The Pittsburgh Steelers are set to pay their tribute to former fullback Franco Harris during their Week 16 game against the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday. The two sides will play at the Acrisure Stadium.
Harris died on December 20. The Hall of famer was 72. The RB took a miraculous catch in 1972 – known as Immaculate Reception. The Steelers were trailing vs Oakland Raiders when quarterback Terry Bradshaw threw a pass. The ball bounced off the helmet of Raiders safety Jack Tatum. Franco Harris caught it just before it hit the ground and ran for a game-winning touchdown.
The play completes 50 years in 2022. The Steelers are planning to give a throwback to Harris’ reception. They are painting the end zones to match the way that they looked on December 23, 1972. The team will wear the old-style block number uniforms.
The Immaculate reception changed the course of Pittsburgh’s history. The team was 6-8 in 1972 and were not going to make it to the playoffs. However, that play inspired a win and the Steelers went on to play the conference finals.
The organization said Friday’s celebration of the 50th anniversary has been moved to the FedEx Great Hall due to the incoming winter storm. The team will also have a replay of the original radio broadcast of the Immaculate Reception.
They intend to hold the retirement ceremony of Franco Harris’ No. 32 jersey at halftime. The RB will become the third Steelers player to be so honored, joining Joe Greene (75) and Ernie Stautner (70).
Born in Fort Dix, New Jersey, on March 7, 1950, Harris played collegiately at Penn State, where his primary job was to open holes for backfield mate Lydell Mitchell. The Steelers, in the final stages of a rebuild led by Hall of Fame coach Chuck Noll, saw enough in Harris to make him the 13th overall pick in the 1972 draft.