By all rights, Bettis should have been a first ballot Hall of Fame selection.
Yet he undoubtedly suffered from the fact that fellow Pittsburgh Steeler Rod Woodson was selected the year before and at a time when Dermontti Dawson’s candidacy was gaining momentum.
- They can deny it all they want, but a “We already have too many Steelers” mentality dominates the much NFL Hall of Fame Selection Committee.
Fortunately the selection committee isn’t ignoring Bettis, nor should they, they just haven’t selected him. That needs to change, and it must change now.
14 Reasons to Induct Jerome Bettis into the Hall of Fame in 2014
1 – No other NFL player carried the moniker “The Bus.” While he was nibble on his feet, Bettis was a bruiser, one rare running who dragged defenders with him.
2 – In two seasons following his 30th birthday, Bettis led the Steelers in rushing as a non-starter.
3 – His 3.9 yards per carry average supposedly works against him. 41 yards would bring Bettis average up to 4.0. What about all those 1 yard touchdown runs or 3rd and inches conversions? You want those or 41 more garbage yards?
4 – Bettis made four Pro Bowl appearances as a Steeler.
5 – QB’s started for the Steelers during his tenure. Of those he essentially carried, Mike Tomczak, Kordell Stewart, and Kent Graham and helped nursemaid Ben Roethlisberger
6 – Only six rushers are above him on the NFL’s all time list.
7 – Franco Harris, who is already in the Hall of Fame sits right below Bettis’ spot on the All Time list at number 7. How can you out gain the author of the Immaculate Reception and not be in the Hall of Fame?
8 – The Bus posted 8 1000 yard plus season in his career, and was only a hair short in two others.
9 – There are NINE rushers who have fewer yards than Jerome Bettis who are already in the Hall of Fame – explain that one.
10 – Bettis played 15 or 16 games in 10 separate seasons. Durability is a hallmark of the great ones.
Jerome Bettis should be in the Hall of Fame this year. Let's do it Bus.
— Mike Tomlin (@CoachTomlin) January 30, 2014
Need anyone say more?
12 – Bettis made appearances in a 12 playoff games before the Steelers “Took him home” to Super Bowl XL. All told Bettis playoff totals look like this: 205 carries, 675 yards and 9 touchdowns, the latter number tying Bettis for 5th.
13 – The average NFL running back's career is 2.57 years. Jerome Bettis played for 13 years, and in 11 or 12 of them he probably could have beaten out all but perhaps a half dozen of the running backs in the league for a starting job. Longevity is a hallmark of the greatest.
14 – Fourteen other players have all rushed for 12,000 plus yards and are enshrined in Canton. Bettis is the lone exception. That must change.
Steelers Circle the Wagons
The Pittsburgh Steelers are somewhat of a “conservative organization” when it comes to promoting their own players. (Contrast that with the feel-good stories Dallas’ PR team pushes on Tony Romo.)
Yet the Steelers organization has gotten behind the ball and is mounting a campaign to get Jerome Bettis over the top. Bill Cowher has spoken out. Dick Hoak has as well. So as Mike Tomlin and even Tom Donahoe has offered his two cents.
But Pittsburgh Steelers President Art Rooney II said it the best: “He needs to be in there…. Its time.”