Sunday February 3, 2013

NEW ORLEANS -- Jerry Rice, who takes great pride in the 49ers' undefeated Super Bowl record, sees no reason for the winning streak to end.

The Hall of Fame receiver predicted Thursday that San Francisco would up its mark to 6-0 by beating the Baltimore Ravens 24-17 in a ruggedly physical Super Bowl XLVII.

His reason for the pick? Rice likes like Colin Kaepernick. And Michael Crabtree. And tight end Vernon Davis.

"And the best receiver to ever play the game, Randy Moss," Rice said wryly.

Oh, yes. That.

Rice took repeated jabs, if not haymakers, at the 49ers' current receiver during a wide-ranging session with the media Thursday.

Responding to Moss' assertion this week that he was the greatest receiver of all time, Rice had some fun with his apparent demotion.

When introduced by an ESPN spokeswoman as the arguably best receiver in NFL history, Rice cut her off. "Second best," he corrected.

Rice's tone stayed mostly playful, but there were also a few serious barbs. Taking issue with Moss' occasional lapses in attitude over the years, Rice pointed back to his own famously dogged work ethic.

"I think Randy Moss was the most talented. But along with being the most talented, you have to work hard -- every season, every play," Rice said. "I was not the most talented, but I was going to outwork you."

Rice said Moss "could have been, probably, the greatest player ever to play the game. Gifted. 6-foot-5. Could run a 4.3. Could out-jump you. Struck fear in the opponent.

"But you have to have it here, in your heart."

He tapped his chest to drive home that point. Minutes later, he gestured again, this time to raise his right hand and flash one of his three Super Bowl rings.

"This how I impacted the game: with Super Bowl rings," he said, giving reporters an extended look at the one on his finger. "I'm hoping he can go out there and win his first one and be a big factor."