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mesaSteeler
02-05-2011, 07:02 AM
Bettis, Dawson wait for Hall call today

By John Harris
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, February 5, 2011

DALLAS Former Steelers standout running back Jerome Bettis can play. He rushed for 13,662 yards and 91 touchdowns in 13 seasons.

All-purpose threat Marshall Faulk can play. He rushed for 12,279 yards, caught 767 passes for nearly 7,000 yards and totaled 136 touchdowns in 12 seasons.

So can Pittsburgh native Curtis Martin, who rushed for 14,101 yards and 90 touchdowns in his illustrious 11-year career.

Bettis, Faulk and Martin are three of the greatest running backs in NFL history. All three have Pro Football Hall of Fame credentials. But all three likely won't be first-ballot inductees when members of the Class of 2011 are announced today. Since 2000, there has never been a year when more than one running back was voted in.

"I can't control the outcome," said Bettis, a first-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Rams who played most of his career with the Steelers. "I hope I get the nod. Unfortunately I don't control it. Because you can't control it, you can only hope that it happens. If it doesn't happen, then I understand that it didn't happen because I wasn't deserving. It happened because there are other players who deserve it as well."

So what factors will determine the makeup of this year's class that also includes cornerback Deion Sanders; former Steelers center Dermontti Dawson, a finalist for the second year in a row; and a trio of candidates at receiver (Tim Brown, Cris Carter and Andre Reed) and defensive end (Richard Dent, Chris Doleman and Charles Haley)?

Sanders, who redefined the cornerback position with his speed and panache, appears to be a lock in his first year of eligibility. But he might be the only one.

"The ultimate definition of a Hall of Famer? If you can just say his name and there's no argument, no question, then you know that's a Hall of Famer,'' said veteran USA Today reporter Jarrett Bell, a Hall of Fame voter for 15 years. "We've had guys like that. Joe Montana. Ronnie Lott. Bruce Smith. There's no question about them. I don't think Bettis is going to walk in like that. It's going to be tough for him to get in on the first ballot.

"Bettis is a special guy, but is he Deion Sanders? In this class, who's the guy you look at and say that's a definite Hall of Famer?''

Bell said Bettis should be a lock for the Hall of Fame, but that he may have to wait his turn.

"The fact that Bettis made it to the 15 finalists on his first ballot is wonderful,'' Bell said. "Roger Craig was a finalist last year who won three Super Bowls with the 49ers. He and Bettis are different types of players, different systems. I think Craig deserves further consideration. Well, Roger Craig is not a finalist this year. Last year, he became a finalist for the first time. It took about eight, nine years for him to get to that point. Bettis is on that path. It's probably going to happen.''

Tony Dorsett entered the Hall of Fame in 1994, one year after Bettis was drafted. He said a player's position shouldn't be a deterrent if he has impeccable credentials.

To Dorsett, all three running backs are worthy.

"I'm prejudiced; it should just be a running back class this year,'' said Dorsett, who rushed for 12,739 yards and 77 touchdowns in 11 seasons. "You've got some guys who made quite a name for themselves over a period of time. In my opinion, those guys should all be in.''

Since 2000, four running backs have been voted it Emmitt Smith in 2010, Thurman Thomas in 2007, Barry Sanders in 2004 and Marcus Allen in 2003.

"It wouldn't be a slight or anything like that,'' said Bettis, who rushed for 100 yards or more in a game 61 times during his career. "It is the Hall of Fame, and it is open only to a select number of players. I look at it as hopefully they will call my number, and if they don't it won't be the end of the world.''

According to Hall of Famer Howie Long, a star defensive end with the Raiders, "It's tough to get through that (selection) room. Not sure how you revamp it. It's a game of musical chairs, and there's only five seats, so it's hard.''

About 90 percent of the 15 finalists each year eventually make it to the Hall of Fame, Bell said.

That includes Steelers greats Lynn Swann and John Stallworth, who weren't first-ballot inductees and had to wait years to be enshrined.

"I think it will be easier for Bettis than it was for Swann or Stallworth,'' Bell said. "They had a different dynamic because there were so many Steelers. How many Steelers are we going to put in?''

Bettis and Dawson are the only Steelers on this year's ballot.

"It will probably happen eventually for Dermontti,'' Bell said. "I think it can happen because Dermontti's been in the (selection) room before.''

John Harris can be reached at jharris@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.



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LVSteelersfan
02-05-2011, 09:46 PM
I knew they would snub Dawson and Bettis. Their annual excuse of "there are too many Steelers in the Hall of Fame" wins again. Even though what it really means is that they are jealous of the Steeler's success. What the HELL is Ed Sabol getting elected in front of a player for? They need a separate category for coaches, broadcasters and the like. And of course that troll Faulk made it in on the first ballot. It is easy when you play in a Mike Martz offense that puts up huge numbers in the passing game. Bettis was much more impressive with more rushing yards and his pound the rock for first downs at all cost mentality. But, as usual, the Steelers players not from the 70s get no respect. I predicted it would take Bettis 5-10 years to get in if he ever does.

wyn50
02-06-2011, 12:51 AM
Totally agree that steelers get little respect. They have to wait so long to get in the hall. Bettis was kind of in a class by himself. He took on so much workload and lasted so long in the league. The punishment he took and gave was so awesome. Hopefully he can get in sooner rather later, but don't count on it.