As a little girl growing up in Natchez, Mississippi, my grandmother was probably the most influential person in my life. One of the things I will always be grateful for her introducing me to is football. My grandmother for some inexplicable reason loved the San Francisco 49ers. She never explained how a lady born and raised in Natchez loved the 49ers. Thus as a little kid, I too was a 49ers fan. Joe Montana was and still is my all-time favorite football player, but in 1985, the 49ers drafted this upstart Wide Receiver from Mississippi Valley State University. It wasn't long before this young man was giving Joe Montana competition for my football affections.
I watched him as he and Joe led the 49ers to two more Super Bowls and added Super Bowl MVP to his resume in Super Bowl XXIII, and later, get over Steve Young's release to add another Super Bowl Ring to his collection. Even as my loyalty defected to the Kansas City Chiefs in 1990, I still rooted for my 49ers. I watched as he recovered from a massive knee injury in 1997, and returned before the doctors wanted him to. I watched as he began to rack up NFL record after NFL record. I was devastated when left the 49ers in 2000 to go to the Raiders, so I pretended that he retired while continued to add to his numbers with the Raiders.
I watched as he racked up 13 Pro Bowl selections, 11 All Pros, Pro Bowl MVP, 197 receiving touchdowns (208 total), 1549 receptions, 22895 receiving yards (23540 total). I watched in 2006 when he signed a one day contract to retire as a San Francisco 49er, the way it should be. Today, I will watch as he joins my other favorites Bill Walsh (Class of 1993), Walter Payton (Class of 1993), Joe Montana (Class of 2000), Ronnie Lott (Class of 2000), Steve Young (Class of 2005), Marcus Allen (Class of 2003), Derrick Thomas (Class of 2009), and Rod Woodson (Class of 2009).
Congratulations to the Hall of Fame Class of 2010: Russ Grimm | Rickey Jackson | Dick LeBeau | Floyd Little | John Randle |Emmitt Smith
A special congratulations from Diana Dishes to the Greatest Wide Receiver of all-time Jerry Rice. You will always have a special place in my heart and the heart of 49ers fans everywhere. Thank you for showing that good things do come from the state of Mississippi! We are proud of you! Congratulations #80, immortality awaits you!