometimes you just gotta be quiet and move on. But [regarding stickum] my numbers speak for themselves for what I was able to do on the football field. You had opposing defenses trying to contain me … they couldn’t do it. I pretty much ran through those defenses.”
Asked if he thought the Patriots were still “cheating” in 2018, Rice said the following:
“Ya know, I’m not really here to talk about that. But the Patriots are doing something special. I think it has a lot to do with that No. 12 that they have behind center. He puts that team in every position to win. For a bit they were talking about [Robert] Kraft, [Bill] Belichick and Tom Brady not getting along. That there was some bad blood or something. I think they thrive off of stuff like that. They use it to go out there and win football games.”
Since last year’s comeback win over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been designated the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All-Time) by many football pundits. Rice himself is at the top of any discussion of greatest football player of all-time but said it’s tough to judge players from different eras, citing that players (quarterbacks in particular) these days are much better protected from getting hit hard.
“I don’t know how you determine the G.O.A.T..,” Rice told Metro. “It goes back to the same thing, it’s a different era. I always thought that Jim Brown was the greatest football player to ever play the game. [Joe] Montana, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, [John] Elway – all these guys. It’s kinda hard and it has a lot to do with the time when you played the game. And I think the NFL is doing a great job with protecting quarterbacks and really protecting players. But back when I was playing – even when the ball was not being thrown my way I was still getting hit. So, it’s just a different era.”
Rice spoke to Metro while promoting Heluva Good food products ahead of Super Bowl LII.
“I still like to tailgate. I still like to have family and friends come over to the house. My MVP is Heluva Good. And it comes in different flavors – French Onion, Bacon Horseradish, Buttermilk Ranch – and you can go to any grocery story in the dairy aisle and you can find the dip.
Heluva Good is also giving away a “Heluva Good” No Funny Fanny Pack, which Rice call’s every man’s dream. It can hold your favorite flavored Heluva Good dip, chips and beer – along with a secret compartment to hold your cell phone. To win the Fanny Pack, log on to HeluvaGood.com.