Photo: Ed Reinke, ASSOCIATED PRESS
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49ers legend Jerry Rice says he was so nervous leading up to Super Bowl XXIII in 1989 that he ended up falling asleep on a table in the locker room at Hard Rock Stadium (Joe Robbie Stadium at the time) just before the start of the game.
During an appearance on Fox Sports 1’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” Rice said he got nervous before every Super Bowl he played in, but particularly remembers losing sleep the night before Super Bowl XXIII, his first of three Super Bowl appearances.
“I stayed up all night long and I tried to visualize opportunities that I would have during the football game,” Rice said. “I didn’t get much sleep. The next morning, it’s a long day. You get up, you have breakfast, you have meetings, then you have a pre-game meal, then you head over to the stadium.”
Rice said he was so tired he fell asleep on a table, even though he was already in uniform.
“So I went over to the stadium. I put my uniform on, and I decided to relax on this table,” he said. “And guess who fell asleep? I fell asleep, and I could hear my teammates come by and they were like, ‘What is going on with Jerry? This is Super Bowl 23, and he’s asleep?’ I had put all that work in, and I wanted to be ready play football. So yeah, I really got nervous.”
Despite not having slept much the night before, Rice turned in one of the most memorable performances by a wide receiver in Super Bowl history, catching 11 passes for 215 yards and a touchdown.
Rice was named Super Bowl MVP in the 49ers’ 20-16 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, the final game for Bill Walsh as head coach of the 49ers.
“I was nervous before every Super Bowl,” Rice said. “I want to make that point blank. When something means so much to you because you never know when you’re going to get the opportunity to be back in the position again.”
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This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/49ers/article/Jerry-Rice-Super-Bowl-23-XXIII-Bengals-nervous-13581997.php.