Jerome Bettis: A Hall of Fame Career
Jerome Bettis, born in Detroit, Michigan, was selected 10th overall out of Notre Dame by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1993 draft. After being with the Rams for 3 years, he came to Pittsburgh where his illustrious career flourished. Bettis was traded to Pittsburgh in the 1996 season for a second and fourth round pick. He quickly became a workhorse and became one of the best backs in the league. He had over 300 carries in 4 of his 5 first seasons in Pittsburgh. He also eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark in his first 6 seasons in Pittsburgh.
Bettis quickly became one of the most beloved Steelers of his time, along with wide receiver Hines Ward. Bettis is more commonly known in Pittsburgh as “The Bus”. Bettis accredits the nickname to his college days in Notre Dame because they would write how he ran people over like a bus when running into the end zone. His same style of running carried over into the NFL, and it made him an elite back. However, the nickname became a household name by Pittsburgh’s own Myron Cope. The Pittsburgh faithful made costumes and signs all about The Bus. He was the heart and soul of our offense. He exemplified what a Steeler was: physical, tough, resilient, and not afraid to take a beating on the field.
Bettis would enter his final season in 2005 with a second year quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers had went 15-1 the previous season, but fell short in the AFC Championship Game to the Patriots. The Steelers were in rough shape at 7-5 and had to win all 4 games to just have a chance at the postseason. Sure enough we snuck into the 6th seed and headed to Cincinnati.
The Steelers beat Cincinnati 31-17 in the wildcard round and moved onto the Colts. It was a hard fought game against Indy, and it came down to the final minute of the game. The Steelers had the ball inside the 5 and Ben handed it off to The Bus and he fumbled. At that moment everything stopped because all you could see was the Indy guy running free into the open with no one there, except for Ben who made the most amazing, season-saving tackle ever. A few plays later Indy missed a field goal and the Steelers won and advanced onto Denver. After they won in Denver, it was onto the Super Bowl in Detroit, Michigan, the home town of The Bus.
The Super Bowl was filled with excitement as Pittsburgh ran trick plays to Hines Ward, and Willie Parker breaking a Super Bowl record 75 yard touchdown run. The Steelers won Super Bowl XL(40) 21-10 and it seemed so fitting that the 6th leading rusher would retire on top!
The Bus finished his career off with 13,662 yards, which is currently 6th on the all-time list. He also ended his career with 3.479 carries, 91 touchdowns, and a 3.9 yard average. Bettis was one of the last true ground and pound, full time workhorses. You just don’t see running backs get the type of touches that Bettis had over his career.
Bettis has all the attributes of a Hall of Fame guy,6th on the all-time rushing list, his professionalism, and a Super Bowl ring!! I couldn’t think of a better candidate for the Hall of Fame than Jerome “The Bus” Bettis!!