The legendary Franco Harris -- the only man to have an ‘Immaculate Reception’ is due to have his Steeler jersey retired! The football pro was born on March 7, 1950, in Fort Dix, New Jersey.
The football Hall of Famer is an honorable Super Bowl champion of 1980 and was seen by millions on NFL Monday Night Football during the 70s and the NFL on NBC in 1965. Franco went to Rancocas Valley Regional High School (Mount Holly, NJ) where he displayed professional football potential.
He would graduate and go on to Penn State University and play with the Nittany Lions. Selected as an ambitious running back, he could master his ability and skills there. As a result, he accumulated 25 touchdowns and over 2000 (rushing) yards by 1970.
In The League
After his time with Penn State, Franco Harris entered the NFL draft pick and the Pittsburgh Steelers picked him as their first choice for running back. Once Franco hit the field, it was on from there.
In his rookie debut, he scored an amazing 11 touchdowns and ran over 1000 yards! As a consequence, the people quickly recognized his talents and Harris received the AFC Rookie of Year award (1972) and the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
Franco Harris Immaculate Reception
In one AFC playoff game, Franco Harris made a play we still regard as remarkable. The ‘Immaculate Reception’ is much the talk when it comes to iconic football plays. In fact, the Steelers celebrated their first win in the playoffs that year against the Oakland Raiders.
“Kevin Cook’s “The Last Headbangers” cites the play as the beginning of a bitter rivalry between Pittsburgh and Oakland that fueled a historically brutal Raiders team during the NFL’s most controversially physical era.”
The Immaculate Reception is the nickname given to what is one of the most famous plays in the history of American football. It occurred in the AFC Divisional Playoff Game of the National Football League (NFL) between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Oakland Raiders at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on December 23, 1972.
With the Steelers trailing in the last 30 seconds of the game, Pittsburgh’s quarterback Terry Bradshaw threw a pass attempt to John Fuqua. The ball bounced off the hands of Raiders safety Jack Tatum and, as it fell toward the ground, Steelers fullback Franco Harris scooped it up and ran for a game-winning touchdown.
The play has been a source of unresolved controversy and speculation ever since, as many people have contended the ball touched either Fuqua or the ground before Harris caught it, either of which would have resulted in an incomplete pass by the rules at the time.
After the most incredible start, a rookie could have Franco Harris and the Steelers went on the win four Super Bowls during the ’70s. Although he has terrific stats, Harris’ best games consist of 11 touchdowns, rushing 1,246 yards (from the scrimmage line).
After rolling the Minnesota Vikings in a Super Bowl, Franco Harris was named MVP. This came after a touchdown and 158 yards.
Franco remained with Pittsburgh until he signed with the Seattle Seahawks in 1984. However, the period was brief and he retired his jersey after only 8 games. Regrettably, he didn’t get to break Jim Brown’s rushing record… all he needed was about 200 more yards.
Franco Harris Highlights and Career Stats
During his years as a star football player, Franco Harris completed 91 touchdowns, ran 12,120 yards and caught a total of 307 passes -- 9 of which lead to touchdowns.
Throughout his career, Harris achieved --
- Four-time Super Bowl (IX, X, XIII, and XIV) title-holder
- MVP (Super Bowl IX)
- AFC Rookie of the Year and NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year (1972)
- Pro Bowl (9 times selected, 1972-80)
- 10,000 Rushing Yards Club member
- Walter Payton Man of the Year in 1976
- First Team All-Pro in 1977
- Inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame ((1990)
The former MVP and Hall of Fame inductee has a net worth of about $3 million today. There’s a statue of Franco at the Pittsburgh International Airport. In January of 2011, Harris was included in the into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.
What Is Franco Harris Doing Now?
Franco planned to grow old, but not broke. He has many ventures that include his business of baking. For the last 16 years, he’s owned Super Bakery Inc.
- They sell to mainly hospitals and schools as their food is nutritionally packed. Its cool boxes pay tribute to athletes who contribute to society on their off time.
- Franco Harris also has a fitness and sports business that distributes “SilverMats and SilverTowels.”
- If you didn’t know, Harris also contributed to Obama’s campaign by helping him to win over the state in the 2008 election.
- Franco Harris also spoke out on the Colin Kaepernick situation in opposition. I’m not sure I’m believing my ears. Check out one fan’s opinion on YouTube. Franco had some harsh words.
- So, the talk is now that Franco Harris could be in the line up to have his jersey retired! This is, of course, according to Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh-Post Gazetter. He will be joining men like Ernie Stautner and Joe Greene when he does.
This is one of the greatest honors to receive in the Steeler nation. The team has seen a lot of great players come from Lambert to Antonio Brown, but none like Franco Harris.
Cook, Kevin. “Rowdyand Rough”. The Last Headbangers