On The Amazing Case of Jerry Rice

This week’s book learning is from ‘Talent is Overrated’ by Geoff Colvin (Please click for prequel learnings 1 and 2).

Jerry Rice was average by NFL’s (high) athletic standards. Average build, average speed – good, but nowhere near extraordinary. He only received a sports scholarship from a small college in Mississippi, but went on to make every All America Team. Despite that, there were very few NFL teams willing to pick him and eventually, the San Francisco 49ers took a chance on him.

For a person with few seeming NFL attributes, Jerry Rice went on to become arguably one of the greatest players of all time. Not only was he exceptional in his Wide Receiver position, he was a virtual ‘iron man’ – in a position that’s known for injury, Jerry Rice only missed 14 weeks in his 20 season career.

What made Rice so good? In Rice’s case, everyone agrees that the answer is practice.

Jerry’s famous 6 days a week off season work out meant that he spent roughly 20,000 hours practicing over the course of his 20 year career.. out of which only he only played 150 hours i.e. only 1% of time spent on football was actually playing!

In short, Jerry worked harder on his football skills than any other NFL player did.

Photo by Ryan

I found that to be an incredibly inspiring statistic. Out of every 100 minutes doing what he did, Jerry Rice only spent 1 minute actually playing football.

But, here’s where it gets fascinating – was it JUST hard work? Would we all become like Jerry Rice if we worked as hard on football? Do look out for the answers to these are in the final edition of this 4 part series next week..

Here’s to practicing real hard for our presentations, meetings and tests day this week!