One day, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis will take his rightful place in Canton among the NFL’s greatest.
He’s now one step closer to his ultimate destination.
Bettis is one of 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2014, as announced on the NFL Network Thursday night. Former Steelers’ linebacker Kevin Greene also was named one of the finalists.
The Bus was also a finalist last season and joins the likes of Tim Brown, Eddie DeBartolo, Jr., Greene, Charles Haley, Andre Reed, Will Shields, Michael Strahan and Aeneas Williams, all of whom were finalists a year ago.
Looking at the list of potentials, I have a hard time thinking Bettis will get that phone call this year, as he may have to wait one more year.
If I had to take a stab at the top five guys to get in, my votes would go to Strahan, Brooks, Jones, Harrison and Haley.
Even though Bettis has the numbers, he was never considered the most dominant or top back in the game. He never led the NFL in rushing and through all his accomplishments, I just don’t see him as a shoo-in with this loaded class.
Strahan won’t have to wait another year and I think Brooks, Harrison and Jones should all go in on their first time on the ballot. They were all one of the most dominant players at their respective positions for a lengthy stretch of time.
The wild card for me is Haley.
In his fifth year on the ballot I think Haley gets rewarded for his five rings. While winning isn’t the only thing, it is pretty important and Haley has the hardware to show for it. He was also a pretty dominant pass rusher, so he gets the nod.
Of course I can change my mind closer to the announcement, but right now I don’t think the Bus has that good of a chance. He will get in, but even great players have to wait their turn.
We will see how things play out as the vote is due to be announced Feb. 1 on Fox.