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Franco Harris ‘A Football Life’ Premieres on Friday



Steelers RB Franco Harris

“A Football Life” episode featuring Franco Harris will air on the NFL Network on Friday at 9 p.m. ET. The premiere is the same day as the 50th Anniversary of the Immaculate Reception, one of the most iconic plays in the history of the National Football League. The show is part of a week-long celebration of the anniversary, which will conclude with the Pittsburgh Steelers playing the Las Vegas Raiders on Christmas Eve at Acrisure Stadium.

“If I was one step later, if I was one step faster, it would have never happened. The timing was just immaculate,” Harris said in the episode, which was provided to Steelers Now.

UPDATE: Early Wednesday morning, news broke that Franco Harris has died at 72 years old

Harris’ stunning 60-yard catch-and-run touchdown to defeat the Raiders in the final seconds of the 1972 AFC divisional round game has consistently been voted the greatest play in NFL history over the last five decades.

The Immaculate Reception is considered the moment that turned the Steelers franchise around, as Pittsburgh never won a playoff game in their 40 years of existence prior to Harris’ miraculous play. Pittsburgh lost to the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Championship game the following week, but the Steelers would go on to become the team of the 1970s, winning four Super Bowls in six years.

“Franco was the heart and soul of our team,” Hall of Famer and Steelers legend Joe Greene said during the show. “When Franco arrived, we became the Pittsburgh Steelers.”

Former teammates Terry Bradshaw, Mel Blount, Jack Ham, and Rocky Bleier are also showcased in the episode, sharing their stories and memories of Harris’ Hall of Fame career. Current Steelers running back Najee Harris even appeared on the show.

“Franco is a legend,” Harris said. “You’re going to be remembered by the games and the moments you had, just like we’re still talking about the Immaculate Reception to this day.”

Along with capturing the Immaculate Reception and the Steelers’ dominance of the 1970s, the episode also features Harris’ time growing up in Mount Holly, New Jersey, his career at Penn State, the “Italian Army” and resurrecting the historic Crawford Grill in the Hill District neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

“That Italian Army thing, man. That was strong,” Blount said about the Italian Army, which was a fan club that honored Harris’ Italian heritage.

“There was an excitement at the stadium on game day that was just uncommon,” Greene added.

Harris will be the 11th Steelers related “A Football Life” episode, following features on the Immaculate Reception, Joe Greene, Jerome Bettis, Chuck Noll, Kevin Greene, Lynn Swann and John Stallworth, Bill Cowher, Terry Bradshaw, James Harrison, and Rod Woodson.

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