Jerome “The Bus” Bettis is considered one of the best running backs in NFL history. He is Fifth on the National Football League’s all-time rushing list. In 1993, he was selected in the first round of the NFL draft as the 10th overall pick by the Los Angeles Rams. Bettis had a successful rookie season by winning co-rookie of the year, Rams MVP, and the Sporting News Rookie of the Year.
NFL career started in 1993 when he was drafted by the Los Angles Rams in the first round, tenth player picked overall in the Draft. As a player for the Rams Jerome’s first year in the NFL proved to be a monumental one. He finished second in the league in rushing yards, was named The National Football League’s “Rookie of the year” and earned the Rams M.V.P. Award, Jerome finished the season with the seventh best rookie rushing total in league history and fourth highest single season rushing total in Rams history.
In 1996 in what has been called the “Trade of the Decade” Bettis’ was traded on a Draft day trade to the Pittsburgh Steelers, for two Second Round Draft picks. The first time up against the Rams he rushed for 220 yards. Mr. Bettis was named Steelers MVP in 1996 & 1997. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2001, and 2005.
In 1997, Jerome Bettis Enterprises (J.B.E) was established. J.B.E is a full-service sports marketing firm, which Jerome used to introduce his own line of apparel, manage his endorsements and produced his website, www.thebus36.com. Bettis has been involved in a plethora of marketing campaigns including Nike, Ford, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Sprint. He has a partnership with Pittsburgh’s Children Hospital, they have teamed up to start an Asthma awareness camp for children that focuses on Asthma education an awareness. Jerome also founded The “Bus Stops Here” Foundation, a not-for-profit organization. He has established a scholarship program for seniors graduating from his former high school, McKenzie High, and he hosts the legendary Reggie McKenzie Football camp every summer, where he was formally a camper.
Bettis was among the NFL’s elite running backs playing for 13 seasons, topped 1,000 yards rushing eight times becoming only the 12th runner to compile more than 10,000 rushing yards…and ended his career as the Fifth all-time leading rusher with 13,662 yards, and has been a finalist on the Pro Football Hall of Fame list over the last three years. Bettis was not only a successful on the field, but he was very inspiring off the field as well. Although hampered by an injury and a reduced role in the offense, Jerome continued to be a strong force in the locker room and on the sideline. He provided guidance to the younger players and helped lead the Steelers to an AFC Central Division Championship. His popularity never diminished, even after missing almost a third of the season Jerome was the 2nd leading vote getter for the AFC’s Pro Bowl team. The Bus also continued his campaign for community involvement with continued support of various programs and endless work by his Foundation. He was acknowledged by the league for his work and named “2001 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year”.
After the Steelers’ defeat in the 2004 AFC Championship Game on January 23, 2005, Bettis announced that he was considering retirement, but would not make a final decision for several months to prevent the sting of the defeat from clouding his judgment. Later, Bettis agreed to stay with the Steelers for another season. He stated he would love to play in the Super Bowl in 2006, since it will be played in his hometown of Detroit. His dream came true as the Steelers defeated the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL (40) by a score of 21 to 10. This was the Bus’s last game. When asked by Mike Tirico of ABC sports if it was over Jerome said “It’s been an incredible ride and there’s always a time when you have to call it quits,” Bettis said. “I played this game to win a championship. I’m a champion and I think the Bus…the Bus’s last stop is here in Detroit.”