Mark Madden: Like the play that made him famous, Franco Harris was a catalyst for everyone who accomplished the ’70s Steelers

If the immaculate reception happens now, with camera angles galore and replay review, will Franco Harris’ landing stand?


The call on the field was a downside. No available video has conclusively concluded that it is incorrect. that the ball bounced directly from France’s Fuqua to Harris, which would be illegal according to the rules of the day, or that Harris held the ball.

This is the key phrase: “We conclude decisively.”

Why should we guess that the additional video may be different? (Then again, more different angles and speeds make it possible to find almost any result you want.)

It’s down and then down today.

The Oakland Raiders were mad then, and the Las Vegas Raiders were mad now.

That’s part of the fun. The late, great John Madden, the Oakland coach at the time, took the bitterness from that call to his grave.

We’ve all seen Harris’ supermodel at the Pittsburgh airport. It looks like a legal play from that point of view. George Washington and Nellie Bly would probably agree.

The 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Conception raises an interesting thought, not least: Who would venture to Acrisure Stadium in sub-zero temperatures on Christmas Eve to watch two 6-8 teams play a game that makes no sense by acknowledging this anniversary and Harris’ No. 32 retired?

The over/under unofficial is 45,000 in the stands.

It is difficult to say the importance of immaculate reception.

Harris’ death a few days before his tribute places additional punctuation marks on the immaculate reception. Like the play that made him famous, Harris was the catalyst for everything the Pittsburgh Steelers accomplished in the 1970s. He was among the least replaceable players in the family, ranking with Joe Green and Terry Bradshaw.

Current Steelers coach Mike Tomlin called Immaculate’s reception “the most important play in the history of the game”. This is ridiculous. It’s not even close to being like that. You could argue that it’s not even the Steelers’ most important play ever.

But she has a lot of romance because of the title. The Steelers did not win a Super Bowl that season and, in fact, lost their next two playoff games.

But since the Steelers won four Super Bowls in the ’70s, an Immaculate Reception seems like a flashpoint. But the Steelers would certainly have won those Super Bowls had it not been for the Immaculate Reception.

The immaculate reception marked the first time the Steelers had won a playoff game. Heck, it was the Steelers’ first playoff game. That season was the first time they had won ten or more games, the second time they had won their division, and the first time they had finished above . 500 since 1963.

Immaculate Reception was an apparition more than an ignition. The immaculate reception was the moment the Steelers and professional football became king in Pittsburgh. The Pirates ruled baseball until then.

It was also the first of two catastrophic events that occurred just eight days apart. Roberto Clemente’s plane crashes on New Year’s Eve, killing the Pirates star. (The Steelers lost the AFC Championship game to undefeated Miami earlier that day.)

Despite the legendary status that Immaculate’s reception holds in Pittsburgh, it pales next to the importance of Bill Mazeroski’s home run to victory over the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series in what may be MLB’s biggest upset ever.

Mazeroski’s homer is the biggest moment in Pittsburgh sports history. Even greater than Johnny Cueto dropping the ball.

Immaculate reception may benefit from a strange degree of novelty bias. Those who remember Mazeroski’s blow are dying. I wasn’t even born yet.

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