Jerome Bettis: Career retrospective | Yardbarker


Jerome “The Bus” Bettis grew up in Detroit, Michigan and became an NFL legend. One of the greatest powerbacks of all time, he played for the Pittsburgh Los Angeles Rams before he was traded to the Steelers. He personified the Steelers his football with his style of bruised running. He ended his storybook career by winning Super Bowl XL. Let’s give thanks to The Bus and his work.

Bettis in action at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1990)
RVR Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Jerome “The Bus” Bettis is manufactured in Detroit, Michigan. Bettis played fullback and linebacker for Mackenzie High School. He became an instant sensation on the football field. When his high school career was all over, Bettis devoted himself to Notre Dame.

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College years at Notre Dame

College years at Notre Dame

RVR Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Bettis entered Notre Dame’s prestigious halls as a wide-eyed football prodigy determined to make his NFL dreams a reality. He turned into a star in Fighting Irish. After playing in a limited role in his freshman year, Bettis achieved his 1,162 scrimmage yardage and his record-breaking 20 total touchdowns. Betis’ record still stands today. Bettis performed well again in his junior year, cotton fighting in his bowl he led the Irish to victory. Bettis entered his 1993 NFL Draft after finishing his junior year.

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Drafted by the Los Angeles Rams

Drafted by the Los Angeles Rams

Long Photos – USA TODAY Sports

No one questioned Betis’ game-busting talent. When he stepped onto the field at Notre Dame, he looked like a first-round pick.In the 1993 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Rams selected Betis with the 10th pick in the first round. The boy from Detroit made it to his NFL.

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Rookie of the Year

Rookie of the Year

Peter Brouillet-USA TODAY Sports

Bettis packed up and prepared to launch his NFL career in sunny Los Angeles.

Rams head coach Chuck Knox has brought his run-fast spirit to LA. Knox turned Betis from fullback to halfback. The position change was immediately profitable. Bettis made his NFL debut with his 1,429 rushing yards and his seven touchdowns. When all was said and done, Betis won the NFL Rookie of the Year Award.

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battering ram

battering ram

Peter Brouillet-USA TODAY Sports

Betis was the talk of the town in LA. The young superstar was enjoying life in the City of Angels. Many believed he was the next big thing in the NFL, given that he played for big market teams near the glorious lights of Hollywood. His style of running has earned him the nickname ‘The Battering Ram’. It stuck with him during his entire tenure with the Rams.

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Transfer Leads to Betis Struggle

Transfer Leads to Betis Struggle

RVR Photo-USA TODAY Sports

The Rams moved to St. Louis in 1995. He also fired head coach Chuck Knox and hired Rich Brooks instead. The Rams’ new offense featured more passing his concept, but receiving was not Betis’s forte. he was a powerback. He was phased out of the new offense and in 1995 recorded his career lows in carry and rushing his yards. The Battering Rams’ days in LA seemed countless.

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The battering ram heads for the city of steel

The battering ram heads for the city of steel

RVR Photo-USA TODAY Sports

In April 1996, Jerome Bettis was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for a stockpile of draft picks. Betis was part of one of football’s most famous franchises. It marked a new chapter in Betis’ career.

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Comeback Player of the Year Winner

Comeback Player of the Year Winner

RVR Photo-USA TODAY Sports

The trade turned out to be a great move for the Steelers. He was a perfect fit for the blue-collar city of Pittsburgh. He was once again in a team with a ground-and-pound philosophy, and Betis put up big numbers. He rushed for 1,431 yards and 11 touchdowns, making his third Pro Bowl appearance. In the first game against the Rams, Betis rushed for his 129 yards and his two runs as the Steelers beat him 42-6. Bettis was awarded Comeback His Player of the Year for reviving his career and leading the Steelers to the playoffs.

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Six consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons

Six consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons

RVR Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Betis ran for 1,000 yards or more for six consecutive years (1996-2001). During this time, he was the lead back for the Steelers. He had over 300 carries each season and was basically the Steelers’ offense. He finished in the top five in MVP voting in 1996 and He’97 respectively. This was the heyday of his career.

bus

Matthew Emmons – USA TODAY Sports

Betis embodies the bruised running style of Steelers football. Eventually, the Pittsburgh sports media nicknamed him “The Bass” for his power, size and strength. Beating the 5-foot-11, 252-pound Betis was no easy task. Also, school buses are traditionally black and yellow, the same color scheme as the Steelers. The nickname was perfect for the powerback.

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Thanksgiving coin toss controversy

Thanksgiving coin toss controversy

Matthew Emmons – USA TODAY Sports

When the Steelers faced the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day 1998, the game looked like a regular Turkey Bowl. It will be remembered forever. With the game tied at 16, Betis scored a coin in overtime for his toss he marked 50 yards. he called his tail. The referee thought he said heads. The coin toss is tails. The Lions got the ball and marched down the field where they kicked the game-winning field goal to win 19–16. This is him one of the wildest things to happen at a Thanksgiving football game.

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Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award Winner

Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award Winner

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

2001 was a great year for Betis. Bass geared up for 1,072 yards and he scored four touchdowns. Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. This is his one of the most prestigious trophies in professional football. The Walter Payton Award recognizes players who have done good on and off the field through ballpark play and philanthropy.

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the injured put the bus in the shop

the injured put the bus in the shop

Brett Hansbauer – USA TODAY Sports

As the mid-2000s passed, Betis entered his thirties. This is the danger zone for running his back. He began missing games due to injury and took on a lesser role. Betis didn’t care about his role on his team. he just wanted to win

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Last Pro Bowl season ended in disappointment

Last Pro Bowl season ended in disappointment

Brett Hansbauer – USA TODAY Sports

When the Steelers acquired quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the 2004 NFL Draft, he made an immediate impact on the team. Betis took him under his wing and coached the rookie quarterback, who rushed for 941 yards and 13 touchdowns heading into his final Pro Bowl season. That year, the Steelers went 15-1, but New England lost to the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.

Betis had accomplished everything a running back could do at this point in his career. The only thing left was to win the Super Bowl. He came close in his 1997, 2001 and 2004 but lost the AFC Championship in his games. Heartbroken by his previous playoff loss, Betis decided to give it another try in the 2005 season before his retirement.

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final season

final season

Matthew Emmons – USA TODAY Sports

The bus hadn’t broken down yet. However, at the age of 33, he tallied his career-low 368 yards and his 9 touchdowns. He missed a string of games early in his 2005 season, and the Steelers faced the possibility of missing the playoffs with his 7-5 record. Then Betis caught fire.

Bass led the Steelers to the playoffs. On the way, he was run over by Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher. The iconic play became a defining moment in his career and he summed up his will to win. The Steelers’ playoff push was successful, earning them a playoff spot with an 11-5 record.

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wild playoff run

wild playoff run

Matthew Emmons – USA TODAY Sports

In NFL playoff history, the No. 6 seed had never won three road playoff games and a Super Bowl until the 2005 Steelers. Led by Bass, they overtook the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos on their way to Betis’ first Super Bowl appearance. saved the There was only one game left to play for football’s immortality.

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Run into the sunset as a Super Bowl champion

Run into the sunset as a Super Bowl champion

Joe Robbins-USA TODAY Sports

In front of a hometown crowd in Detroit City, the Betis and Steelers beat the Seattle Seahawks 21-10 in Super Bowl XL. Betis finished the day with 14 carries and he had 43 yards. It was the storybook that ended his career. Through all the highs and lows, Betis retired at the top.

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powerback of his generation

powerback of his generation

Three Cincinnati Bengals take on The Bus (2006).
Matthew Emmons – USA TODAY Sports

Betis was the powerback of his generation. He recorded 3,479 carries for 13,662 yards and 91 touchdowns in 192 career games. As of 2022, he ranks eighth all-time in career rushing yards and 11th all-time in career rushing touchdowns.

More importantly, Bettis was a selfless leader during his Steelers days. He treated the top-paid players and the guys on the practice team the same. No Steeler has worn the number 36 since retiring.

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life after football

life after football

Michael Caterina / USA TODAY NETWORK

Bass has been busy since retiring. He settled into his role as a football analyst. Also appeared in an episode of office When neighbor as himself. During the 2021-22 academic year, Bettis re-enrolled at the University of Notre Dame and completed his business degree. Expect to hear more from Betis as he continues his success after his retirement.

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end of the bus

end of the bus

Kirby Lee – USA TODAY Sports

The last stop for the bus was Canton. He was inducted into his Football Hall of Fame Pro as a member of his 2015 class.

David J. Hunt is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia. He ran cross-country at Penn State University, became a volunteer firefighter during COVID-19, and became a self-taught journalist. He’s a hardcore Philadelphia sports fan. When he’s not watching sports, he enjoys working out, fishing and traveling. You can find more of his work at The Chestnut Hill Local and The Temple News. You can follow him on Twitter. @dave_hunt44.





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