The Sports Archives Greatest Moments – Pittsburgh Steelers “Immaculate Reception”

One of the greatest moments in sports archives history happened on December 23, 1972, during the AFC divisional playoff game in Pittsburgh between the Steelers and the Oakland Raiders.

In an evenly played game, the Steelers took a 6-0 lead into the final 2 minutes until Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler found the end zone on a 30 yard run.  Trailing 7-6, the Steelers had the ball, 4th and 10, on their own 40 yard line with 22 seconds left and no timeouts.

Now, you’re thinking a sideline pass so the receiver can jump out-of-bounds to stop the clock, right?  Well, Terry Bradshaw, under pressure, throws over the middle to halfback John Fuqua, and the ball arrives at the same time Raiders safety Jack Tatum knocks Fuqua to the turf.  The ball controversially bounces off the duo before hitting the ground and is sent backwards end over end only to be scooped up inches from the ground, by none other than Steelers fullback Franco Harris. Harris had the ball and knew what to do with it.  He ran down the sideline, stiff-armed any Raider trying to cut him off and sealed the Raiders fate.

It took 15 minutes to clear the field so the extra point could be kicked.  The final score was Pittsburgh 13, Oakland 7 and the play became forever known as the “Immaculate Reception”.

Immaculate Reception

Statue of Franco Harris making "Immaculate Reception" at Pittsburgh International Airport.

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One Response to The Sports Archives Greatest Moments – Pittsburgh Steelers “Immaculate Reception”

  1. Pingback: The Sports Archives – How L.C. Greenwood impacted the NFL | The Sports Archives Blog

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