Jerome Bettis was truly overwhelmed at the turnout of Steelers fans when he was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August in Canton, Ohio. The Terrible Towels, the chants and the energy truly meant the world to him.
But he just can't even fathom what Heinz Field will be like on Thursday night when he receives his Hall of Fame ring at halftime of the Steelers-Ravens game, in front of the fans he loves so much and the city he still considers home.
"I would expect it's going to be crazy and full of emotion," said Bettis. "I think it will be amazing.
"It's only fitting that this happens in front of the Steelers faithful. They have supported me and been behind me for so long. It's great to be able to do it in front of Steelers fans who have been behind me my entire career."
Bettis will be presented his ring by his former coach, Bill Cowher, the man who helped take Bettis' career to the next level.
"I am just happy for him," said Cowher. "You look at what he has done over a period of time, how great he was. He was meant to be in the Hall of Fame for what he has done and how he did it. He deserves to be in there."
Bettis, who rushed for 10,571 yards with the Steelers and amassed 13,662 yards overall in his career, ranking sixth all-time in the NFL, said he has had some time to reflect on becoming a Hall of Famer but it all hasn't full set in yet. He does, though, understand the significance of what he has accomplished.
"It gives you permanent relevancy," said Bettis. "With that you have to understand there is good and bad associated with that. You are always going to be in the public eye. That is something I have always been comfortable with, so it's not overwhelming for me in that situation at all."
Jerome Bettis is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
This week alone Bettis was honored as a Hometown Hall of Famer in Detroit, Michigan, where he is originally from, and it gave him yet another opportunity to wear the coveted Gold Jacket bestowed upon Hall of Famers.
"I haven't even put the jacket in the closet yet," said Bettis. "It's out front right now. Maybe in a couple of months it will go in the closet, but it's in the front right now."
While Bettis will treasure his Hall of Fame ring forever, as well as is gold jacket, there is another ring that hold pretty special meaning for him … his Super Bowl XL Champions ring.
"That was amazing. That's what you dream of, getting that Super Bowl ring," said Bettis. "That's what it's all about. It's not about the Hall of Fame and all of that, it's about winning championships. That is the goal. With that being the goal, that was the ultimate accomplishment.
"It was never being a Hall of Famer. That wasn't the dream. The dream was winning the Super Bowl."