#617 Touchdown, Jerry Rice!

When? Every Time He Caught the Ball

Not too long ago, we had fun discussing some wisdom from Jerry Rice—the all-time great NFL wide receiver. He once said: “Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.”

After reading that line in Chasing Excellence, I decided to dig a little deeper into Jerry’s story and learn more about his EPIC work ethic. So, I picked up his autobiography Go Long! It’s fantastic.

Today I want to chat about the fact that Jerry scored a touchdown EVERY single time he caught the ball—in practice. 🤓

But, first, a quick biographical sketch.

Jerry Rice was born in a super small town in Mississippi. He was the 6th of 8 kids. His dad was a bricklayer. He went to a super small college (Mississippi Valley State) where he played football. Although he was an All American, he didn’t know if he’d be drafted when he watched the NFL Draft Day alone with his brother in 1985.

As it turns out, the football genius Bill Walsh saw something special in Jerry and traded a first, second and third round pick so the Super Bowl Champion San Francisco 49ers could draft him with the 16th pick. (His mom was cleaning houses and would have missed the draft if the woman whose house she was cleaning didn’t insist she watch ESPN on her TV. His dad missed it because he was laying bricks.)


Imagine this: After freaking out on the first airplane trip of his life, Jerry safely arrived in San Francisco. He shows up at his first practice as a rookie for the defending Super Bowl Champions.

He runs the first super simple receiving route. He catches the ball.


“Touchdown, Jerry Rice!!”

Repeat with the second receiving route.

Repeat again EVERY SINGLE TIME he caught the ball in EVERY SINGLE PRACTICE over his entire 20-year career.

Just to be clear: NO ONE DOES THAT.

It’s crazy. (Laughing.) (Seriously. The veterans and other receivers thought he was crazy. At first. Then the other receivers started doing it, too. Funny how that whole leadership thing works, eh?)

Why would he do that? Well, As Jerry puts it: “How you practice = How you play. It’s that simple. I don’t care if we’re talking about basketball or ballet, cooking or checkers. The way in which you prepare for a challenge is usually related to your success in that same challenge. If the level at which you practice is commensurate with the task, then on ‘game day,’ you’ll be fine.”

Today’s +1.

How’re YOU going through the plays of your life?

With all-out intensity or kinda sorta going through the motions?

How can you channel your inner Jerry Rice a little more Today?

Here’s to running our routes like we mean it.

“Touchdown, YOU!”

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