Despite becoming a Pro Football Hall of Famer, former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis still reflects on some of the bittersweet moments of his NFL playing career. One of these moments includes the 2001 campaign, a season that marked his ninth in the NFL and his sixth as a member of the heralded Steelers.
Even though Bettis remained in line to take home the league’s MVP award during the early portion of that season, a season-ending injury in Week 11 of the 2001 campaign promptly halted such a dream.
“I was playing at my highest level,” Bettis recently said of that memorable yet forgettable 2001 season, via 247 Sports. “That was the moment when everything was clicking and the game had become really easy.”
Bettis also told 247 Sports that the 2001 season was “the best individual year of his career” even though it was an injury-shortened effort.
Through the first 10 games of the 2001 regular season, “The Bus” led the NFL in rushing yards and could have become the first player in franchise history to accomplish such a feat since “Bullet” Bill Dudley did so all the way back in 1946. Not only that, but Bettis was also on pace to become the first Steelers player to win the league’s MVP award since quarterback Terry Bradshaw did so in 1978.
Although nobody really knows what would have actually happened had Bettis completed that 2001 campaign, “The Bus” still went on to reach Canton, Ohio and the Pro Football Hall of Fame — and rightfully so.