Bus #36--Delayed Again
One of the highlights of the pregame ceremonies of the Super Bowl is the coin toss. This usually involves the players who were selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This year's class featured two members of the Pittsburgh Steelers; Jack Butler, who starred for the Steelers in the 1950's, and Dermontti Dawson, who played for the Steelers from 1988 to 2000 and replaced Hall of Famer Mike Webster. The Pittsburgh connection continued with two players who played their college ball at the University Of Pittsburgh; Chris Doleman, a star with the Minnesota Vikings and Curtis Martin, who played for the New York Jets and New England Patriots. Perhaps this is the reason why, once again, Pittsburgh Steeler and St. Louis Ram Jerome Bettis was once again denied admission.
It cannot be for any statistical reason, Bettis's totals put him 5th among rushers in the NFL. Nor can it be for any moral or conduct reason; a far cry from many of today's NFL players, Jerome stayed out of trouble, and remains active in the community even today. I think the issue may have to do with the type of player he was.
Jerome may be one of the last of the "big backs", in the model of 1992 Hall Inductee John Riggins. Not as agile as Walter Payton or Emmitt Smith, Bettis ran through defenders, not around them, living up to his nickname of "The Bus". The fact that, at least as a Steeler, he rarely caught the ball out of the backfield work may work against him, especially as he comes up against players that played more of their careers in the pass-oriented game that fans see today.
But it may only be a matter of time before the legions of fans of Notre Dame, where he played his college football, and Steeler Nation converge on Canton to watch "The Bus" make one last stop on a truly hall of fame career,