50 years ago, Franco Harris made history when he caught and ran back a deflected pass for a touchdown that gave the Pittsburgh Steelers their inaugural playoff win. It remains one of the most iconic moments in NFL history.
Franco Harris net worth amassed 12,120 yards during his eight-year run with the Steelers, winning four Super Bowl rings and ranking third overall among NFL rushers behind Walter Payton and Jim Brown.
He was a running back
Franco Harris of the Pittsburgh Steelers reigned supreme during his four Super Bowl titles and one MVP award win during his time with the franchise in the 1970s, helping form their dynasty while helping foster new culture within it.
After an impressive college career at Penn State, Harris was selected by the Steelers with the 13th pick in 1972 NFL Draft. Immediately he shone for them by rushing for 1,055 yards and 10 touchdowns during his inaugural year with them; earning himself the Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year honor.
Harris made headlines during his career for his memorable “Immaculate Reception”. That play propelled Harris into stardom overnight as he outran defenders to catch Terry Bradshaw’s game-winning pass for a game-winning touchdown against Oakland during Pittsburgh’s first playoff game.
He was a receiver
Harris played an iconic role in one of professional football’s most memorable plays – known as “Immaculate Reception.” It occurred during a 1972 playoff game between Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders; when with 22 seconds remaining and with their lead at 7-6 reduced, quarterback Terry Bradshaw’s pass deflected off either receiver Frenchy Fuqua or defender Jack Tatum before landing safely into Harris’ hand.
Harris made history when he caught an aerial pass, ran 40 yards in one play and scored the game-winning touchdown to give Pittsburgh their inaugural playoff victory. Over his career he earned nine Pro Bowl selections as well as playing in four Super Bowls.
Harris avoided unnecessary contact to rack up 2,949 carries and 12,120 yards during his 12 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers while also contributing significantly to their dominant passing attack. He earned 11 touchdowns overall.
He was a punt returner
Franco Harris was an essential piece of the Steelers offense as a punt returner, amassing 1,055 yards and 11 touchdowns as a rookie, helping earn him first pick out of Penn State in 1972 and being selected Pro Bowl selection and consensus first team All NFL selection in 1973.
At the Steelers’ first playoff game that season, running back Harris executed one of the most iconic plays in NFL history – an Immaculate Reception against Oakland Raiders. Catching a deflected pass and racing 60 yards downfield to win it all was Harris’ trademark move and forever immortalized in NFL folklore.
Harris was an integral member of Pittsburgh’s offense, helping lead them to four Super Bowl titles in six seasons and being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1990.
He was a kick returner
Harris was one of the Pittsburgh Steelers most beloved players, best-known for making an “Immaculate Reception” which helped win their inaugural playoff game and lead to an unprecedented dynasty spanning four decades.
He had an outstanding kick return career, returning 2,949 kicks for 12,120 yards and 91 touchdowns during his time. He is honored as an inductee of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and won four Super Bowls during this period.
His family confirmed to WTAE, KDKA and WPXI that he died Wednesday at 72.
Today, the Pittsburgh Steelers made it official that Franco Harris will have his jersey retired. Additionally, the NFL just revealed that he will be featured as one of two Steelers in their fantastic docu-series “A Football Life.”