Jerome Bettis to receive Dapper Dan Lifetime Achievement Award

Story courtesy of 247Sports

Jerome Bettis has earned a slew of awards and accolades in the 13 years since he walked off the Super Bowl podium as a world champion. Bettis was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015, the Steelers' inaugural Hall of Honor class in 2017 and the Allstate Sugar Bowl Hall of Fame earlier this year. Bettis is about to receive another honor: the Dapper Dan Lifetime Achievement Award. Bettis will receive the award Feb. 20 at the 83rd annual Dapper Dan Dinner and Sports Auction at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. 

Bettis, the Dapper Dan 2006 Sportsman of the Year, is one of the most beloved Steelers in franchise history. A bruising, punishing running back, Bettis came to the Steelers via trade during the 1995 offseason. After gettin run out of town in St. Louis, Bettis' career was resurrected in Pittsburgh, rushing for 1,431 yards and 11 during his first season with the Steelers while earning his third of six career Pro Bowl selections. Bettis would rush for 1,665 yards the following season while helping the Steelers advance to the AFC Championship Game. 

Pittsburgh's loss to Denver in the AFC title game stuck with Bettis throughout the 1997 offseason. It was at that point that Bettis knew that he could not retire without knowing the feeling of hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy as a Super Bowl champion. That drive to become a champion helped him endure the losing seasons that were to come in 1998 and 1999, as the Steelers bottomed out with a 6-10 record in '99.

In 2000, after starting the year with an 0-3 record, Bettis helped the Steelers win nine out of their final 13 games while showing flashes of what was to come in 2001. That season, Pittsburgh won 13 games -- it's highest single season total since 1978 -- while making it back to the AFC title game. But another AFC Championship Game loss -- this time to the New England Patriots -- was yet another road block on Bettis' path to a world championship. 

Two more non Super Bowl winning seasons passes before a rookie named Ben Roethlisbergerhelped Bettis get another crack at a championship. Near the end of the team's loss to the Patriots in the 2004 AFC Championship Game, Big Ben promised Bettis that, if he came back for a 13th NFL season, he would get him a Super Bowl ring. After contemplating retirement, Bettis returned for the 2005 season, a decision that was rewarded with a Super Bowl ring by season's end. After a 7-5 start, Bettis' final 100-yard game in a Week 14 victory over the Bears helped spearhead an eight-game winning streak that ended with the Steelers defeating the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL. 

“Winning that ring for this great city will be something I’ll never forget,” Bettis recently told Nubyjas Wilborn of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I can’t think of a better way to end my career. I’m so thankful for that organization and its fans. They embraced me.”