Pittsburgh Steelers nice Franco Harris, who was arguably finest identified for one of the iconic performs in NFL historical past – dubbed the “Immaculate Reception” – has died on the age of 72, the Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame introduced on Wednesday.
Harris died in a single day, the Corridor of Fame mentioned, citing his household. The reason for his demise hasn’t been introduced.
“We have now misplaced an unimaginable soccer participant, an unimaginable ambassador to the Corridor and, most significantly, we’ve got misplaced one of many best gents anybody will ever meet,” mentioned Corridor of Fame President Jim Porter.
“Franco not solely impacted the sport of soccer, however he additionally affected the lives of many, many individuals in profoundly constructive methods.
“The Corridor of Fame and historians all over the place will inform Franco’s soccer story endlessly. His life story can by no means be instructed totally, nonetheless, with out together with his greatness off the sphere.”
Harris died days earlier than the fiftieth anniversary of the “Immaculate Reception,” a game-winning landing catch which led the Steelers to victory over the then Oakland Raiders 13-7 for Pittsburgh’s first-ever playoff recreation within the 1972 AFC Divisional Spherical.
“That play actually represents our groups of the ’70s,” Harris recalled after the reception was voted the best play in NFL historical past in 2020 in the course of the league’s a hundredth anniversary season.
The Steelers had deliberate to retire Harris’ quantity 32 jersey throughout halftime of their recreation towards the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday.
“The profession that it spawned in Franco, a gold jacket profession,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin mentioned Tuesday.
“What it did for them that season by way of the trajectory of the season. What it’s executed for this franchise. There’s many issues that make it the play that it’s. Probably the most important play within the historical past of the sport.”
Drafted out of Penn State because the thirteenth decide within the 1972 NFL Draft, Harris shortly grew to become a star for the staff, successful the NFL’s Rookie of the 12 months after turning into solely the fourth rookie in NFL historical past to hurry for 1,000 yards.
In his profession, Harris was a four-time Tremendous Bowl champion, successful MVP honors in Tremendous Bowl IX after dashing for 158 yards within the recreation towards the Minnesota Vikings to assist the Steelers seize their first-ever league title.
Working again Harris retired after 13 seasons – 12 with the Steelers and one with the Seattle Seahawks.
The nine-time Professional Bowler rushed for a minimum of 1,000 yards in eight seasons, amassing 12,120 dashing yards and 91 touchdowns in his profession.
He was enshrined into the Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame in 1990.