Today for our "On This Day..." feature, we are taking a look back at the December 23, 1972 Immaculate Reception of Franco Harris:
In this memorable game, after forty years of being a perennial loser, the Steelers trailed 7-6 in the final minutes after a Ken Stabler touchdown run. On fourth-and-ten from their own 35, Terry Bradshaw's pass down the field for Frenchy Fuqua was deflected by either the Raiders' DB Jack Tatum or Fuqua, and it was "caught out of the air" by Harris, who raced down the sideline for the winning score. (See above video.) After some debate by the officials, (had the pass only touched Fuqua it would have been a foul, as NFL rules at the time did not permit an offensive player to catch a forward pass that had been touched only by another offensive player. That rule was rescinded after 1978) the play was ruled a touchdown and Pittsburgh won 13-7. They went on to lose to the undefeated Miami Dolphins in the AFC Championship Game, but this was the beginning of their dynasty, as they went on to win four of the next seven Super Bowls.
The game was not broadcast in Pittsburgh. 1972 was the last year that all home games were blacked-out in home cities, and since the beginning of the 1973 season, every Steelers game has sold-out and has been televised locally.
|The NFL Films footage of the play may have led|
to speculation -- was the play legal?
The only remaining dispute was whether or not Harris cleanly caught the ball before it touched the ground. Again the NFL Films version of the replay doesn't show that clearly, either. But upon viewing the NBC replay, it is fairly clear that the catch was clean as well.
We are proud to add this game to Gridiron Uniform Database's collection of randomly added single-game matchups.
You can view other randomly added past games here.