Pro Football Hall of Fame 2013: Why this will be Jerome Bettis' year for induction

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

The Steelers' all-time rushing leader, Jerome Bettis, aims for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on his third ballot when the committee convenes to select the Class of 2013 in February.

Guess what? They're gonna put that media slut Michael Strahan in the Hall of Fame when the Class of 2013 is announced before the Super Bowl. Ditto Warren Sapp, as much as that annoys us.

They're also going to put in less media flashy but absolutely dominant LT Jonathan Ogden.

Maybe they'll let possession receiver (and typically incorrectly perceived) WR Cris Carter in.Call that the league's minimum of four selections. They would no longer be required to add any more.

They will, though, because Steelers RB Jerome Bettis is going to be inducted this year.

The best "big" back in league history (250-plus pounds), eight 1,000 yard seasons, 13,662 yards...Bettis was the key contributor to a dominant Steelers rushing game through the mid-90s to the mid-2000s.

And of the top 10 all time rushing yardage leaders (Bettis is sixth on that list), eight of them are not in the Hall of Fame - the other is LaDainian Tomlinson, who no doubt will be in the Hall of Fame, possibly on the first ballot.

Marshall Faulk, Curtis Martin and Jerome Bettis all became eligible in 2011. Faulk, rightly, grabbed the first ballot honors. Martin, also fairly, took the second. It was never a question if all three would get in, it was a question of when. Now that Bettis has cleared those other two Hall of Fame-worthy players at his position, it's his turn. Bettis retired the league's fifth all time rushing leader until Tomlinson surpassed him in his final year, but that doesn't in any way diminish his legacy or career.

Here are all the finalists for the Class of 2013:

Jerome Bettis -- Running Back -- 1993-95 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams; 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers

Larry Allen -- Guard/Tackle -- 1994-2005 Dallas Cowboys; 2006-07 San Francisco 49ers

Tim Brown -- Wide Receiver/Kick Returner/Punt Returner -- 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders; 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
• Cris Carter -- Wide Receiver -- 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles; 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings; 2002 Miami Dolphins
• Curley Culp* -- 1968-1974 Kansas City Chiefs; 1974-1980 Houston Oilers; 1980-81 Detroit Lions
• Edward DeBartolo, Jr. -- Owner -- 1977-2000 San Francisco 49ers
• Kevin Greene -- Linebacker/Defensive End -- 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams; 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers; 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers; 1997 San Francisco 49ers
• Charles Haley -- Defensive End/Linebacker -- 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers; 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys
• Art Modell -- Owner -- 1961-1995 Cleveland Browns; 1996-2011 Baltimore Ravens
• Jonathan Ogden -- Tackle -- 1996-2007 Baltimore Ravens
• Bill Parcells -- Coach -- 1983-1990 New York Giants; 1993-96 New England Patriots; 1997-99 New York Jets; 2003-06 Dallas Cowboys
• Andre Reed -- Wide Receiver -- 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills; 2000 Washington Redskins
• Dave Robinson* -- 1963-1972 Green Bay Packers; 1973-74 Washington Redskins
• Warren Sapp -- Defensive Tackle -- 1995-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 2004-07 Oakland Raiders
Will Shields -- Guard -- 1993-2006 Kansas City Chiefs
• Michael Strahan -- Defensive End -- 1993-2007 New York Giants
• Aeneas Williams -- Cornerback/Safety -- 1991-2000 Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals; 2001-04 St. Louis Rams

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