The Pittsburgh Passion honored Steelers legend Franco Harris during their 2023 season opener on Saturday night. Harris was a co-owner of the professional women’s football team.
The Passion released a statement on Twitter stating the following, “Tonight was a special night as we honored Franco Harris and the outstanding owner, mentor, coach, and hero he was both on and off the field. We miss you and love you Franco!”
To pay tribute to Harris, the players each took the field at the 32-yard line. Harris donned No. 32 throughout his 12 years in the Black and Gold. The Passion will wear special patches this season to honor Harris.
The Passion routed the Tampa Bay Inferno, 21-6, in their season opener to improve to 2-0 on the season. The Passion’s next game is on Saturday, May 13 against the Renegade in Boston. It’s a rematch of last year’s conference championship game.
Harris, the Hall of Fame running back who was the central figure in the Immaculate Reception, died on Dec. 20 at the age of 72. Harris’ unexpected death came just two days before the 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception and three days before his No. 32 jersey was set to be retired by the Steelers during a ceremony at halftime of its game against the Las Vegas Raiders. Harris’ No. 32 jersey is just the third number to be retired by the Steelers in their 90-year history, joining Joe Greene (No. 75) and Ernie Stautner (No. 70).
Harris was more than just a co-owner of the Passion. He was very hands-on and active in the development of the team. Co-owner Teresa Conn viewed him more as a mentor.
“He instantly became not just owner, but friend and coach and mentor,” Conn told Andrew Stockey of WTAE in December. “Probably mentor was the biggest one.”