And their litany of accomplishments got “The Reverend” to preach this to CBS Sports’ Bryan DeArdo on Tuesday during a virtual interview: They’re the best wide receiver duo of all-time.
“It may seem like a whole lot of arrogance to other people, but numbers don’t lie,” Bruce said to DeArdo. “Everything we put on the football field, the film, it is what it is. You can always go back and turn it on.”
By the Numbers: What ‘The Reverend’ and ‘Big Game’ Accomplished
Let’s face it: In tracing back to 1999 when they were first paired together, there’s simply no way the “Greatest Show on Turf” would have lit up scoreboards without the presence of both receivers.
Bruce, already an established Pro Bowler who had two 1,000-yard seasons and a 119-catch year on his resume, hauled in 77 catches for 1,165 yards and scored 12 touchdowns in that ’99 campaign. With Holt on the opposite side, the then-rookie from North Carolina State averaged 15.2 yards a catch and caught 52 passes from Kurt Warner that tallied 788 yards. Holt also scored half of what Bruce had in TD’s.
And when looking back at January 30, 2000, Holt was the first player to score in that Super Bowl to extend the Ram lead to 16-0. Even after a Tennessee Titan rally to tie things up at 16-all, Bruce scored the final touchdown with the soul-snatching 73-yarder.
Yet, that season only became a small sample of what both showed they were capable of.
Bruce went on to produce five more 1,000-yard seasons with the Rams before joining the 49ers in 2008. Holt’s career ascended to new heights: Eight consecutive 1,000-yard seasons and eight straight years of catching 80 or more passes, including a 117-catch year in 2003 and 102 in 2005.
“The Reverend” ended up hauling in 630 catches from 1999-2007 with Holt opposite of him. Meanwhile, Holt went on to catch 805 receptions. The duo combined for 126 touchdowns during their run.
Why the Claim
It’s obviously a bold claim coming from Bruce himself, who has never really been known as a talker during his NFL days.
And his declaration on who the best WR duo is will surely ruffle up fans of the San Francisco 49ers who think Jerry Rice/John Taylor are the greatest duo. Or Pittsburgh Steeler fans who think it’s Lynn Swann/John Stallworth. Perhaps even members of the “Raiders Nation” who believe it’s Cliff Branch/Fred Biletnikoff. Or lastly, Minnesota Viking fans who saw Cris Carter and Randy Moss torment defenses during the time Bruce and Holt played in the league.
The latter receiving pairing often gets compared to Bruce/Holt. Carter and Moss, however, only played four seasons together with the Vikings. That tag team holds this advantage over the two Rams: Both combined for six seasons of scoring double-digit touchdowns. Bruce and Holt combined for four.
Yet, Bruce sends this reminder on why he and Holt are rated higher than the former Vikings, plus the same reminder and reason why it’s leverage for his “best WR duo of all-time” declaration.
“We won a Super Bowl,” Bruce said.