Super Bowl records come and go. Jerry Rice’s endure.

In last month’s AFC championship game win over Baltimore, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce broke San Francisco 49ers legend Jerry Rice’s record for career postseason receptions (151) and tied the Hall of Fame wideout’s mark for most 100-yard receiving games (eight) in the postseason.

Rice remains the NFL’s all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns and yards from scrimmage, among a host of other statistical categories, despite the fact that the NFL has become more pass-heavy since he retired with 38 records in 2005. Rice still holds several postseason marks, including those for receiving yards and touchdowns in the Super Bowl and the playoffs as a whole. In his first appearance on the NFL’s biggest stage, 35 years ago last month, Rice overcame an injury to enter the record books with one of the greatest individual performances in Super Bowl history.

At practice six days before Super Bowl XXIII in Miami Gardens, Fla., Rice aggravated the right ankle sprain that had slowed him for the second half of the 1988 regular season. Rice was listed as questionable for the game against the AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals, but no one on either team had any doubts whether the 26-year-old would play.

“What’s a good word for the injury?” Bengals cornerback Eric Thomas said when asked about Rice’s ankle four days before the game. “I’d have to say ‘hogwash.’ Maybe he is hurt a little bit. But he’s going to be at his best Sunday. … You can cut one of Jerry Rice’s legs off, and if he’s running downfield and no one is covering him, he’s going to catch the football.”

Rice was at his best that Sunday, finishing with 11 catches for a Super Bowl record 215 yards and one touchdown in San Francisco’s 20-16 win. While many Super Bowl receiving records have since been rewritten, Rice’s MVP performance from that special night at Joe Robbie Stadium has yet to be surpassed.

After catching an NFL record 22 touchdown passes (in 12 games) in the strike-shortened 1987 season, Rice finished the 1988 campaign with 64 catches for 1,306 yards and nine touchdowns. He found another gear in the playoffs, catching 10 passes for 194 yards and five touchdowns from 49ers quarterback Joe Montana in routs of the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears, but was forced to leave San Francisco’s first practice in South Florida after injuring himself running a hook route.

The status of Rice’s ankle dominated headlines during Super Bowl week, so it was major news when he was spotted dancing at Penrod’s nightclub on Miami Beach on Wednesday night.

“I’m down here to have fun,” Rice said the next day. “I’m not going to sit in my room because I’ve got a sore ankle. … I was dancing straight ahead, not side to side, nothing fancy. I definitely wasn’t doing the Ickey Shuffle.”

“After we beat them, I don’t want anyone to say we won the game because Jerry Rice was hurt,” said Thomas, the Bengals cornerback. “I want him to be in, and I want him to be 100 percent.”

Thomas expressed confidence in the Cincinnati secondary’s ability to hang with Rice, even at full strength.

“Our defensive backs are fast,” he said. “You put me, Lewis Billups, Rickey Dixon and Daryl Smith against Jerry Rice in the 40-yard dash, and we’ll all beat him.”

Rice returned to practice Thursday. By Friday, 49ers Coach Bill Walsh gave him a 75 percent chance of playing. Rice was in the starting lineup Sunday and ran for five yards after a taking a handoff on a reverse on San Francisco’s first play from scrimmage.

Both offenses struggled in the first half, which ended in a 3-3 tie. Rice had three catches for 58 yards, including a juggling grab along the sideline.

With the Bengals leading 13-6 early in the fourth quarter, Montana connected with Rice, who beat Billups for a game-tying 14-yard touchdown. On the previous play, Billups dropped an interception in the end zone.

Rice came up limping after making a 44-yard catch on San Francisco’s next drive, which culminated in a missed field goal by Mike Cofer. Five minutes later, the Bengals took a 16-13 lead on a 40-yard field goal by Jim Breech.

The 49ers began their next drive from their 8-yard line with all three timeouts remaining and 3:10 on the clock. On first and 10 from the San Francisco 35, Montana connected with Rice for a 17-yard gain. After a penalty on the 49ers set up second and 20 from the Bengals’ 45, Rice made a 27-yard catch over the middle. Two plays later, Montana zipped the game-winning 10-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver John Taylor with 34 seconds to play.

“With only one more chance, we knew we were going to have to defend Jerry Rice, and we defended against him,” Bengals Coach Sam Wyche said. “But Joe still got it in there. It was a game that ought to go down as as fine a game as a pair can play.”

Rice’s coaches and teammates praised his toughness.

“Especially on that last drive, because of his sprained ankle, Jerry Rice was operating on nerve,” said Walsh, who retired a few days later. “He said he felt great. I knew he wasn’t.”

“Normal people do not come back from the ankle and knee injuries he had,” 49ers right guard Randy Cross said. “In the movie, it was Arnold Schwarzenegger who was made in a test tube into the perfect human being. I’d have to nominate Jerry Rice for that.”

“He was playing on guts,” 49ers running back Roger Craig said. “He was hurting. He played hurt all year. But if there is a war breaking out, you can count on him being ready for it.”

Rice, who broke the Super Bowl single-game record for receiving yards (193) set by Washington’s Ricky Sanders a year earlier, cautioned future opponents about trying to get in his head.

“I have a lot of respect for Thomas and Billups,” he said of the Bengals’ cornerbacks. “But they did a lot of talking about what Jerry Rice couldn’t do. In situations like that, I try not to get intimidated. I don’t talk a game; I just play it.”

After receiving 10 of 11 votes for the game’s MVP award, Rice said he would rather give the honor to Montana, who finished 23 for 36 for a then-Super Bowl record 357 yards and two touchdowns.

“He took control,” said Rice, who received a Subaru XT6 from Sport magazine. “On the last drive, I knew Joe would get the job done.”

In a television interview three days after the Super Bowl, Rice said he wasn’t getting the recognition he deserved from the media upon returning to the Bay Area and admitted he was irked that Disney chose Montana to appear in its “I’m going to Disney World!” and “I’m going to Disneyland!” commercials filmed immediately after the game.

“It’s all behind me,” Rice said of the fallout from those comments the following year at Super Bowl XXIV, in which he had seven catches for 148 yards and a record three receiving touchdowns in the 49ers’ 55-10 rout of the Broncos in New Orleans.

In January 1995, Rice tied his own mark with three receiving touchdowns in San Francisco’s win over the Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX. His eight receiving touchdowns in four Super Bowl appearances remain a record, and his 22 receiving touchdowns in the playoffs are three more than Kelce’s career total. Since Rice’s record-breaking performance against the Bengals in January 1989, only one player — Rams wideout Isaac Bruce in January 2000 — has had at least 160 receiving yards in a Super Bowl.

“I’ve got plenty of records,” Rice recently said during an appearance on 95.7 the Game, a Bay Area radio station, adding that he would be the first to congratulate Kelce on his achievement. “You can’t break them all. You can’t break them all, baby.”

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