Pittsburgh Steelers: Jerome Bettis Enters The Hall Of Fame


One of the most dedicated fandoms in the NFL, Steelers Country, will be out in full force this weekend at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. They will come to honor running back Jerome Bettis on Saturday night, and support the Black and Gold in action against the Minnesota Vikings at Fawcett Stadium on Sunday evening.

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Let’s take a look back at the man that many fans call the “Bus.” The Detroit, Michigan native was drafted 10th overall by the Los Angeles Rams with their first pick in the 1993 National Football League Draft. Bettis ran for 1,429 yards in 1993 and 1,025 yards in 1994. His production dropped to just 637 yards in 1995.

The person Pittsburgh Steelers fans need to remember is Tom Donahue, who was the Director of Football Operations for the team from 1991 to 1999. He did his homework on Bettis, and liked what he saw in the former Notre Dame product. During the 1996 draft, Donahue traded the Steelers’ second round pick in 1996, and their fourth round selection of 1997 for Bettis and the Rams’ third round choice.

The 5-foot-11, 252-pound running back with the nimble feet rushed for 10,571 yards on 2,683 attempts and 78 touchdowns over ten seasons with the Black and Gold. When it was time to hang up the shoulder pads for good, Bettis rolled up the sixth-most rushing yards in NFL history.

Bettis added 674 yards on 199 carries and nine touchdowns in 14 playoff games for Pittsburgh. His talent and ability took him, over the course of his career, from collecting the Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 1993 to the Comeback Player of the Year award in 1996.

As a long time Steelers fan, I have vivid memories of the Chuck Noll era, and the Super Bowl championships in 1974, 1975, 1978, and 1979. After the 27-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl 30, I was not so sure if any of us would see the title return to the Burgh. Bettis changed all that. He helped to lead the team to their fifth Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl 40 against the Seattle Seahawks at Ford Field in Detroit.

Bettis is joined by Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders wide receiver Tim Brown; San Francisco 49ers/Dallas Cowboys defensive end Charles Haley; San Diego Chargers/Miami Dolphins/New England Patriots linebacker Junior Seau; Kansas City Chiefs offensive guard Will Shields; and Minnesota Vikings center Mick Tinglehoff. Also entering the Hall are two contributors to the game: Bill Polian, former general manager of the Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, and Indianapolis Colts; and Ron Wolf, former general manager of the Green Bay Packers.

It is time to raise the Terrible Towel to Bettis and all of these greats of the NFL.

Next: Steelers: Pre-Season Opener Preview

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