Isaac Bruce spent 16-years in the NFL as one of the most underrated players of his generation. When Bruce retired not only was he arguably the best player in the history of the St. Louis Rams but was also second all-time in receiving yards (15,208 yards) behind only the great Jerry Rice. Bruce has been treated the same way as the city of St. Louis has been treated, like an afterthought.
Bruce seems to be penalized for a couple factors:
Bruce played on alongside another Hall of Fame hopeful Torry Holt.
It is widely believed that Holt’s presence somehow made Bruce’s accomplishments less impressive. Holt however was drafted in 1999 a whole five years into Bruce’s career. He was a complement to the greatness of Bruce. Still, there is a group of people that believe Holt and Bruce are splitting votes. This notion is absurd, while Holt is worthy of a finalist spot it was always clear who was the alpha dog in the pack of Rams receivers his whole career.
Bruce didn’t make the all-decade team.
This one seems stupid to me, but I have seen comments about it. Bruce was never really the best wideout of his time, being overshadowed by greats like Jerry Rice, Terrell Owens and Randy Moss. If Bruce’s number had been from 1990 to 2000 he would have had a better chance of making one of these teams, but he was right in the middle of both of those time periods.
The Greatest Show on Turf inflated his numbers.
There is an idea that Bruce was a product of a great offense and not an elite receiver. The greatness of the 1999 Ram’s offense is obvious, but he had already established himself as an elite receiver. Isaac’s most productive season came in 1995 with the likes of Mark Rypien and Chris Miller throwing him the ball. He followed that up with a great 1996 season where the Rams featured the likes of Tony Banks and Steve Walsh. It was his precise route running and durability that inflated his numbers not an offensive game plan.
Why He should be in.
Selected in the second round of the of the 1994 draft by the Rams, Bruce began his accent to stardom in his second season catching 119 passes, scoring 13 TDs. Continuing his domination in 1996 leading the league in yards with 1338. During his 10-season peak phase, from 1995 through 2004, Bruce led the NFL in receiving yards, was No. 1 in catches of 25+ yards, was third in average yards per game, was third in receiving first downs, ranked fourth in total receptions, fifth in touchdowns and had the most yards at the point of the catch. Bruce was the definition of consistency for the Rams proving his abilities week in and week out.
By the numbers:
6th all time in receiving yards: 15,208
13th in receptions: 1,024
42 career 100+ yard games
Bruce’s story is simple, he has been plagued by the fact that no matter what he will always be connected with the city that the NFL doesn’t want. The support from fans will have to come from the city that has felt abandoned by the league. It’s important for the fans of the St. Louis area to remember that even though the team and the league have left, Isaac Bruce has not. Bruce still runs his foundation out of the city of St. Louis and he still supports the city in any way that he can. It’s time for the city to do its part to bring him the accolades that he deserves. We can never forget his iconic moment in Super Bowl XXXIV, Bruce grabbed six receptions for 162 yards (third most in Super Bowl history) and one touchdown. The touchdown was a 73-yard reception that proved to be the game winner with 1:54 remaining in contest. He is a St. Louis sports icon and deserves to be in Canton.