On Saturday, video tributes and presentations will recognize the talents of the members of the 2020 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class. For the Los Angeles Rams, there will be one that is long overdue, finally getting his credit. Wide receiver Isaac Bruce will get inducted into Canton as the fourth member of the Greatest Show on Turf in the Hall of Fame.
Last year’s ceremony was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bruce will finally get to celebrate properly in Canton, Ohio. Like his wait to get officially inducted into the Hall of Fame, the wait is long overdue. Bruce retired in 2009. After the typical five year wait, Bruce then had to wait another six years to finally get the nod.
It’s hard to tell the story of the NFL, let alone the Los Angeles Rams franchise without including Isaac Bruce. He arguably is responsible for one of the best plays in franchise history, NFL history, and Super Bowl history.
Tied 16-16 late in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XXXIV against the Tennessee Titans, Bruce adjusted to an under-thrown ball by Kurt Warner in what would end up being the game-winning 73-yard touchdown. Bruce beat three Titans defenders on his way to scoring. “The Tackle” stole headlines, but “The Tackle” wouldn’t have mattered if Bruce hadn’t scored to put the Rams ahead.
January 29th, 2000
Kurt Warner throws the game-winning 73-yard TD pass to Isaac Bruce in the Super Bowl! #KurtWarner #GoosebumpSports #NFL #IsaacBruce #SuperBowl #Rams #Titans pic.twitter.com/2tFUAcmMeL
— Goosebump Sports (@GoosebumpSports) July 17, 2021
He was only the second wide receiver in NFL history to achieve more than 15,000 receiving yards after Jerry Rice. To date, he’s one of only six players to surpass the 15,000 yard mark. Jerry Rice was a first-ballot Hall of Fame player as well as Randy Moss and Tony Gonzalez. Larry Fitzgerald will be a first-ballot Hall of Fame player when he retires. Terrell Owens should have been a first-ballot player. Somehow it took Bruce six tries to finally get in.
What’s important is, he finally got in.
Many will look to his years in the Greatest Show on Turf as some of the best in his career. They wouldn’t be wrong. However, his 1995 season might be one of the most dominant in NFL history. With Chris Miller at quarterback, he Recorded 119 receptions – the most for a player under the age of 25. His 1,781 yards were second only to Jerry Rice’s then-record of 1,848 yards for one season and is still the fifth most in a single season.
What makes Bruce’s number even more impressive is that he accounted for 43% of the team’s receiving yards that season. That’s a higher percentage of any player in the top-5 in receiving yards in a season.
Bruce’s precise route-running, his reliability – they are all reasons he’s nicknamed “Reverend Ike”. He started his career with the Los Angeles Rams and finished it in St. Louis. We’ll try to forget the short stint with the rival San Francisco 49ers, but Bruce retired as a Ram and is a Ram for life. Bruce said in The Athletic:
Just having that moment, to have the Rams trade back for me and allow me that opportunity to finish what I started, it was great .. The Rams are my team forever — and I still get emotional about them on game day.
When it comes to the Greatest Show on Turf, Marshall Faulk was the engine, Kurt Warner was the spark, but Bruce was the heart and soul. Whenever the Rams needed him, he was there to make a play. In the team’s first playoff game in a decade, it was Bruce who scored the first touchdown on a 77-yard pass from Kurt Warner against the Minnesota Vikings.
Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, everyone talks about Ricky Proehl’s catch. However, it was Isaac Bruce who made just his third catch of the day – a six yard reception – to set up Proehl’s touchdown two plays later.
Then, as we already discussed, everyone knows about the play in the Super Bowl.
Bruce is without question the best wide receiver in franchise history. Many may not give him the credit, but he’s also one of the ten best wide receivers in NFL history.
Isaac Bruce will finally see his career come to an end where it should have five years ago – in Canton. He’ll go in as a Ram where he’ll remain a Ram for life and beyond. Bruce has never been a “look at me” player, but on Saturday, he’ll finally get the credit that he deserves and unveil his bronze bust at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.