Simeon Rice dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Monday night, and what began as a light-hearted discussion about Rice’s upcoming birthday turned into a contentious debate about why hasn’t been selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“I know that when you talk about snubs, I don’t understand how I haven’t been selected,” Rice, who turns 43 on Friday, told Andrew Fillipponi, who was filling in as host of The DA Show. “I just don’t. I have no clue. When you’re the fastest to sacks and you cause more turnovers than pretty much anybody in the history of the game, effective winning plays – every D-Line that I played on was No. 1 from Arizona to Tampa Bay to effectiveness, game performance, changing the game. When I came in, I was the mold. After me, it was Jason Taylor, it was Jevon Kearse. I ushered in a whole other era of defensive ends. I just don’t understand how it hasn’t happened to me.”
Rice, a defensive menace, had 122 sacks, 25 forced fumbles and five interceptions during his 12-year career. He also helped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to victory in Super Bowl XXXVII.
“My mind is boggled with it,” the former All-Pro said of his Hall of Fame candidacy, or lack thereof. “I try not to be overwhelmed with those type of things that I cannot control, but I felt like I did enough in my career to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, let alone being a nominee the last two or three years. It’s just ridiculous to me. I was the best of my era. . . . I didn’t have a rival where I could say, ‘Wow, this guy was able to stop me.’ Every All-Pro I ever played up against, I had a stellar performance against. It was me and the field. That’s what it is.”
Fillipponi countered that Rice ranks just 19th all-time in sacks and that Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks and John Lynch – who have all been voted into the Hall of Fame – were seen as the leaders of the Bucs’ Super Bowl-winning defense.
“They were great. They were great,” Rice said. “But I took that team to the next level. I took that team to the next level. They’ll tell you. They were my teammates. They’ll tell you. It was without a doubt. They were there before I got there, but when I got there, I took them to the next level.”
Fillipponi wondered what NFL coaches in the 1990s and 2000s would have said if they were asked who was better: Rice or Michael Strahan. Rice said they would say him “if they know football.”
“If they know football, they would,” he said. “Michael Strahan played in a big New York market, man, so he was able to really ride on that big New York market. He went to the Pro Bowl when he had four sacks. Are you kidding me? He went to the Pro Bowl when he had four sacks and I had 16.5 and didn’t get voted in. You’re talking about something you know nothing about. You’re just speculating. I’m talking about facts. I’m talking about real performance. I’m talking about changing games. I was a game-changer.”
Fillipponi, who seemed unconvinced by Rice’s answers, told him to have a nice birthday weekend, to which Rice, who was clearly perturbed, responded, “Suck a (bleep).”