For the fourth straight year, former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome ‘The Bus’ Bettis was denied a place in Canton when the league announced the new class during the NFL Awards show on Saturday night. Bettis was the only running back on the 15 man modern day finalist. In past years, Bettis faced some fairly stiff competition in the finals, but this year seemed like ‘his year.’ Seemed like numerous people were coming out of the woodwork in order to vet for the former running back – former head coach Bill Cowher and team president Rooney, Jr. The most prolific running back of his size and stature, a man who knew all to well the ease of breaking into the end zone, still could not break into the final class of inductees. And it’s becoming a joke. A sad sad joke.
Bettis’ passing for the fourth straight year is bad enough. But, you also have to look at what else transpired this year in the HOF voting. Kevin Greene, a former Ram and Steeler linebacker, was passed up. Yet Michael Strahan was voted in to this year’s class. Greene had more sacks than Strahan and applied pressure on the offense at a much higher level than Strahan did. Strahan had a better supporting cast during his time whereas Greene was double teamed constantly – yet still compiled the stats he did.
Andre Reed over Tim Brown? Are you kidding me? Certainly Reed is overdue, but to put Reed in ahead of Brown is just ridiculous. Brown was a force on that Raider offense. In fact he was the only force. Teams would game plan around Brown, yet he still racked up all those yards and TD’s over the majority of his career. Sharpe, Rice, Cris Carter – they all had huge supporting casts to achieve what they did. Brown pretty much did it on his own.
Much like the MLB system, the NFL system is severely flawed with the use of these sportswriters. It’s becoming a popularity contest around the NFL. Strahan, Sapp, Sanders – all popular talking heads on the various NFL networks. All in the NFL. Maybe Bettis needs to become a talking head on the NFL network or on CBS instead of running his restaurant in order to get in….
Let me just lay some things out if you have doubts about Bettis being ‘qualified’ for HOF greatness: A Super Bowl ring, NFL Rookie of the Year, NFL Comeback Player of the Year, retire 5th all time in yards, are still 6th all time in yards, 6 Pro Bowls, 2 All Pro teams, Team MVP 3 times, out rush at least 4 HOF running backs who also played their entire careers in a 16 game season, the only eligible RB left in the all time top 10 rushing leaders who is NOT in the HOF. If the NFL and the writers get their heads out of their butts, then Jerome Bettis will have to wait as long as Ray Guy to get into the Hall of Fame. Which is just a damn shame.