The Bus made his final stop last night. Jerome Bettis was the clear headliner at a ceremony that honored stars of NFL past like Tim Brown, Junior Seau, Charles Haley, Bill Polian, and others. “We’ve gotta get one thing understood tonight,” Bettis said to an audience dominated by Steelers fans, “we’re in Canton, Ohio, but this is Steelers Country.” He wasn’t kidding. The audience looked like a Steelers 1:00 home game.
Bettis exemplified humility and class as he told the story of his journey from meager beginnings in Detroit to Hall of Fame inductee. He thanked several people, and said heartfelt thanks to his family.
What came as a surprise, to me at least, was his thanking Ben Roethlisberger for “the tackle”. “Brother, without you saving that tackle, I still might be on the doorsteps, brother,” Bettis said as the camera closed in on a laughing Roethlisberger. “I owe you for life.”
His public speaking prowess was on full display as he spoke to the sea of spectators at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I got goosebumps when he started a chant of “Here we go Steelers” and looked for my towel when he led the first of a couple Terrible Towel waves. Here’s his speech in its entirety.