Steelers Hall of Fame Running Back Franco Harris Dies At Age 72!

Franco Harris Dies: Franco Harris was an American football player who played running back in the National Football League (NFL) for 13 seasons, mainly for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was born on March 7, 1950, and died on December 20, 2022.

He was chosen for the Pro Bowl nine times and helped the Steelers win four Super Bowls. He was a vital part of the “Immaculate Reception,” a famous play in professional football that gave the Steelers their first-ever playoff win.

After playing college football for Penn State, the Steelers picked him with the 13th overall pick in the first round of the 1972 NFL Draft. His first 12 seasons in the NFL were with the Steelers, and his last season was with the Seahawks.

In 1990, he was put in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Harris stars in a commercial for the NFL’s 100th anniversary where he and Terry Bradshaw act out the Immaculate Reception.

Steelers Hall of Fame Running Back Franco Harris Dies At Age 72!

Franco Harris, the running back in the Hall of Fame and whose quick thinking led to the “Immaculate Reception,” which is considered the most famous play in NFL history, has died. He was 72.

Dok, Harris’s son, told The Associated Press that his dad died in the middle of the night. No reason was given for the death. His death happened two days before the 50th anniversary of the play that gave the Pittsburgh Steelers the boost they needed to become one of the best teams in the NFL.

It also happened three days before the team was going to retire his number 32 at halftime of their game against the Las Vegas Raiders. In a statement, Steelers president Art Rooney II said, “It’s hard to find the right words to describe what Franco Harris meant to the Pittsburgh Steelers, his teammates, the city of Pittsburgh, and Steelers Nation.”

“Franco made people happy on and off the field for 50 years, starting with his rookie year, which included the “Immaculate Reception.” He gave back in so many ways and never stopped. He helped so many people, and so many people loved him.

During this challenging time, our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Dana, his son Dok, and the rest of his family.” Harris ran for 12,120 yards and won four Super Bowl rings with the Steelers in the 1970s.

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This dynasty began in earnest when Harris decided to keep running during a last-second pass by Pittsburgh quarterback Terry Bradshaw in a 1972 playoff game against Oakland. With 22 seconds left in the fourth quarter and the Steelers down 7-6 and on fourth-and-10 from their 40-yard line, Bradshaw moved back and threw deep to running back John “Frenchy” Fuqua.

When Fuqua and Jack Tatum, a defensive back for Oakland, collided, the ball flew back toward midfield and Harris. Harris kept his legs moving while almost everyone else on the field stopped. He grabbed the ball just a few inches above the Three Rivers Stadium turf near the Oakland 45, then beat a few stunned Raiders defenders to give the Steelers their first playoff win in the team’s 40-year history.

After the Immaculate Reception was voted the best play in NFL history during the league’s 100th anniversary season in 2020, Harris said, “That play represents our teams of the 1970s.” Even though the Steelers lost to the Miami Dolphins the following week in the AFC Championship Game, Pittsburgh was on its way to becoming the best team of the 1970s.

In 1974 and 1975, and again in 1978 and 1979, the Steelers won back-to-back Super Bowls. Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL, said in a statement, “We are shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Franco Harris.”

“He was a Hall of Fame running back essential to the Steelers’ dominance in the 1970s, but he was so much more than that. He was a kind person who touched a lot of people in Pittsburgh and the NFL as a whole.

Franco changed people’s feelings about the Steelers, Pittsburgh, and the NFL. Fans of the Steelers, his teammates, and the city of Pittsburgh will never forget him. His wife, Dana, and their son, Dok, are in our thoughts and prayers.”

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