Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis rushed for more than 13,000 yards and won a Super Bowl in his final season with the Steelers in 2005. During this year's Super Bowl festivities in Minneapolis, Bettis will participate in the Land O'Lakes Farm Bowl on Feb. 1 at 3M Arena at Mariucci. He chatted about that event and several football topics with the Star Tribune's Michael Rand:
Q What exactly is the Farm Bowl?
A Active and former NFL players are going to team up with farmers and go through some farmer-themed challenges. It's a great opportunity to showcase an industry that has a lot of career opportunities.
Q What are you watching for in this year's NFL playoffs?
A In the NFC, I think anybody has the opportunity to get to the Super Bowl. In the AFC, you have two heavyweights. Pittsburgh is still trying to close the gap with the Patriots. … The last game came down to the last play. When that happens, you know you're not that far off.
Q Speaking of that last game, can you tell me what a catch is?
A [laughs] You have to maintain the ball and survive the ground. You know what, though, it looks different than what a catch used to look like. I will say this: In accordance with the rules, that was an accurate call. Like it or not, it was accurate.
Q You were on Pittsburgh teams that were top seeds that got beat, and then you won the Super Bowl as a wild card. What's the most important thing going into the postseason?
A It comes down to a couple things. One, how you're playing but two, who you're playing. Sometimes certain teams give you problems and certain teams don't. ... It becomes a matchup situation in terms of who you're playing and how well you're playing.
Q As a Hall of Famer yourself, who do you like for enshrinement this year?
A Alan Faneca [Bettis' former Steelers teammate] is the guy that I think definitely deserves to be there. … I also got a chance to play with Isaac Bruce and he's a great player who deserves an opportunity. But when you look at receivers the one guy who I think is at the top of the list is Randy Moss. He deserves top billing. I will say this, Terrell Owens is a guy who has waited his turn. If I was a voter, this would be a very tough situation because you have some great choices.
Q When you won the Super Bowl, the game was in your hometown of Detroit. But what about the Vikings this year, who have a chance to play in their home stadium?
A Oh, man, that would be amazing. … When you talk home-field advantage, usually in the Super Bowl it's more neutral. Fans are very corporate, and they come from all over. If you had a Super Bowl in Minneapolis, you're going to get a much more Minneapolis fan base than you normally would. They would spend more for a ticket because they don't have to pay for hotel or airplane.
Q How do you assess the Vikings?
Q They're a really good team. When we won a championship, we had a similar type of makeup. We didn't knock anyone's socks off with the passing game, but we made plays when we had to and we were able to win football games. That's what the Vikings do, too.