Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey has declared Saturday as Franco Harris Day in the City of Pittsburgh, he announced.
“Today the Steelers will retire Franco Harris’ #32 Jersey,” Gainey wrote. “Franco was a living legend from the Immaculate Reception to his work as an ambassador for Pittsburgh — Franco always showed up. Therefore I declare today Franco Harris Day.”
The gesture from Gainey comes after Harris’ untimely passing earlier in the week. As mentioned, the Steelers will not only celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception, but they will retire Harris’ No. 32. Up until this point, no one would be given the number, but it will become the third number retired in the team history, joining Ernie Statuner’s No. 70 and Joe Greene’s No. 75.
Harris is the famed recipient of the Immaculate Reception, perhaps the greatest play in NFL history. It jumpstarted a period of dominance for Pittsburgh when they would win four Super Bowls in the 1970s. Without Harris, that stretch may very well not happen.
The honor of it becoming ‘Franco Harris Day’ in Pittsburgh is an honor bestowed upon few. But in this case, Harris is more than deserving of such recognition. The Steelers will play against the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday as they try to pull out their seventh win of the season.