Hall of Famer Franco Harris Dies
PITTSBURGH -- Franco Harris, the Hall of Fame running back whose heads-up thinking authored the "Immaculate Reception," considered the most iconic play in NFL history, has died. He was 72.
Harris' son, Dok, told The Associated Press his father died overnight. No cause of death was given.
His death comes two days before the 50th anniversary of the play that provided the jolt that helped transform the Steelers from also-rans into NFL elite and three days before Pittsburgh is scheduled to retire his No. 32 during a ceremony at halftime of its game against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Not only did Franco Harris snag the Immaculate Reception, he also was a part of four Super Bowls and was the Super Bowl IX MVP. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990.
Eight times he topped 1,000 yards rushing in a season, including five times while playing a 14-game schedule. He piled up another 1,556 yards rushing and 16 rushing touchdowns in the playoffs.
Harris ran for 12,120 yards and won four Super Bowl rings with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970s, a dynasty that began in earnest when Harris decided to keep running during a last-second heave by Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw in a playoff game against Oakland in 1972.