Will Bettis make Hall of Fame today?

February, 2, 2013
2/02/13
10:30
AM ET
NEW ORLEANS -- Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis has his best shot yet at making the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But it still remains uncertain whether he gets voted in Saturday evening.

In his first two years of eligibility, he has been blocked by other running backs -- Marshall Faulk in 2011 and Curtis Martin in 2012. This year, Bettis is the only running back among the 15 modern era finalists.

Three first-year candidates are expected to get voted in: Ravens offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, Cowboys guard Larry Allen and Giants defensive end Michael Strahan. Bill Parcells, who won two Super Bowls as a coach, should make the Hall of Fame as well.

That leaves one spot left for the modern era candidates. Bettis' chief competition is defensive end Charles Haley or one of the wide receivers (Cris Carter, Tim Brown and Andre Reed).

Bettis ranks sixth on the NFL's all-time rushing list, which seems to weigh heavily for voters. The top four (Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders and Martin) are in the Hall of Fame, and LaDainian Tomlinson, who is fifth, retired before the start of the 2012 season.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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