Stats & Info: Jerome Bettis

Lewis latest to depart with title chance

January, 23, 2013

Getty ImagesJohn Elway and Jerome Bettis are among those to cap their career with a championship.
Ray Lewis says that Super Bowl XLVII will mark the end of his NFL career.

A number of players have played their final game on the sport's biggest stage, but not all have claimed victory on the way out.

Here are some of the game's greats who said farewell after the big game.

Otto Graham, 1955 Cleveland Browns
Graham’s career pre-dated the Super Bowl, but we felt he merited mention here. Not only did Graham win NFL MVP honors in 1955, but he closed out his career with a 38-14 win in the NFL Championship game against the Los Angeles Rams.

Graham threw for two touchdowns, ran for two more, and survived a day in which he threw three interceptions.
Otto Graham
Graham retired young, at age 34, having won seven NFL titles.

He actually won his pre-retirement game twice. Graham retired after the 1954 season, one in which he also led the Browns to a title, then came out of retirement in time for the start of the 1955 season.

Graham was out of football briefly, then returned to the sport as a head football coach and athletics director for the United States Coast Guard Academy, and a three-season stint with the Washington Redskins.

Mel Renfro, 1977 Dallas Cowboys
Renfro spent all 14 seasons of his career with the Cowboys, retiring after the 1977 campaign. Renfro was four seasons removed from his last selection to the Pro Bowl, but was still important to the Cowboys defensive success.

Renfro’s final game would be Super Bowl XII against the Broncos. As he recalls in this article, he missed considerable time with a knee injury that season, but suited up and was part of a unit that held Broncos quarterbacks Craig Morton and Norris Weese to only 61 yards passing in a 27-10 win over the Denver Broncos at the Superdome.

Renfro was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996.

Jackie Smith, 1978 Cowboys
Smith had the worst possible ending to what was a terrific NFL career that spanned from 1963 to 1978 as a tight end. He would be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994.

AP PhotoJackie Smith had a great career, but is often remembered for this drop.

Smith’s only Super Bowl appearance came in Super Bowl XIII with the Cowboys against the Pittsburgh Steelers. At this point in his career (age 38), he was no longer a primary target (he didn’t have a catch all season). But the Cowboys looked his way trailing by a touchdown in the third quarter.

Smith was wide open in the end zone, but could not hang on to Roger Staubach’s throw. Announcer Verne Lundquist would call Smith “the sickest man in America” as cameras showed him lamenting the drop. The Cowboys would end up with a field goal instead of a touchdown on the drive and lose the game, 35-31.

Smith isn’t the only prominent player to lose in the Super Bowl in his final NFL game. Elias tells us that others include wide receivers Carroll Dale (who won two Super Bowls with the Green Bay Packers, but lost with the Minnesota Vikings), Cris Collinsworth (Cincinnati Bengals), Steve Watson (Denver Broncos) and running backs Bill Brown (Minnesota Vikings and John L. Williams (Steelers)

Russ Grimm, 1991 Washington Redskins and Gary Zimmerman, 1997 Denver Broncos
We list these two together, as they are two of the most prominent offensive linemen to go out as the ultimate winners. Grimm was a guard on four Super Bowl champs, the last of which was the Redskins team that beat the Buffalo Bills. Zimmerman was a Hall-of-Fame tackle for the Vikings and Broncos, whose only Super Bowl appearance was the last game of his career.

John Elway, 1998 Denver Broncos
Elway’s career-ender is the standard-setter for the sport. He led the Denver Broncos to their second consecutive Super Bowl victory, this one a 34-19 win over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII, his final game.

Elway threw for 336 yards (his second-most ever in a postseason game) and a touchdown (an 80-yarder to Rod Smith), and ran for another score. It was his fifth start at quarterback in a Super Bowl, tied with Tom Brady for the most all-time.

Jerome Bettis, 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers
Bettis reached the end of his career as a valued member of the Steelers ground attack, though with a reduced role from what he’d seen in his younger days.

Bettis was actually talked into playing another season (somewhat similar to Graham) after planning to retire a year earlier.

Bettis had a rushing touchdown in each of three Steelers road playoff wins leading up to the Super Bowl.

In Super Bowl XL against the Seattle Seahawks, playing in his hometown of Detroit, Bettis had 14 carries for 43 yards as part of a ground game that gained 181 yards (93 by Willie Parker).

Michael Strahan, 2007 New York Giants
Strahan, a Hall of Fame finalist this year after 15 seasons in the NFL, finished his career in the best possible way, with the Giants’ Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots.

Strahan had nine of his 141 regular-season sacks that year, and his big contribution came via sack in that last contest.

With the Patriots leading 7-3 in the third quarter, Strahan sacked Tom Brady on a 3rd-and-7 from the Giants 25-yard line. The Patriots would not tack on to their lead on that drive, and the Giants would eventually rally for their 17-14 win.
One of the most highly anticipated games of the 2010 NFL season turned into one for the record books. But surely, the New England Patriots' 45-3 undressing of the New York Jets on national television was not what most people expected from this matchup of 9-2 teams. Let's examine some of the biggest eye-openers from this game:

• The 42-point margin of victory is tied for the second-largest in Monday Night Football history. Only the Baltimore Ravens' 48-3 win over the Green Bay Packers in 2005 had a larger point differential. Coincidentally, this is the Jets' second 42-point loss on Monday Night Football. The other was also a 45-3 loss (to the Miami Dolphins in 1986). It's the Patriots second-largest margin of victory over the Jets, after a 53-point thrashing in 1979.

Tom Brady threw for 326 yards and four touchdowns. He now has 252 career TD passes and has passed Drew Bledsoe, the man whose injury launched his career, for 13th-most in NFL history. This was Brady's eighth career game with at least 300 pass yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. That is the most such games by any quarterback since the 1970 merger.

• Brady was sharp on throws of 10 yards or fewer, completing 17-of-20 attempts for 244 yards and four touchdowns. Overall, Brady's targets accumulated 209 yards after the catch, accounting for 64 percent of Brady's total passing yards. The 209 yards after the catch are the Patriots' season high; for the Jets it's their most allowed this season.

• The win is Brady's 26th straight regular-season home win, which breaks Brett Favre's record 25-game streak at Lambeau Field for the Packers.

• He now has 27 touchdowns and four interceptions this season. According to Elias, it's just the fourth time that a quarterback has had at least 25 touchdowns and five or fewer interceptions through 12 team games. Brady is now responsible for two of those four seasons (the others belong to Favre and Donovan McNabb).

• Brady and Bill Belichick have tied Terry Bradshaw and Chuck Noll for the second-most wins as a quarterback-coach combo (107). Only Dan Marino/Don Shula ever won more games together (116).

• While it was a night the Jets would like to forget, LaDainian Tomlinson made some history of his own. With 47 rushing yards, he upped his career total to 13,278 yards and moved past Eric Dickerson for sixth-most in NFL history. Jerome Bettis (13,662 yards) sits next ahead of LT on the list.

• It was also a historic night for a Rex Ryan defense. The Patriots' 45 points are the most ever scored against a Rex Ryan defense since he became defensive coordinator for the Ravens in 2005.