This week Steelers Nation was gearing up to have a celebration Immaculate Reception, a play that put the Pittsburgh Steelers on the map as the franchise of the future. We were supposed to be celebrating the legacy of the greatest Steeler’s RB in franchise history. Instead, today we were confronted with the news that Franco Harris died.
When I got the news, I couldn’t believe it. For me personally, it felt like the death of my childhood. Yeah, I was only 2 years old and way too young to remember Franco’s rookie season. However, I grew up playing football and that meant watching Franco Harris shred defenses with gaping holes and sprinting into the end zone week after week. Winning 4 Super Bowls in 6 years, Franco was the standard when it came to an NFL RB. Franco was the only RB I ever knew.
This week we were ready to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception, setting the standard for unbelievable game ending plays and the Pittsburgh Steelers first ever playoff win.. While Franco will forever be linked to that play, his career is much more incredible. He was on a team that won 4 super bowls. He has the most rush yards and 2nd most rushing TDs in super bowl history. He has the 2nd most rushing TDs and rushing yards in NFL playoff history. He won 470 games in his career.
The fans embraced Franco. As evidence I produce the emergence of Franco’s Italian Army. The first is a series of great nicknames for the emerging Super Steelers of the 70’s. Check out this story of how Myron Cope managed to get Frank Sinatra to be the General in Franco’s Italian Army.
So while we will personally mourn the death of a Pittsburgh Steeler icon and legend of the game, we also will be honoring the legacy he leaves. This Saturday, Steelers Nation, get out your Terrible Towel and as you wave it to honor the event and man, use that same towel to wipe away your tears as they raise his jersey to the rafters and remember the great man that he was.
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