Isaac Bruce spent 15 out of 16 seasons with the Rams where he was a key part of the “Greatest Show on Turf” offence. During his career, Bruce played in two Super Bowls, winning one whilst also reaching four pro bowls. The wide receiver retired in 2009 and is still ranked fifth all time in receiving yards. After his career, Bruce’s iconic number 80 jersey was retired by the Rams, and he was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2020.
Speaking exclusively to BonusFinder, Bruce discussed the current LA Rams team, his own Super Bowl memories, and his early Super Bowl 56 prediction.
What went wrong for the Rams against the Cardinals?
We (Rams) underestimated just how good that Cardinals team is and how good Kyler Murray is. He’s pretty much on the cusp of being the leader in the NFL MVP race.
They have a complete team in Arizona, offensively, defensively and even on special teams they made some plays.
But that’s just not the Rams team I’m used to seeing. The Rams came out a little flat but we need games like that because they keep us disciplined and they give us some motivation at the same time.
Defensively we’ll make some adjustments, it’s a short week this week so I’m expecting to see a better product on the field this Thursday night.
The Rams’ passing game has been good but is there any concerns about the ground game?
The Rams, along with every team in the league, want to establish a run game. The game against the Cards, the running game got off to a fast start with Darrell Henderson being back. He ran the ball hard, the offensive line was moving guys out of the way, so the run game was very significant for a quarter and a half.
We like to do a lot of things off the run game, that’s where Matthew Stafford can get the play action going and push the ball down the field. We did take shots down the field so I’m excited about that.
To play 4 games and be 3-1 is pretty significant considering the division we’re in. A lot of people will say that it’s the toughest division to be in right now.
How do you see the Rams – Seahawks game going on TNF?
Going on the road and beating the 49ers was a huge win for Seattle.
When you travel to Seattle, it’s always tough. Their crowd is one of the loudest crowds in all of football and in all of sports. They get behind their team, and the team really plays off the noise of the fans.
It’s going to be a challenge for the Rams, playing another division opponents on a short week on the road. It’ll be a tough uphill struggle to get that first win on the road.
Are there any concerns that Russell Wilson may have the same success Kyler Murray?
Kyler and Russell are 2 similar players in a lot of ways, they’re not very tall in stature, they’re very confident, they both have really great arms and they’re highly competitive.
Kyler, in terms of fast twitch, speed and explosiveness is a little ahead of Russell Wilson so that bodes well for the Rams defence. We’re going to up against a Russell Wilson that has a little bit more tread on his tires than a Kyler has.
We can really corral Wilson. We’ve been successful against those 2 quarterbacks (Murray and Wilson) so hopefully we can see that continue on Thursday night, where guys are pushing up the field but not running past Wilson and staying in their lanes, to make sure we get this guy on the ground.
How much of an upgrade has Matthew Stafford been on Jared Goff so far?
Let’s just say, along with myself, former Rams and current Rams, we’re pretty happy.
All the reports that are coming out of Los Angeles say that Stafford has been uplifting to the entire building.
Just having Stafford on board, having his availability is a unique situation because it gives Sean McVay the opportunity to be head coach and offensive coordinator again. Sean really doesn’t have to massage an ego or uplift a quarterback like he did previously, He can just let Matthew go out and play.
Matthew is seasoned, he’s been around for a long time, and I keep bringing up the fact that he’s already passed for over 45,000 yards in his career, so that’s a lot of experience.
I think Stafford and McVay are a perfect combination for the Rams right now.
Sean McVay seems to have instilled a winning culture within the Rams since his appointment, where does he rank among current NFL head coaches?
He’s pretty much at the top.
He came in with a lot of fanfare and he’s already exceeded the expected standard. He’s taken the team to one Super Bowl, and he’s accumulated talent around the players we’ve drafted like the Aaron Donald’s of the world. Even this offseason, he achieved the goal of adding explosive players that can take the top off a defence and I’m expecting even more.
I think he’s content with the direction the team is going in and as a Ram alumni, we’re still pretty excited about him.
As a HoF receiver, who do you think is the best Receiver in the NFL right now?
I think we can get a true read on this 2 months into the season.
There’s a ton of guys I love watching. DeAndre Hopkins is one. Keenan Allen is pretty good along with Mike Williams, who is really starting to develop into one of those go-to receivers.
There’s a lot of great talent around the league and I like the way they compete at the line of scrimmage, the way they compete for contested footballs and the way they can still make plays in double coverage.
There’s a lot of guys that deserve a lot of respect and they’re earning it.
As someone that was part of one of the greatest receiving duos of all time, which current receiving duo is your favourite?
There’s a bunch out there now. I saw Stephon Gilmore was released this week and he’s a hot commodity because of how many great wide receivers are playing right now. You need guys to cover all these great wide outs.
There are some great duos, I mentioned the Chargers duo already, and there are also some young groups that are coming. Denver and Minnesota have a nice group of wide receivers that are really starting to make plays.
It’s hard to put your finger on one group, but the combination of teams having multiple ‘number 1 wide receivers’ is very evident around the league right now.
Aaron Donald is a 3x Defensive Player of the Year, there’s already talk that he might be the most dominant defensive player of all time, do you agree with this?
It’s a huge statement. I’m a homer and I’m all for Rams and Rams being promoted and uplifted.
Aaron Donald is very competitive, strong, he can use his angles. He’s unstoppable and undeterred.
He fits right in when you’re talking about the greats like Sapp, ‘Mean’ Joe Greene, John Randle and guys of that nature. He definitely fits into that group because these guys were nonstop, and they had a lot of sacks.
When you look at the number of sacks that Donald has from an interior position, where he’s facing a centre AND a guard most of the time because of the damage he can do, he definitely has to be mentioned as one of the greatest of all time.
How did it feel when you were inducted into the NFL HoF?
It was great, it’s like icing on a cake.
It closed one door but opened another to bigger and greater things.
It was great being able to share moments like that with my family, friends and ex-teammates who all came out to support me at Canton.
Being in Canton, if you’re a football fan, I don’t care where you are, that’s one trip you should make to really see the true history of football and everything that behind it – from the ‘immaculate catch’ to the 1972 undefeated Miami Dolphins and the history behind that.
It’s a great place to visit, it’s one of the most inspirational places on earth and I was humbled by the whole situation, it exceeded all my expectations as far as the induction weekend goes in Canton.
Which of your Greatest Show on Turf teammates would have the most success playing in today’s league with stricter rules against defences?
Torry Holt and I would have a lot of success.
From a quarterback standpoint, Kurt would definitely have success.
Marshall would be a little bit more than what he was.
As far as production level, as a whole, as a unit, what we did would probably be close to double if we were playing under these rules now.
The defences are pretty much handcuffed, when it comes to really being able to get after guys, punish guys or lunge to blow up a play, that’s pretty much null and void in the NFL these days.
Guys are adjusting and adapting to the style of play but I can see great records that have been placed up starting to fall a lot sooner than they should have been.
How was the experience of winning that Super Bowl against the Titans in such close fashion?
Going into that game, we didn’t want a close game. We wanted an opportunity to be on the side-line late in the 4th quarter with our hats and t-shirts on just enjoying the moment.
Unfortunately for us but fortunately for fans, it turned out to be one of the greatest Super Bowls ever played. Just to be in a tight game like that, I feel like we were prepared for that moment and games like that during the season.
Just to be in it, it’s everything that you thought and think the Super Bowl is and would be. From the confetti to the halftime show to the smoke being in the dome and the finish to the game itself was marvellous.
You had 2 plays that will never die as long as the Super Bowl is around. I was part of one of those plays and Mike Jones was a part of the other one with the tackle to close out the game.
It was spectacular, it was awesome and a memory that I’ll keep for a while, but Super Bowl is the Super Bowl. It’s football times eighty.
There have been allegations of foul play towards the Patriots regarding Super Bowl 36, where do you stand on this?
Just to paint the picture of that game and what we were up against, we had some great success vs the Patriots earlier that season in Foxboro on grass mind you. To be in the Superdome with a controlled climate on our style of turf, just seeing where people were and how close that game was, it was shocking to us.
So, sometimes where there’s smoke there’s fire. There’s a lot of things that have been painted towards the New England Patriots as far as gamesmanship and being close to the line of not being ethical as far as the game is played. So, maybe something happened, maybe it didn’t.
We didn’t help ourselves a lot in that game either, we turned the ball over too much and too often which gave them (Patriots) more opportunities. At the end of the game, we had an opportunity to win it and just didn’t pull it out.
After the first 4 games of the season, have you got an early Super Bowl prediction?
I’ll always say the Rams until we’re mathematically eliminated, and I don’t think that’ll change today.
I’m going to stick with the Rams for the NFC, starting with a bounce back game this week (vs Seattle) and ending with the opportunity to be the second team to win a home Super Bowl (after Tampa Bay last year).
From the AFC, Kansas City are obviously there but I think Baltimore will surprise a lot of people this year.
I’d say the Rams vs Baltimore, that would be a great Super Bowl, 2 great quarterbacks, the Ravens who are historically known for their defence and have Lombardi Trophies in their camp. That’d be a great matchup and hopefully we’d (Rams) get it done.