Jerome Bettis was turned away at the goalline the past two years when it comes to induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Look for the former Steelers bruising tailback to finally hit pay dirt when the 2013 class in announced Feb. 2 — the day before the Super Bowl — in New Orleans as Bettis and linebacker Kevin Greene were among 15 finalist announced Friday.
After being a finalist his first two years of eligibility, Bettis will likely be elected this time because a lack of competition at the position this year. There are no other running backs among the 15 finalists.
In his first two years of eligibility, Bettis had been blocked by other running backs. Marshall Faulk got elected in 2011 and Curtis Martin last year.
Bettis is the sixth all-time leading rusher in the NFL with 13,662 yards, which is a good indicator that he will be elected this year.
Of the top 16 all-time leading rushers in NFL history, Bettis is the only Hall of Fame eligible back who has yet to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Bettis is definitely worthy of being the 23rd Pittsburgh Steeler inducted into the Hall of Fame, and he will get in.
The other modern-era finalists announced Friday include Cowboys offensive lineman Larry Allen, Raiders wide receiver Tim Brown, Vikings-Eagles wide receiver Cris Carter, former 49ers owner Edward J. DeBartolo Jr., 49ers and Cowboys linebacker Charles Haley, former Browns and Ravens owner Art Modell and Ravens tackle Jonathan Ogden.
The other finalists are former coach Bill Parcells, Bills wide receiver Andre Reed, Bucs and Raiders defensive tackle Warren Sapp, Chiefs guard Will Shields, Giants defensive end Michael Strahan and Cardinals and Rams defensive back Aeneas Williams.
The two seniors committee finalists are former Chiefs and Oilers defensive tackle Curley Culp and Packers and Redskins linebacker Dave Robinson. The selection committee will weigh the merits of both candidates and can choose to enshrine either, both or neither.