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The Bus - A Tribute to Jerome Bettis
David O'Keefe

The Bus - A Tribute to Jerome Bettis

Regular price $280.00

24"x19" Fine Art Giclee on Canvas signed and numbered by the Artist.

38"x30" Fine Art Giclee on Canvas signed and numbered by the Artist

Jerome Bettis is such a great guy and popular Pittsburgh Steeler that it was inevitable I would paint him someday. Early in 2015, Ed Ciofani, a fan of his and a fan of my artwork, commissioned me to do an oil painting of "The Bus.'' Ed suggested using the famous touchdown play from the Steelers-Bears Dec. 11, 2005 game.  It was a career highlight for Bettis, 101 yards on a cold, snowy day at Heinz Field against Brian Urlacher and the Bears. He was playing his final season and at the end of it would win his first Super Bowl - and the Steelers' fifth. 

He's been nicknamed "The Bus'' since he played college football at Notre Dame and I wanted to show his size but also his power and speed. When he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame his brother called him "an elusive big guy, if you can imagine an elusive big guy,'' and that's what I wanted to create. My concept for the piece was to have "The Bus'' coming toward the viewer and exploding out of the painting. I also wanted him to be as wide as he was tall.

As I began sketching, I watched and re-watched the video of that touchdown, sometimes in slow motion. He gets hit by No. 43 (Michael Green) immediately. Bettis plows him (Green) down, but it does slow him down some. Urlacher had a clean shot at him. The Bus had lost momentum and he should have been leveled, especially by someone like Urlacher, but Bettis just goes through Urlacher! It's one of those things in slow motion - it defies physics!
And to add insult to injury, as he's running over Urlacher, he gets kneed in the head. I have some other Bears players lying on the field or trying to get up and Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger raising his arms with the touchdown signal. I wanted to show the carnage of him (Bettis) just running over everybody. It's an "in my wake' kind of thing, you look back and see the destruction.