Q&A: Jerome Bettis

<b>PITTSBURGH -- </b> The Steelers awoke Tuesday morning to find their magic number for gaining homefield advantage throughout the playoffs had been narrowed to one by the Miami Dolphins' upset win over the New England Patriots on Monday night. Running back <!--Default NodeId For Jerome Bettis is 1151533,2004--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:1151533]>Jerome Bettis</A> shared his thoughts on the matter when he popped into the team's practice facility on his day off.

You guys can get it all now, right?
We could get it all before last night. That didn't determine anything for us. Our destiny was in our own hands. We created that early in the season. It's important for us to stay focused. Now, that definitely helps us. It gives us some breathing room, but ultimately the ball was in our court to begin with.

Does it ratchet up the importance of the coming game?
I don't think it ratchets it up more because we knew this was going to be The Game. They're fighting for their playoff life and this gives us an opportunity, if we win, to give us everything we wanted. This is for all the marbles.

Isn't it fun to play the Ravens with so much at stake?
Oh, no doubt about it. But you know what? It's fun playing them when there's nothing at stake. We played them at the end of last year and it was fun. Regardless of when we play them, it's fun because they don't like us; we don't like them.

But you didn't know winning on Sunday would mean everything before last night.
Right, right, right. You didn't know that just winning next week is the final one. We were under the assumption that we were going to have to win both of them. But you know what? We still would like to win both of them and end the season close to perfect, the way it should be ended. But this game here is going to mean everything. This is the biggest game of the year for us.

You didn't want to go into Buffalo needing this did you?
No, you don't want to have to do that. Buffalo's a tough team. They're playing great football right now, so you don't want to have to win that game. We need to take care of business at home.

Would 1,000 yards mean anything to you?
No. I've got a shot at it but it wouldn't mean much. It's not that significant. The only thing that's significant is homefield advantage. That's the only thing I'm caring about. It's the only reason I came back.

It's the reason you came back this year?
Right, the opportunity to win the Super Bowl, and this is it. This is the opportunity that's staring us in the face.

With Terrell Owens getting hurt and the Patriots losing last night, it's shaping up pretty good, isn't it?
Well, I thought it had been shaping up pretty good before when we beat both of those teams. So we were in a situation where we felt good about our chances with anybody in the NFL, and definitely everybody in the AFC. We feel confident but we understand that we've still got to take care of business. Anything can happen. We found that out the hard way a couple years ago. We understand that we've got to take care of business.

So the only reason you came back was to win the Super Bowl?
Yeah. I didn't come back for the money. Obviously I didn't come back for the money. Obviously I didn't come back for the cash. That wasn't it. A chance for the Super Bowl is the reason I'm back.

And you wouldn't have gone to some other teams that didn't have a chance to win the Super Bowl?
I could have. I could have waited until I was released and picked somewhere else for monetary reasons. I could've did that but that wasn't really what I wanted to do.

You could've gotten more money somewhere else?
Yeah. Look at people that signed in June. Eddie George signed for two-and-a-half million dollars right before training camp maybe. So I gotta think there was at least a million-and-a-half out there.

Would you want to come back next year?
I don't know. I mean, if the body holds up it's something I would look at.

Would winning the Super Bowl help you make the decision one way or the other?
I'd be lying to you if I said it didn't. I mean, of course I think it would affect my decision, no question.

Could it be a topper?
I don't know. It could be. The possibility exists on everything, but I mean everything we're talking about is a possibility. And so I can't sit here and say if we won the Super Bowl I wouldn't be back. I can't say that. What happens is after winning a Super Bowl, you say the love is still there. If you're not finished, if it's still in you, you say hey let's have a repeat. So really it's hard to say. But I want to win one. That's why I'm here.

So you'll decide after the Super Bowl?
Exactly, after all that's over with.

You feel good don't you?
I feel good.

Steel City Insider Top Stories