Jerome Bettis Biography

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Birth Name: Jerome Bettis

Whether chatting about football for television or extolling the virtues of his casual eating restaurant in his home town, football great Jerome Bettis was always comfortable in the spotlight. But it wasn't always this way. As a kid Jerome would rather be throwing a bowling ball down a lane than talking sports. But his skill running with a pigskin would prove to one day bring him to the heights of football, the Super Bowl, while his amiable familiarity in front of the camera made him a sought-after commentator once his playing days were through.

Born in Detroit in 1972, Jerome wasn't actually interested in football until later in high school. His passion when a youth was actually bowling. But that would change when he had a chance to play for Mackenzie High School. His running ability got the attention of Notre Dame, where he excelled. In fact, he set the Notre Dame record for touchdowns, 20 in one season. By the time he was ready to be done with Notre Dame the NFL came knocking. No one was surprised to find Jerome Bettis among the first round of draft picks. He signed a three year contract with the Los Angeles Rams in 1993 and stayed with them when they moved to St. Louis during the 1995 season. The first year with them he was named Offensive Rookie of the Year. However changes in coaches and game philosophy from Chuck Knox's ground-oriented defense to Rich Brooks' pass-centric ideas limited Bettis's game and he found himself traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1996. It turned out to be a smart choice as the Steelers needed a running back and Bettis had some of his best records for yards rushed during his early years with the Steelers. Injuries sidelined him in 2001 and 2002 but he had a comeback year in 2003. The following year saw disappointment as the Steelers lost out on a chance for the Super Bowl to the New England Patriots. Bettis had now been playing pro for ten years and felt ready to call it quits. But fellow Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger vowed that if he stayed they would make the Super Bowl next year. It was to be played in Detroit, Jerome's hometown. It was enough, he would stay and in turn the Steelers won Super Bowl XL in 2006. Upon retirement Bettis turned his hand to television. Jerome had done his fair share of appearances on such shows as "The NFL on CBS" (CBS 1956- ) and "The David Letterman Show"(CBS 1993- ) and was comfortable in front of the camera. He started as an analyst for "NBC Sunday Night Football" (NBC 2006- ), including during the Super Bowl in 2009. In 2010 he became a regular guest and commentator on the sports commentary show "Mike and Mike" (ESPN 2005- ).