Jerome Bettis, perhaps better known as "The Bus," was a six-time Pro Bowl running back, three-time All Pro selection and Super Bowl XL champion during his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He retired in 2006 as the NFL's sixth leading rusher all-time, a distinction he still holds today, and he was recently named a Hall of Fame semifinalist.
The Huffington Post caught up with Bettis to discuss the plight of RG3, Ben Roethlisberger and his alma mater, Notre Dame.
This has been a breakthrough season for the Irish. What do you expect in the national title game against Alabama.
I anticipate a very, very physical football game. I hope that [Notre Dame] can score some points. I think the defense will come to play a pretty stout game, but it's going to be up to the offense.
What about freshman quarterback Everett Golson? What is the one thing he has to do?
The most important thing for him is no turnovers. Just don't turn the football over. If you give Alabama an opportunity with a short field, they're going to take advantage of it. If he does that, they have a great chance of winning.
How about your other former team, the Steelers?
The key for the Steelers is health. If they can get healthy, then the sky is the limit. The question mark is, how healthy are they? We'll see if Ben can come back. We know Ike Taylor is going to be out for a couple weeks, and they have some issues on the offensive line. If they can get healthy, they're as good as anybody in the NFL.
Let's talk running backs, because there are just so many good ones right now. Who are the two or three guys that really stand out to you?
Adrian Peterson is the guy head and shoulders above everyone else. I mean he is the stud among studs. He just came off an ACL injury, and he's showing that he's still the best in the game. He's doing things you'd think are humanly impossible after having that type of surgery on his knee. He's proven everybody wrong and I'm his biggest fan right now.
Is there a particular runner out there who reminds you of you? Maybe the Steelers' Jonathan Dwyer?
You know, I try to look at guys. Some guys are kind of in between. I would say if anybody that's even close -- I mean a lot of people try to compare Michael Turner. He's similar, but you still have a big guy like Steven Jackson. But he's a lot faster than I was.
You had great feet, though.
Yeah, but those guys aren't as big. There's really nobody right now. I think if Dwyer can continue on, he could do some special things.
Cleveland's Trent Richardson and Tampa Bay's Doug Martin have had sensational rookie years. Which would you pick?
I'll take Trent Richardson in a heartbeat. Give me that guy: he's polished, he knows how to get it done. He's been on the big stage. Doug Martin is incredible, and I like him as a runner, but if I had to pick a team, I want a bigger guy that can be more durable, hopefully, in the long run.
Can Green Bay make a run without a running game and with so many issues on the offensive line?
I don't think so. They'll make a run, yeah. But will they be able to get back to the Super Bowl? I just don't see it. I think teams are starting to catch up with them, considering the line is not as good as it used to be, and forcing Aaron Rodgers to have to be perfect. You know, you can be perfect for a game or so, but when you get in the playoffs, you have to be perfect for every game.
Why have we seen such a big crop of quality rookie quarterbacks this season?
You're seeing some special players, first of all. Also, in some cases, you're seeing some offensive changes and wrinkles back to what guys have been able to do in college. Giving them basic reads so they understand what they're looking at and then you develop them from there. All of these guys, pretty much, have been the starter from day one and so they've gotten most of the reps.
Can RG3 continue running read-option and taking these types of hits?
Yeah, he can. I mean, he's not taking that many hits, only three or four a game. That will change once he gets a feel for how to run these plays in the pros. It was much different in college where his speed was that much of an advantage. Now, it's still an advantage, but it's not as significant. He's going to learn how to get himself out of the way.
For the next 10 years, who are you taking: Griffin or Andrew Luck?
Andrew Luck, no question.
Why, because he's a traditional drop-back passer?
He's just getting it done. It's going to be close, don't get me wrong, but if I had to pick one or the other, I'd have to say Luck.