Bruce, Holt still friendly competitors with HOF at stake
The Los Angeles Rams are back in the playoffs for the first time in 13 years. So to celebrate their resurrection, the Talk of Fame Network this week welcomed Hall of Fame semifinalists, Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt, and the last man to coach the Rams to the Super Bowl, Mike Martz.
The three of them, along with Hall of Famers Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk and Orlando Pace, created “The Greatest Show on Turf,’’ which became one of the most prolific offenses in NFL history. Now the Rams are back with an offense centering around running back Todd Gurley and quarterback Jason Goff, two players Martz could have used when ‘The Greatest Show on Turf’’ was flying high.
“That’s a team on a GIANT upward trend,’’ Martz said of today’s Rams on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast. “Wouldn’t it be something to see them play New England again (in Super Bowl LII)?’’
That was the big one that got away from Holt, Bruce and the rest. They had won one Super Bowl and were 14 ½-point favorites to beat the upstart Patriots -- a seemingly overachieving team not unlike today’s Rams. But, as it turned out, New England would go on to win three Super Bowls in four years and begin what has been a near 20-year dynasty.
Despite losing that day, Holt and Bruce left a mark on the game that has them both on the cusp of Hall-of-Fame enshrinement. Bruce was a finalist last year and has been joined as a semifinalist for the Class of 2018 by Holt, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. That’s formidable competition, but both Bruce and Holt feel they belong in the debate.
But Bruce isn't all that concerned. In fact, he insists waiting to be drafted was far more nerve-wracking than waiting to hear his name called by the Hall.
“The book is closed,’’ said Bruce, who retired behind Jerry Rice in nearly every significant receiving category and remains near the top today. “My numbers are my numbers. I played hard when it didn’t matter and shined with it did matter.’’
Holt claims Bruce was his mentor and an instrumental part of his own remarkable career. Holt had 1,300 or more receiving yards in seven straight seasons and, during his nine years paired with Bruce, was half of a tandem like the game had never seen before.
“In (my) 11 years I was top-five for a decade,” Holt said. “I took pride in that. (Opposing) guys would bring out two, three pairs of shoes before the game to try and figure out how to cover us.’’
You can hear Holt, Bruce, Martz and the full show on your SB Nation Radio Network station or by downloading our free podcast on iTunes or the TuneIn app. You can also access the show at our website, talkoffamenetwork.com.