Raiders players, coaches remember Franco Harris and the ‘Immaculate Reception’

Dec 22, 2022, 10:35 AM | Updated: 10:36 am

Former Pittsburgh Steelers players Franco Harris #32 and Rocky Blier #20 wave "Terrible Towels" as ...

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 23: Former Pittsburgh Steelers players Franco Harris #32 and Rocky Blier #20 wave "Terrible Towels" as they celebrate the Steelers 24-19 victory against the New York Jets during the 2011 AFC Championship game at Heinz Field on January 23, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, Franco Harris, a Pittsburg Steelers legend most associated with the Immaculate Reception, passed away at 72.

If you’re unfamiliar, on Dec. 23, 1972, in the AFC divisional playoff game against the Oakland Raiders, Harris caught a deflected pass from quarterback Terry Bradshaw and outran Raiders’ defenders to give the Steelers the win.

As fate would have it, the Las Vegas Raiders travel to Pittsburg to face the Steelers on the 50th anniversary of the play. Pittsburg already had plans to memorialize Franco by retiring his #32 during halftime of the game.

Before taking time to talk about their upcoming opponent, Josh McDaniels and several players from the Raiders organization shared their thoughts on Franco and his impact on the game.

Coach McDaniels said Wednesday the Immaculate Reception is a classic play in Steelers history.

“I think it’s appropriate for our entire organization to send condolences to Dana, his wife, and the Harris family and the entire Pittsburgh organization,” McDaniels said. “He obviously was an iconic player, Hall of Fame player and a great ambassador for our game and the league. We know what this weekend is the anniversary of, and obviously he played a significant role in the Immaculate Reception and all that. So, just want to make sure we pass along our condolences on Franco’s passing.”

Quarterback Derek Carr said Harris was still young and a dedicated ambassador to the game of football.

“Anytime someone loses a life, it puts things in perspective real quick, that we’re just playing a game. Obviously, there’s a lot riding on certain games and things like that, all the games and what we do and all that kind of stuff, but at the end of day it’s life. Someone lost their life, so your heart always goes towards their family, and I just hope that they’re doing okay, because that’s never easy. I’ve lost – we’ve all probably lost loved ones – and it’s never easy. No matter when or how old or how young, it’s never easy no matter what.”

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Raiders players, coaches remember Franco Harris and the ‘Immaculate Reception’