Forget protein bars or power shakes or a pasta carb-loading ... Jerry Rice tells TMZ Sports he used to take the field on an EMPTY STOMACH.
Seriously, kinda crazy considering how dominant he was -- but #80 swears he never scarfed down any food before a game.
Rice was just out in NYC -- nicest guy ever btw -- and we chatted about food, TD dances and hecklers.
Check out the clip ... and then go get something to eat.
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