Welcome to this week’s edition of Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday. This week let’s take a look at 3 great running backs that exhibited talent, skill and toughness. To start things off let’s take a a ride on the bus … Former Stlouis Ram and Pittsburgh Steeler Jerome (The Bus) Bettis . Bettis career in the National Football League(NFL) ran from 1993-2005.
Bettis was picked in the first round (10th overall) of the 1993 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. On July 22, 1993, Bettis signed a three-year $4.625 million contract with a signing bonus in excess of $2 million. As a rookie he flourished under Chuck Knox‘s ground-oriented offense. He quickly earned the nickname “The Battering Ram” as he rushed for 1,429 yards (2nd in the NFL). Bettis also had an NFL best 79 rushing first downs, an NFL best 38 runs of 10 or more yards, and tied for the league lead with seven 100-yard rushing games despite not becoming the full-time starter until the 6th game of the season. Bettis was named a First-Team All-Pro and Consensus NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. He rushed for over 1,000 yards and was selected for the NFC’s Pro Bowl team in each of his first two seasons with the Rams.
The Rams moved to St. Louis for the 1995 season. New coach Rich Brooks instituted a more pass-oriented offense, a major reason why Bettis was limited to 637 yards, a significant dropoff from his 1993 and 1994 totals. Brooks asked Bettis to move to fullback for the upcoming 1996 season or if he preferred to be traded. Bettis stated he thought he could still help a NFL team with his running.
On April 20, 1996, he was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers with a 3rd round pick in the 1996 NFL Draft, in exchange for the Steeler’s second round pick and their fourth round pick in the 1997 NFL Draft.
In exchange for Bettis, the Rams drafted Ernie Conwell (2nd round of 1996 draft) and also received the Steelers 4th round pick in 1997. In 1997, the Rams had multiple trade deals including moving up to the number 1 draft slot to draft Orlando Pace. The Rams traded their fourth round pick from the Steeler’s, to the Dolphins along with two six round picks, in order to move up nine slots and draft offensive tackle Ryan Tucker. The Steelers drafted Steve Conley (3rd round of 1996 draft) with the draft selection they acquired from the Bettis trade with the Rams. Conley was traded to the Colts two seasons later for a 5th round pick. Clearly it looks like the Steelers got the better of the trade that bought Bettis to Pittsburgh and the coach (Rich Brooks)that thought Bettis was best served as a fullback? He was fired after the 1996 season.
So how did Bettis get the nickname “The Bus”?
Radio color commentator Myron Cope popularized the nickname The Bus after hearing a brother of a fellow Notre Dame alumni call Jerome “Bussy” in Green Bay.The nickname comes from his ability to carry multiple defenders on his back, like a bus ride, during his carries. It was during the Green Bay broadcast that Cope started using the nickname “The Bus.” Jerome credits the Notre Dame school newspaper with first using the nickname.
After winning the Superbowl Bettis announced “I played this game for a championship. I’m a champion, and I think the Bus’s last stop is here in Detroit.” Thus, Jerome Bettis officially announced his retirement standing on the champions’ podium, holding the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Smallthoughts :Old School Tuesday spotlights…Jerome (The Bus ) Bettis.
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|