Franco Harris, one of the greatest members of the 1970s Super Steelers who won four Super Bowls in six years and set the standard for all future NFL dynasties, has died at the age of 72.
Early Wednesday morning, multiple reports confirmed the Steelers community lost Harris on Tuesday, but the cause of death is not yet known.
This weekend was to commemorate the 50th anniversary of perhaps the greatest play in NFL history: the Immaculate Reception — The disputed play in the 1972 playoffs against the Oakland Raiders in which QB Terry Bradshaw’s attempted pass for Frenchy Fuqua caromed off defender Jack Tatum to Harris, who ran for a touchdown on the final play of the game. The Steelers trailed 7-6 but won 13-7.
It was the turning point for the long-suffering Steelers franchise, but famously, owner Art Rooney Sr. did not see the play. He was in the elevator on the way to the locker room.
Before retiring in 1984, Harris finished just short of becoming the NFL’s all-time leading rusher. He trailed Jim Brown by only 192 yards.
Franco Harris was drafted by the Steelers from Penn State in 1972. He remained a prominent figure in the Pittsburgh community with multiple business interests and many public appearances. His No. 32 was to be retired as part of the upcoming celebrations. The story is breaking, and more details will be added as more is known.
The Sports Now Group, including the staff of Steelers Now, sends our deepest condolences to the Harris Family, as well as everyone mourning the loss.