VATICAN CITY - The Vatican confirmed this morning that Jerome Bettis' healing of an apparently-deceased Ben Roethlisberger following the Steeler quarterback's motorcycle accident last Monday was the third miracle necessary to elevate "The Bus" to Sainthood.
Steeler officials revealed today that Roethlisberger was pronounced dead at the scene of his accident at the intersection of Second Avenue and the 10th Street Bridge at 11:30 a.m. last Monday. Police closed the intersection and cleared away all extraneous personnel. Steelers owner Dan Rooney was immediately informed, and he placed an urgent call to Jerome "the Bus" Bettis who was in town filming a Campbell's Soup commercial. Mr. Rooney asked Bettis to hurry to the the accident scene. Bettis recounted that call: "Mr. Rooney said, 'Bus' I need you to push one into the end zone one last time -- this is the big one.'"
Bettis promptly drove to the accident scene with his parents in the car. Police initially tried to turn Bettis away but traffic officer Noah Swayne described what happened: "I knew 'the Bus' wasn't supposed to be there, but there was this light shining around his head -- I've seen some weird things in my years on the beat but this was -- Whoa! So I said, 'Come on through, 'Bus.'"
Several of Roethlisberger's friends were weeping next to his lifeless body. Bettis calmly walked up to the crowd just as a sheet had been placed over the young quarterback. The "Bus" asked everyone to stand back, and then he laid his hands on Big Ben's head. Roethlisberger immediately opened his eyes and sat up, to the shock of his friends and the emergency personnel at the scene. Weeping turned to tears of joy. Bettis slowly stood up and calmly dialed Mr. Rooney's number. "Mr. Rooney," Bettis said, "mission accomplished."
This morning at the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI presided over the canonization ceremony for the former running back. The Pope, reading from an apostolic letter, told worshipers at St. Peter's Basilica: "In the fullness of time, Jerome Bettis will take his place with other football immortals enshrined at the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, in the United States. Today, we acknowledge that 'the Bus' is to be enshrined in the celestial firmament, acting as our intercessor and model, joining the immortals in the Communion of Saints." His Holiness then removed a terrible towel from under his vestments, and waved it to the delirious crowd that seemed to be at least 75% Pittsburghers, many of whom tailgated all night outside Saint Peter's in rented vans. The Pope cited the Steeler's playoff victory over the Bengals, their Super Bowl win, and the resuscitation of Roethlisberger as the three objectively verifiable miracles attributable to Bettis necessary to declare him a Saint. The Pope explained that a team of canon lawyers, theologians and priests had reviewed game films provided by the NFL, along with video tapes from "The Jerome Bettis Show" provided by Giant Eagle to gather necessary evidence verifying that Bettis has been responsible for three miracles.
Bettis' father sat in the front row in a state of shock. "How'd this happen?" he asked. "We're not even Catholic." NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, seated next to him, said that Bettis' canonization "will go a long way" toward insuring that Bettis gains admission to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.