Notre Dame Fighting Irish Alumni Jerome Bettis and Tim Brown Are HOF Finalists

Poch de la RosaContributor IIIJanuary 24, 2013

"The Bus" may be on his way to the Pro Football HOF in 2013 (photo
"The Bus" may be on his way to the Pro Football HOF in 2013 (photo

Jerome "The Bus" Bettis and Tim Brown have a chance to represent the University of Notre Dame in the 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame class. 

According to a report released by Notre Dame's website for athletics on January 23, both Bettis and Brown were selected to be part of 15 modern-era finalists who will be considered for enshrinement. 

A Bleacher Report article posted on January 11 by NFL featured columnist John Rozum points out other notable players who were included in the roster—Larry Allen, Cris Carter, Kevin Greene, Charles Haley, Jonathan Ogden, Andre Reed, Warren Sapp and Michael Strahan. 

Bettis played three seasons for the Irish from 1990-92 amassing a net total of 2,356 yards and 27 touchdowns during that span. He established program records for most touchdowns (20) and points (121) in a season, finishing with a 5.7 yards per carry average for his collegiate career. 

The report released by Notre Dame also indicates Bettis holds Notre Dame's bowl game record in rushing yards with 150 in the Irish's 39-28 victory over the  Florida Gators in the 1992 Sugar Bowl. In that game, he also set a school bowl record for the longest run (49) and rushing touchdowns (3).  

Known as "The Bus" for his ability to carry multiple defenders on his back like a bus ride during his carries, Bettis was the first player allowed by former Irish coach Lou Holtz to tape his shoes and ankles outside his cleats. 

He was drafted 10th overall in the 1993 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. For his professional career with the Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers, "The Bus" played thirteen seasons from 1993-2005, racking up a grand total of 13,662 rushing yards on 3.9 yards per carry, earning him the distinction of being the sixth-leading rusher of all time.  

He appeared in the Pro Bowl six times and was part of the Pittsburgh Steelers team that won Super Bowl XL in Detroit, his hometown. 

Brown, on his part, won the 1987 Heisman Trophy—the first-ever wide receiver to pull it off.

Known as "Touchdown Timmy," his college tenure lasted from 1984-87. He immediately made an impact, setting a then-freshman record with 28 receptions. 

As a sophomore in 1985, Brown led all Irish receivers with 397 yards on 25 catches. He then set a single-season record with 1,937 all-purpose yards as a junior in 1986. 

In his senior year, he was sixth in the nation in terms of all-purpose yards average per game with an astonishing 167.9.  

He concluded his collegiate career with an array of impressive numbers—137 receptions for 2,493 yards, a school record 5,024 all-purpose yards and 22 touchdowns. All in all, he established 19 different school records. 

His accomplishments with the Fighting Irish earned him a slot in the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009. 

Upon turning pro in 1988, Brown was selected sixth overall by the Los Angeles Raiders. He was a Raider for the most part, playing just one season—his last—with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004.

At 35 years of age on December 9, 2001, he returned a punt 88 yards for a touchdown in a game against the Kansas City Chiefs, becoming the oldest player in NFL history to score a touchdown on a punt return.

He was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection and made it to the NFL's 1990s All-Decade Team. He racked up a grand total of 14,934 receiving yards—the second-highest total in NFL history. 

To top it all off, he was also a recipient of the prestigious NCAA Silver Anniversary Award in 2012

This is Brown's third time to be selected as a finalist for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, with the first in 2010 and the second in 2012. 

The Pro Football Hall of Fame's Selection Committee will convene in New Orleans on Feb. 2 to vote for the finalists who will make the last cut. This year's enshrinement ceremony will mark its 50th year. 

Let the enshrinement's golden year mark not only Notre Dame's resurgence as a football powerhouse, but also the validation of two of the university's favorite sons, Bettis and Brown, as some of the game's greatest ever.