Fantasy Flashback: Jerome Bettis (1997)

Fantasy Flashback is a weekly article that highlights some of the greatest individual seasons, from a fantasy football and NFL perspective.

Last week I highlighted Randy Moss‘ 2007 season with the New England Patriots.

Fantasy Flashback: Randy Moss (2007)

Today I will highlight Jerome Bettis‘ 1997 season with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Background

At the age of 25, Bettis found himself on his second team of his career.

Although he won the Rookie of the Year in 1993, the St. Louis Rams wanted to move on. The Steelers heard this and jumped on the opportunity to acquire Bettis in 1996.

In 1996, Jerome had a remarkable first season with the Steelers. He ran for 1,431 yards and 11 touchdowns. Both were career-highs at the time.

The Pittsburgh organization, and their fans, quickly fell in love with his power running style.

Jerome Bettis aka “The Bus” finally found a home here in Pittsburgh.

Stats

In 1997, Bettis would continue his success, running for a career-high 1,665 yards. He also recorded a total of 9 touchdowns while only playing 15 games.

He helped the Pittsburgh Steelers finish with the most team rushing yards (2,479).

At the start of the season, Bettis was ranked 16th among all fantasy football players. Bettis would surpass his expectations by recording a total of 232 fantasy points, averaging 15.5 per game.

He finished the season as the 4th best fantasy season.

In Week 14 of the 1997 season Bettis had one of the greatest games of his career. Against the Arizona Cardinals, Bettis carried the ball 36 times for 149 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns. He also added 2 catches for 19 yards. He finished the day with 34 fantasy points, a weekly high.

In 1997, Jerome Bettis led the league with 375 rushes and it was his only season where he finished with more than 100 yards rushing per game (111.0).

He was a Pro Bowler and apart of the 1997 Second-team All-Pro.

Impact

In every year from 1996 to 2001, Bettis had over 1,000 yards rushing. His 2001 season was his last with over 1,000 yards rushing, but his presence on the field would not stop: from 2002 to 2005 he recorded 38 rushing touchdowns. 42% of his touchdowns came in the last four years of his career.

Jerome Bettis is responsible for 2 of the top 4 single season rushing yard records for the Pittsburgh Steelers. (1996, 1997)

In his very last season he helped lead the Steelers to their 5th Super Bowl title.

Jerome Bettis’s impact on the Steelers is like none other. I’d say he carried the Steelers, and the city, out of a 20-year Super Bowl drought. Yes, many would say the defense won of the Super Bowl in 2005, but Bettis was the man that helped build the team. He was with the team through the good, and the bad.

The “Bus” is one of my favorite players of all-time, and arguably a top 5 running back in NFL history.

 

Comparison

I would compare Jerome Bettis most to Packers running back, Eddie Lacy.

This isn’t just because Eddie Lacy and Jerome Bettis are both 5’11 230+, but this does help my comparison.

Eddie Lacy has a very similar rushing style. Like Bettis, Lacy can run right through you then come back the next play and juke pass you.

Both running backs have very quick feet for large men.

Throughout Jerome Bettis’s career he would impress fans with his ability to stay on his feet. Eddie Lacy also has that ability as you can see below.

Image result for eddie lacy juke gif

Lastly, both running backs won the Offensive Rookie of the Year.

 

Comment below who’s season I should highlight next week. Thanks!

2 responses to “Fantasy Flashback: Jerome Bettis (1997)”

  1. James says:

    Do a Fred Taylor one please.

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