PITTSBURGH - From touchdowns, to fumbles -- sighs of relief, tears of joy, and everything in-between. It’s been one incredible ride for No. 36.
Let's take a look at some of the best moments of Jerome's Hall of Fame career
No. 11 -- Dec. 12, 1993
The only 200-yard rushing game of Jerome’s career came during his rookie season.
The Bus ran the ball 28 times for 212 yards as the Rams beat the New Orleans Saints 23-20.
No. 10 -- Jan. 15, 2004
Jerome rushed for 674 yards in 14 playoff games over his 13-year career. His third and final 100-yard game in the postseason came in the 2004 Divisional Round at home against the New York Jets.
Bettis tallied 101 yards on 27 carries, including a 3-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
The Steelers needed a fourth quarter touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to Hines Ward to force overtime. The Black & Gold won the game in OT on a 33-yard field goal from Jeff Reed.
No. 9 -- Oct. 21, 2001
In a game the Steelers would win 17-10, Bettis was involved in both Pittsburgh touchdowns.
Jerome ran for 143 yards on just 17 carries, including a 46-yard touchdown run. But it was a play The Bus made in the 2nd quarter that SteelerNation remembers.
Bettis threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Jerame Tuman -- one of three career passing TDs for The Bus.
No. 8 -- Nov. 3, 1996
Jerome came to Pittsburgh via trade on April 20, 1996. Several months later, Bettis played against the team that drafted him for the first time.
The Steelers blew out the Rams 42-6 behind 2 Bettis touchdowns and 129 yards on just 19 carries.
No. 7 -- Sept. 12, 2004
The Steelers opened the 2004 season at home against the Oakland Raiders. While 2004 will be remembered as the beginning of Big Ben, Week 1 belonged to Jerome.
It was a true “Bus” performance, as Jerome ran just five times for 1 yard. However, he punched it in from the 1-yard line three times. The three TDs were the first of what would be a career high 13 for Jerome.
No. 6 -- Nov. 30, 1997
Jerome Bettis filled the stat sheet plenty of times throughout his Pittsburgh Steelers career. But perhaps his best statistical game came during a 26-20 overtime victory against the Arizona Cardinals.
Bettis ran the ball 36 times for 142 yards and three touchdowns, the last one coming in overtime from 10 yards out.
No. 5 -- Jan. 26, 2006
Needing just one more victory to reach Super Bowl XL, Jerome Bettis delivered an emotional speech to his team the day before the AFC Championship game. The Bus said to his teammates to “Just get me to Detroit.”
The Steelers responded and routed Denver 34-17. Bettis finished with 39 yards on 15 carries and one touchdown. The TD would end up being the last of Jerome’s Hall of Fame career.
After the game, cameras captured Jerome shouting to his parents in the stands, "We're going home!"
No. 4 -- Jan. 1, 2006
If the Steelers were going to make the playoffs in the 2005 season, it would be as the 6-seed. Meaning Week 17 would be Jerome’s final home game of his storied Pittsburgh Steelers career.
“If it is the last one, it’s been a hell of a ride,” Bettis said before the game.
Needing a victory to make the postseason, the Steelers beat the Lions 35-21 in front of a raucous Heinz Field crowd. Bettis finished the game with 41 yards on 10 carries and three touchdowns.
It was an emotional moment for The Bus afterwards as he walked off Heinz Field holding his black and gold helmet high, knowing he had played his last game in Pittsburgh.
No. 3 -- Jan. 15, 2006
The Steelers were a heavy underdog heading into their Divisional Playoff game with the Indianapolis Colts.
The Steelers came out hot and took a 14-0 lead in the 1st quarter, stunning the RCA Dome crowd.
A Jerome Bettis 1-yard touchdown early in the 3rd quarter gave the Steelers a 21-3 lead. However, Peyton Manning and a few questionable calls from officials (Troy Polamalu’s INT?!?!) allowed the Colts to cut the lead to 21-18 late in the game.
After a huge stop by the defense, the Steelers took over on the Colts 2-yardline with just 1:20 to go in the game.
The Steelers seemed bound for Denver with the sure-handed Bettis running onto the field -- The Bus hadn’t fumbled once all season.
But the game isn’t over until the clock reads zeros. And sure enough, on the first play, Jerome tried to back his way into the endzone, but Colts linebacker Gary Brackett forced a fumble.
Nick Harper picked up the ball and ran toward the endzone. A touchdown by the Colts would have all but ended Jerome’s career.
Ben Roethlisberger, back peddling and spinning around, somehow tripped Harper up and the Colts offense came onto the field.
One of the game’s best kickers of all-time, Mike Vanderjagt, eventually would miss a game-tying field goal and the Steelers advanced.
It could have been a disaster, but Bettis breathed a heavy sigh of relief, and the team moved onto Denver.
No. 2 -- Dec. 11, 2005
Jerome’s brilliant career is full of images that can bring a smile to any Steelers fan’s face.
But perhaps one of the most famous Bettis photos depicts “Steeler Football” perfectly.
It was cold. It was snowing. And The Bus was wearing snow tires.
Jerome ran through one of the game’s most physical linebackers in Chicago’s Brian Urlacher en route to a 5-yard touchdown.
Bettis finished the game with 101 yards on just 17 carries and two touchdowns. And more importantly, the Steelers kept their slim playoff hopes alive.
No. 1 -- February 5, 2006
In terms of fairytale endings, Jerome’s Hall of Fame career really couldn’t have come to a better ending than winning the Super Bowl in his hometown of Detroit.
In the two weeks leading up to Super Bowl XL, the Steelers, the NFL and the city of Detroit made sure Jerome would soak it all up.
Bettis hosted his teammates at his parent’s house for dinner, hosted a charity bowling event and even received a key to the city.
Prior to kickoff, Jerome Bettis led the Steelers onto the field at Ford Field in front of what looked like a home crowd of Steelers fans.
Linebacker Joey Porter held the rest of the team back for several seconds to allow Bettis an opportunity to take it all in.
“That was amazing,” Bettis said. “They gave me a moment I’ll never forget.”
Bettis would end up with 43 yards on 14 carries. Although he didn’t find the endzone, the Steelers did three times en route to a 21-10 victory.
Hines Ward was named Super Bowl MVP, but it was Bettis who stole the show after the game.
“I played this game to win a championship, and I’m a champion,” Bettis said as he announced his retirement while holding the Lombardi Trophy. “I think The Bus’ last stop is here in Detroit.”
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