Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Portrait of a man known simply as the Greatest Of All Time - Jerry Rice


Simply known as the "G.O.A.T," or Greatest of all Time, Jerry Rice is the considered the best wide receiver in NFL history, and one of the best players ever to play the game of football, if not the best.  In his 20 years as a player, he was selected to 13 Pro Bowl appearances, and has won 3 Super Bowls.  He is one of the guys I have admired ever since I started watching football as a kid.  I think it's just absolutely crazy how I have had the opportunities to photograph some of my childhood heroes, and some of the most legendary people in all of sports.  When I came home and showed my wife Chanda the photos I shot, the first thing she said to me was, "how are his hands so big?!"  The fact that his hands were literally the very first thing she saw says a lot about one of the major reasons for his success as a receiver.  Rice is well known for having large hands, and it definitely helped him catch anything thrown his way during his career.  He came in to film a commercial for this year's inaugural Pro Bowl Draft, in which the Pro Bowl went "unconferenced" for the first time in league history.  You can see some stills I shot behind the scenes during the commercial shoot here.  Anyway, Team Rice would be selected to play against Deion Sanders's team (Team Sanders) in Hawaii.  If you didn't catch the 2014 Pro Bowl, Team Rice defeated Team Sanders 22-21 in an entertaining game last week.  While Deion was filming in the next room, Rice was on his way from San Francisco, and stepped right on up for a series of photos that I shot for the NFL's Pro Bowl production and  social media team.  Deion walked in the room a few moments later, and the playful jabs began almost immediately.  I got some stills of the two of them together as well, but whenever you get two competitive athletes together, and pit them against each other, the trash talking never ends, and it was quite fun to watch.  If only I  could have heard what they used to say to each other on the field as they faced each other.  I'm sure it would have been equally entertaining.  Overall, I think the new Pro Bowl system was a success, and I hope they continue to do these commercials every year - because I wouldn't mind having another chance to photograph the Greatest of All Time again.

P.S.  Don't forget to catch NFL's documentary series "A Football Life" about Jerry Rice on NFL Network tonight (January 29, at 9PM ET)

-Johnny




I had to get a closeup of that Super Bowl ring.


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