Steelers top 30 moments in franchise history
By Kim Myers
Nov 8, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; General view of the statue of Pittsburgh Steelers running back Franco Harris (32) at the Pittsburgh International Airport to commemorate the immaculate reception against the Oakland Raiders in the 1972 AFC Divisional playoff game. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
There aren’t any other plays or moments in the history of the Steelers franchise as replayed and talked about more than the Immaculate Reception. The play is arguably the most famous play in the history of the NFL, let alone the Pittsburgh Steelers.
There’s a statue of the play greeting you when you arrive at the Pittsburgh International Airport as well as a memorial plaque at the exact spot in Pittsburgh where the play took place. It’s the one play that we’re told about when we were kids and it will never go out of style.
It was the AFC divisional playoffs at Three Rivers Stadium on December 23, 1972. The Steelers were trailing 7-6 to the Oakland Raiders with 30 seconds left on the clock. Terry Bradshaw threw a pass intended for John Fuqua.
The ball bounced off of the hands of Raiders safety Jack Tatum and was headed towards the ground when Steelers running back Franco Harris came from out of nowhere and scooped the ball up to run it in for the game-winning touchdown.
Raiders fans will tell you that the ball either hit Fuqua or the ground because they’re bitter and have had to suffer through years of awful football but Steelers fans know what happened on that field was something amazing. The play gave the Steelers their first playoff win in their franchise history and while they wouldn’t go on to the Super Bowl for another two seasons it was the play that sparked the dynasty that would become the 70s Steelers.
The Steelers would go on the following week to lose to the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Championship Game as the Dolphins would go on to win Super Bowl VII in their undefeated season. The game was actually blacked out in the Pittsburgh area because back then the league blacked out local games in order to encourage fans to attend in person.
Fans who couldn’t go to the game had to travel out of the Pittsburgh broadcast area to catch the action on TV. Steelers founder Art Rooney was famously in an elevator during the play. He was on his way to console the players after what he thought was a game lost when Franco was running into the end zone.
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So whether it was Franco scooping up a ball with the help of divine intervention or James Harrison rumbling down the sidelines the Steelers have had great moments to span generations of fans.
What great Steelers moments do you think were left off?