ON THIS DAY: December 23, 1972 Franco Harris’ Immaculate Reception

The Oakland Raiders and their fans will say that it wasn’t a catch..that it hit Jack Tatum which would make the reception illegal. While other sceptics will say it was manufactured on the same stage where they filmed the moon landing. But us as Pittsburgh Steelers fans know the real.

It was 43 years ago. The Steelers were on their own 40 yard line facing 4-10 with just 22 seconds on the clock, trailing the Readers 7-6 in the divisional playoff round. Owner Art Rooney was already on his way to the locker room to console his players when Terry Bradshaw threw a pass intended for John (better known as “Frenchy”)Fuqua at the Oakland 35. Raiders hard hitting safety, Jack Tatum slammed into Fuqua and the ball went flying backwards. Harris grabbed it his shoe top just before it hit the ground and ran 42 yards for a touchdown. “HISTORY IN THE MAKING”! Right?

The question still remains did the ball hit Tatum? Back in those days the rules stated that the football could not be touched by consecutive offensive players. After referee Fred Swearingen consulted with NFL supervisor of officials Art McNally in the press box, it was ruled a touchdown. The Steelers walked away victorious with their very first playoff win in the team’s history, only to wind up losing to the Miami Dolphins the following week.

No matter though, because the Steelers of the 70’s would go on to win four Super Bowl Championships in 1974, 1975, 1978 and 1979..forging the greatness that we witness playing week after week every NFL season today. #HereWeGo