The Pittsburgh Steelers selected running back Franco Harris on Feb. 1, 1972 in the first round of the NFL Draft. Harris, a running back out of Penn State, was the 13th overall pick.

Harris went on to a Hall of Fame career with the Steelers. He played 12 seasons in Pittsburgh and was part of four Super Bowl winning Steelers teams.

Harris was the MVP in SB IX, the Steelers first Super Bowl victory. In that game, he rushed for 158 yards and a touchdown in the Pittsburgh's 16-6 win over Minnesota.


Super Bowl IX box score -- Steelers 16, Vikings 6

From pro-football-reference.com


In his 13 seasons in the NFL (he played his final season in 1984 with the Seattle Seahawks), he rushed for 12,120 yards and 91 touchdowns.

He also had 307 receptions totaling 2,287 yards and nine TDs.

Franco Harris stats via pro-football-reference.com

Harris was involved in one of the most famous plays in NFL history, the Immaculate Reception. On Dec. 23, 1972, Harris caught a deflected pass and raced into the end zone to give the Steelers the deciding margin in a 13-7 win over the Oakland Raiders in an AFC Divisional Playoff game.

The play, which came of fourth down with 22 seconds left, was controversial because it was not clear whether the ball deflected off Harris' teammate Frenchie Fuqua or Raiders defensive back Jack Tatum. If it deflected from Fuqua to Harris the play would have been illegal under the rules at the time.

It was also unclear whether the ball touched the ground as Harris was reaching down to pull it in.

Here's video of the Immaculate reception.

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