Jerome Bettis as a NFL Analyst? Yes, please.
As has been mentioned on this blog before, color commentators usually end up bringing little to the table during halftime shows, and even less during actual game time. So as Chris Mortensen from ESPN welcomed a couple of new analysts to the family yesterday on his Twitter account, I was more than happy to see that Jerome Bettis was one of them.
Why, you ask? Most football players that turn into sportscasters later in life usually end up there because of their notoriety off the field as opposed to what they do on the field. For instance, let’s look at Tony Siragusa and Warren Sapp. Both were defensive tackles in their career, and both racked up some amazing statistics. They did their jobs plugging holes in the line and sacking quarterbacks just fine. But do you remember them for those things, or the controversy they stirred?
Jerome Bettis, on the other hand, seemed to never be caught in much controversy at all. He put in his time as a halfback, climbed to sixth on the NFL rushing yard list, and ended his 13-year career with a Super Bowl win. After his time in the NFL, he has spent much of his time with his charity, The Bus Stops Here, to give football cleats to inner city kids who don’t have them. He also runs an annual Asthma and Sports Camp where he coaches children that have asthma since he personally has asthma. I think this is definitely his duty as a retired football player.
But even while playing, Siragusa and Sapp were able to do things less than honorable. We all remember Siragusa’s illegal hit to Rich Gannon in the 2000 AFC title game, Sapp’s ejections for unsportsmanlike conduct, and even Sapp’s known habit to skip in a ladylike fashion through other teams, for which Bettis shoved him on one occasion. Sapp also has been charged with domestic battery while on duty at Super Bowl XLIV, and declared bankruptcy due to his reckless spending. Siragusa however, has done a good deed by endorsing Depends for Men Guards.
So people like the “Goose” and Sapp keep getting contracts to do sideline reports while others should have a chance, but I feel that other person’s chance is finally here. Jerome “The Bus” Bettis hopefully brings a fresh pair of eyes to the ESPN analyst team, and I sure also hope that every comment ends with a simple phrase: “The Bus Stops Here”.