Legendary Pittsburgh Steelers Running Back Franco Harris Has Passed Away At The Age Of 72!

Franco Harris death

CBS Pittsburgh reports that Franco Harris, legendary running back for the Steelers and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, has passed away. He was 72.

The family of Harris has confirmed his passing at the station. There was no mention of what killed her.

After playing for Joe Paterno at Penn State, the Steelers selected the four-time Super Bowl champion and nine-time Pro Bowl selection with the thirteenth overall pick in 1972.

Harris had a legendary NFL career, where he led the Steelers in rushing with over 11,000 yards and was named Super Bowl IX’s Most Valuable Player.

Harris’ “Immaculate Reception” at Three Rivers Stadium in the 1972 Divisional Round of the Playoffs will live on in football lore forever. According to The Associated Press, it will be remembered as the greatest play in NFL history when the league celebrates its centennial in 2020.

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His Passing Comes Just Two Days Before The Play’s Golden Anniversary

Harris, who is already in the Steelers Hall of Fame, was set to have his #32 jersey retired by the team on Saturday. He would have joined Ernie Stautner and Joe Greene as the only players in franchise history to have their jerseys retired.

For Greene, Franco “was the heart and soul of our team,” as he put it in a tribute video for the Steelers.

His Passing Comes Just Two Days Before The Play's Golden Anniversary

A statement from Steelers president Art Rooney II reads, “It is difficult to find the appropriate words to describe Franco Harris’ impact on the Pittsburgh Steelers, his teammates, the City of Pittsburgh, and Steelers Nation.” “Franco made people happy on and off the field for 50 years, beginning with his rookie year and the Immaculate Reception. It’s impossible to count all the ways in which he’s helped others because he never stopped. He had a huge impact on people’s lives and was adored by many.

Harris was honored on social media by a wide range of athletes, coaches, and politicians. Vice President Biden reflected on why the team, and Franco in particular, “are close to my heart,” and he gave an emotional speech about it.

His first wife and infant daughter were killed and his two young sons were badly injured in a car accident while out getting a Christmas tree fifty years ago this week, he said in a statement released by the White House. “I was in Washington after being elected to the U.S. Senate, but I immediately flew back to my home state of Delaware when I got the news.

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“Until they were better, I hardly ever left my boys’ side. Yet, I did eventually make it out to the stores to shop for them. Since the accident, I hadn’t seen them smile until I returned.

The Steelers’ kind and upright owner, Art Rooney, had taken a flight out with a few of the team’s players, including Franco and the tenacious Rocky Bleier. They signed footballs for my boys, despite their busy schedules, and then they disappeared without a trace. This was a very kind gesture that meant a lot to us.”

Franco Harris, Steeler Who Caught Immaculate Reception, Dies

Fifty years ago, on a cold December day, the ball bobbed in the air, and 21 of the 22 players on the Three Rivers Stadium field essentially stopped.

The Pittsburgh Steelers running back kept going, following the instincts that had served him well throughout his life and Hall of Fame career and changing the perception of a struggling team and a depressed area.

Franco Harris, Steeler Who Caught Immaculate Reception, Dies

Before his arrival in 1972, the Steelers’ winning percentage was abysmal. After his shoe-top grab, henceforth known as the “Immaculate Reception,” became common parlance, they rarely lost.

Harris has passed away, and his innovative mind was responsible for the most memorable play in NFL annals. He was 72. Dok Harris, Harris’s son, told the Associated Press on Wednesday that his father passed away in the middle of the night. There was no information given regarding what caused death.

His death comes just three days before the Steelers are set to retire his No. 32 in a ceremony during halftime of their game against the Las Vegas Raiders, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the play that provided the jolt that helped transform the Steelers from also-rans into the NFL’s elite. Harris had been keeping busy in the days leading up to the party, giving interviews to various media outlets on Monday to discuss the event that would forever define him.

Final Words

Football fans in Pittsburgh and beyond were shocked by Franco Harris’s untimely death. One of the many people left reeling from the news was his longtime teammate Terry Bradshaw. According to Bradshaw, “he was seriously just a good guy,” on Wednesday’s episode of Good Morning Football. “He was never caught.


  • Karan Sirari

    I am an author and a public speaker. I was born in India and have travelled to many different countries. I have a masters in public communication from California University and I love to write about famous peoples from different industries.


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