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  • 09/24/2010, 10:11AM ET

Jerome Bettis in top 10 all time of NFL Running Backs

no-brainer (0-2-0) vs ScottC1010 (15-9-1)
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I have to say that when the Steelers received Jerome Bettis from the Rams after a subpar season of only 637 yds, I thought the 4th rd pick they gave up might have been too much, especially since they also exhanged 2nd rd picks with the rams, moving down 13 slots. I had seen some potential in Bettis early in his career, but he seemed overrated and overpaid.

Fast forward to today and looking back, I have to say there has not been a more complete back since Marion Motley of the Cleveland Browns and (appropriately) the Steelers at the end of his career.

His ability to be a true every down, all situations back in the modern age of NFL football is astounding. Game breaking runs, short yard slams, flair and fly pass catching, blocking you name it, he could do it well. Late in his career, he was listed at 256 lbs, but he was every bit of 280 and could still make a LB miss and get to the 2nd level of the defense.

He is currently 5th all-time rushing and 11th all-time in rushing TD behind Franco Harris!

Jerome Bettis is in the top 10 all-time for NFL running backs!


I am in shock that you think he is a top 10 back of all time.

Here are some that i think are better all around backs than the BUS.

In no certain Order

Marshall Faulk-
Gale Sayers-
O.J. Simpson-
Emmitt Smith-
Barry Sanders-
Jim Brown-
Erick Dickerson-
Tony Dorsett-
LaDanian Tomlinson-
Marcus Allen-
Walter Payton-
Herschel Walker-

Every guy I mentioned was a more complete back than the BUS. Not only were they great at rushing they were great at catching the ball as well.

The Bus was good running back but he was i no way ever an all time top 10 running back

will list stats in my next argument for all of the stat lovers...


During Bettis' time with both the Steelers and Rams there were times when Bettis was handed the ball on almost every down and defenses gameplanned against him and he is still 5th overall rushing and 11th in rushind TDs. When you look back at the early days of pro football when people ran the ball and rarely threw it, the battles were always won in the trenches, Bettis allowed his team to play this brand of football and was extremely sucessful given that. You have to ask yourself, in the modern age of football, could you use all of the backs some think are better than Bettis as a battering ram if you had to when facing a tough defense? To me he really was a fullback but had the skill and vision to play the HB position and ended up being 5th all time as a halfback with a lineman's body. Stats are great, but only one part of the picture. While Bettis was with the Steelers, they were consistently a contender and a playoff team, even when they had huge question marks at QB and WR positions. He enabled the Steelers to win in the traditional Defense and Running game manner in a league by balanced offenses with passing attacks that made it easier to generate big plays.


So because he had the body of a fullback and could run means he should be top 10 all time??? So does that mean you think Mike Alstott should be top 10 as well. I mean he was built like a FB and ran peaople over.

In your 1st argument you said all around back and to me that means the back can not only rush well but also come out of the backfield and catch passes. Every guy I listed did both extremely well and as a collective did it better than Bettis.

"While Bettis was with the Steelers, they were consistently a contender and a playoff team"
And when Bettis won his title it was because of his defense.

Any of the guys I listed could play in any generation that has come in football.

So you say he is a top 10 all time back... Against the 12 guys i listed which 2 would you replace and add Bettis????


Sayers - 114th all time rushing, not in the ballpark TDs, no rings-adv Bettis, I know his career was cut short, Bettis' career wasn't (ifs and buts). In spite of Barry Sander's stats, did he help his team win? How many times did he kill a drive by getting stopped for negative yards? very entertaining, but he was feast or famine and there was never any continuity offensively. With all those yards he ran for they could never build around him. Bettis was RB production you could pencil in and add to in order to get you to the next level. Dickerson, ran like a deer...upright beautiful running style,6th behind Bettis in rushing yards, 12th behind Bettis and Franco for Rushing TDs, no championships, advantage Bettis. A lot of yards, but no rings. Curtis Marten 4th all-time rushing, 13th behind Bettis and Franco in rushing TDs, consistent, another guy that like Bettis, you could build around, but no rings, adv Bettis. Herschel Walker...big, physical straight ahead runner with crazy speed, no rings, 35th on the all-time rushing list, not even close in TDs, adv Bettis.

You have to be able to stop somebody to be champion, but did he or did he not score points for his team? YES


"Sayers - 114th all time rushing, not in the ballpark TDs, no rings-adv Bettis"

So because Bettis has more rings that makes him better??? That's about dumb. Team wins and losses don't have anything to do with individuals.

"How many times did he kill a drive by getting stopped for negative yards?"

Last time I checked Sanders averaged 5ypc to the Buses 3.9....

You wanna talk about complete baccks and then just mention rushing numbers, well what about receiving numbers?
Bettis had 200rec for 1,449yds and 94 total TD's (rush and catching)

so lets look at the few i mentioned
Faulk-767rec for 6875yds 136 total td's
Sayers-112rec for 1307yds 48 total td's
OJ-203rec for 2142yds 75 total td's
Smith-515rec for 3224yds 175 total td's
Sanders-352rec for 2921yds 109 total td's
Brown-262rec for 2499yds 126 total td's
Dickerson-281rec for 2137yds 96 total td's
Dorsett-398rec for 3554yds 90 total td's
Tomlinson-536rec for 3997yds 153 total td's
Allen-587rec for 5411yds 144 total td's
Payton-492rec for 4538yds 125 total td's

and for you to even consider the Bus on Barry's level is blasphemy... You sir should never be allowed to comment on football again......

September 24, 2010  10:20 AM ET

top 10 all time? no at least not in my opinion
a future hall of famer? yes at least in my opinion he should be


I am a fan of Bettis so Im looking forward to seeing what arguments you make for him

September 24, 2010  10:22 AM ET

In no order:

Barry Sanders
Jim Brown
Walter Payton
Emmitt Smith
Earl Campbell
Gale Sayers
Curtis Martin
O.J. Simpson
Eric Dickerson
Marcus Allen

September 24, 2010  10:23 AM ET
QUOTE(#2):

top 10 all time? no at least not in my opiniona future hall of famer? yes at least in my opinion he should beI am a fan of Bettis so Im looking forward to seeing what arguments you make for him

agreed

September 24, 2010  10:27 AM ET

I can't believe he actually thinks Bettis is top 10 all time........

September 24, 2010  10:38 AM ET

No way in hell

September 24, 2010  10:41 AM ET
QUOTE(#5):

I can't believe he actually thinks Bettis is top 10 all time........

that's putting it nicely

September 24, 2010  10:41 AM ET

Jerome Bettis was the same type of RB as John Riggins.

September 24, 2010  10:58 AM ET

Tough sell on Bettis. Top running backs {especially of all time} need to have everything. Bettis had NO speed.

September 24, 2010  10:58 AM ET
QUOTE(#3):

In no order:Barry SandersJim BrownWalter PaytonEmmitt SmithEarl CampbellGale SayersCurtis MartinO.J. SimpsonEric DickersonMarcus Allen

All this is objective, I say he was better than some of these on this list. Everybody likes a "fancy" RB that can be in highlight reels and on sportcenter. I happen to regard a back who can punish a defense, help a team control a game with time of possession and consistent production AND make the occasional highlight reel higher. Statistically he is up there and while I like what Sanders and Sayers were able to do, if I were starting a team and could choose any back from any era in his prime, my list would be a little different than this one.

"The incomparable" Jim Brown
O.J. Simpson
Walter Payton
Earl Campbell
Emmitt Smith
Jerome Bettis
Marcus Allen
Tony Dorsett
Eric Dickerson
Barry Sanders

Statistics aren't everything, but they also count.

September 24, 2010  11:01 AM ET

He was a good RB, but not top ten all time.

September 24, 2010  11:02 AM ET
QUOTE(#3):

In no order:Barry SandersJim BrownWalter PaytonEmmitt SmithEarl CampbellGale SayersCurtis MartinO.J. SimpsonEric DickersonMarcus Allen

How did Herschel Walker not make your list????

September 24, 2010  11:03 AM ET

How many of these backs other than Bettis could run a downfield pass pattern and get an almost guaranteed 4th and 1 in critical times? He was a classic 'in the trenches' back who could also run like a fancy new age back. It is the combination of his all around skills that were all well above average that to me puts him above some on the list and he could be in the game for every down, not just in certain situations.

September 24, 2010  11:03 AM ET
QUOTE(#11):

He was a good RB, but not top ten all time.

well....let'shold off judgement and see what his arguments are.

September 24, 2010  11:06 AM ET
QUOTE(#12):

How did Herschel Walker not make your list????

He was a physical specimen no doubt and 35th all time rushing, but again, this is objective and stats did factor in where he was concerned. I happen to think that Emmit Smith was a better back hands down than Walker, but Herschel was big and fast.

September 24, 2010  11:17 AM ET
QUOTE(#2):

top 10 all time? no at least not in my opiniona future hall of famer? yes at least in my opinion he should beI am a fan of Bettis so Im looking forward to seeing what arguments you make for him

Agreed. I like Bettis a lot, but he's not Top 10.

September 24, 2010  11:17 AM ET
QUOTE(#9):

Tough sell on Bettis. Top running backs {especially of all time} need to have everything. Bettis had NO speed.

??? He was as fast as most HBs and as big as most FBs. He was faster than the LBs and had many game breaking runs.

Ultimately, there are 6 or 7 backs who are unquestioned at the top all-time and after that about 12-18 more who can be argued for one reason or the other. Bettis was one of the best since he could do everything they all did. He was a big back, but elusive. He had great vision and could juke a defender or just plow him over. He could catch, really catch and he could block. He was the primary option for the Rams for the first two years of his career and then for the steelers from 1996 - 2004 and even in '05 and '06, he could contribute to the overall success, playing a significant role in the running game after all the miles and contact he had on his body. There is a reason they called him the bus, he carried the whole team.

September 24, 2010  11:24 AM ET
QUOTE:

I can't believe this dude has Curtis Martin in his top 10 and not Marion Motley or Ladanian Tomlinson.

you answered your own question in comment 15

September 24, 2010  11:25 AM ET
QUOTE:

Curtis Martin was a model of consistency but definatley not an all-time top 10

10 straight 1000+ yards seasons is not worthy of Top 10?

September 24, 2010  11:28 AM ET

Curtis Martin is #4 all time in rushing, did it in just ten years. I think he's in there. Just as in a single game, for his career he was so consistent you just didn't realize how quickly his numbers were adding up.

 
September 24, 2010  11:30 AM ET
QUOTE(#21):

10 straight 1000+ yards seasons is not worthy of Top 10?

His 4.0 yards per rush hurts his argument....just like Bettis' 3.9 y/r hurts his argument.

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