The Steelers honor the late Franco Harris with an iconic first gesture

Pittsburgh Steelers players honored the late Franco Harris before their game Saturday night against the Las Vegas Raiders.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are set to honor the 50th anniversary of an immaculate reception during Saturday night’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders. The Steelers were set to retire running back No. 32 to Franco Harris, hero of the play that helped lead the team to a 13-7 victory over the Raiders in the 1972 AFC Champions League playoff game. He was scheduled to attend the ceremony, but died Tuesday night at the age of 72.

It’s a sad day in Pittsburgh, considering how much Harris is loved in the city and how much joy he brought them.

Before the game, Steelers players arrived at Acrisure Stadium wearing Harris’s number 32 jersey. Take a look at the video the team’s social media team posted to Twitter, which shows Minka Fitzpatrick, TJ Watt, and Kenny Pickett all wearing throwback jerseys with Harris’ number.

Steelers players honor Franco Harris with a pregame gesture

In a 1972 AFC Divisional Playoff game, Harris helped defeat the Raiders after catching a Terry Bradshaw pass intended for John Fuqua, which bounced off Jack Tatum’s helmet to secure a 13–7 Pittsburgh victory. Harris was just a rookie at the time of this game, and it was the beginning of a legendary 12-year career with the Steelers.

During his time with the team, Harris helped the team win four Super Bowl titles (9th, 10th, 13th and 14th). He was named Super Bowl 9 MVP after rushing for 158 yards and a touchdown on 34 carries in the 16-6 win over the Minnesota Vikings. Harris has been named to the Pro Bowl nine consecutive years since entering the NFL.

Overall, Harris recorded 11,950 rushing yards and 91 touchdowns on 2,881 carries over his 12 seasons in Pittsburgh.

Saturday is truly a sad day for the Steelers organization and fanbase, as they honor one of the faces of the franchise in Harris.

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