If you haven’t heard, the Pittsburgh Steelers will be retiring Franco Harris’ No. 32 jersey number this season. It’s a long time coming, as he remains the best running back in franchise history, as well as one of the best players overall. The announcement came at the perfect time, as this upcoming season will celebrate 50 years since Harris’ famous ‘Immaculate Reception’ in the 1972 Divisional Round.
That play is arguably the most iconic one in NFL history and helped jump start the Steelers’ domination for years to come. While they did go on to lose the AFC Championship to the Miami Dolphins in the next game, the importance of Harris’ catch can’t be understated.
Many players and coaches have discussed how without that play, perhaps the Steelers wouldn’t have become the franchise they are today. While it was such a historic play, Harris actually doesn’t remember it. He discussed that play, and more, with Craig Wolfley in a 1-on-1 interview after the number retirement was announced:
“Here I am telling myself, go to the ball, run to the ball. After that, I remember nothing. Nothing. I remember nothing Wolf, how incredible is that?” Harris said to Wolfley. “I watched film because I remember nothing. I don’t see the collision, I have no memory of nothing. When I watch the film, I see the Raiders start celebrating a little bit. That two, three seconds [where they were celebrating] gave me enough time to get a head start to get into the endzone.
Wolfley played offensive guard for the black and gold in the 1980’s and nowadays, he’s known as the color commentator for the Steelers. He played and blocked for Harris for four years, as the running back made sure to thank Wolfley and all of his other teammates amid his recent honor.
Harris will be specifically honored on Christmas Eve this season against, coincidentally, the Las Vegas Raiders. The ceremony comes just one day after the 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception. The legendary running back becomes just the third Steeler to have his number retired according to ESPN. Ernie Stautner (No. 70) and “Mean” Joe Greene (No. 75) are the other two that Harris will join. The likes of Jack Lambert, Jack Ham, and many other Pittsburgh legends have yet to have their numbers retired.
How surprised were you about this announcement of retiring Harris’ number? Did they make the correct decision? Will you be at the game? Share your opinion on the recent announcement, as well as thoughts on Harris not remembering his legendary play!
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