In 2014, former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis will be eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Should the artist formerly known as “The Bus” get the call to the Hall?
Right from the get-go, Bettis flourished in the NFL. It also helped that he stepped into the run-heavy offense that the Rams ran under coach Chuck Knox. In his first two seasons in the league, he rushed for over 1,000 yards in each season and was named the NFL Rookie of the Year as a rookie.
In 1996, “The Bus” pulled into Pittsburgh where his legacy only grew. Between the 1996 and 2001 seasons, Bettis rushed for at least 1,000 yards each year. His career high came in 1997 when he rushed for 1,665 yards.
The early 2000s saw Bettis’ career go through its ups and downs. While he was still one of the NFL’s most effective rushers in the late 1990s, he found himself the backup to Amos Zeroue in 2003 and then Duce Staley in 2004. Bettis then became a short-yardage back in 2005.
Prior to the 2005 season, Bettis announced that he would be retiring and would love to go out with a Super Bowl victory, which would be the first of his career, in his hometown of Detroit. Bettis got his wish when the Steelers defeated the Seattle Seahawks 21-10 in Super Bowl XL.
Bettis now ranks sixth on the all-time rushing list with 13,662 yards as well as 91 touchdowns. He finished a six-time Pro Bowler and two-time First Team All Pro as well as winning the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2001.
Without a doubt, Jerome Bettis deserves induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. When he retired in 2006, he virtually ended the era of the “power-back” in the NFL. Nowadays, teams look for quick and agile running backs rather than big, powerful bowling balls.
“The Bus” has one last stop to make. In his first year eligible to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, 2013, Bettis was snubbed. In 2014, he should be a no-brainer to pull into the final stop in his illustrious journey through the NFL at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.