On Now
Coming Up
  • There are no Events to display in this category.

History

Immaculate Reception Notes

Rooney & Fuqua
To this day, the effusive Fuqua, now a product manager for the Detroit News, says that he knows what "really" happened on the amazing play.

But, says Frenchy, he has told only one other person - the late Art Rooney. And to this day, Fuqua remembers what Rooney told him: "Frenchy, let it stay immaculate."

The Rule
The wording from the 1972 NFL rule book that allowed Franco Harris' "Immaculate Reception" touchdown to stand: "If a defensive player touches pass first, or simultaneously with or subsequent to its having been touched by only one eligible offensive player, then all offensive players become and remain eligible."

Who Coined The Phrase "Immaculate Reception?"
Who used the term "Immaculate Reception" first? Michael Ord. Never heard of him? Myron Cope, the longtime Pittsburgh Steelers announcer hadn't either until his phone rang at the WTAE-TV studios the night of the game. It was moments before Cope was to go on the air with his report of the Steelers' improbable triumph. A woman by the name of Sharon Levosky said that her friend Michael had a suggestion for a name for Franco Harris' catch - the "Immaculate Reception." Cope loved it, used it on the air, and the rest is history.

Postgame Quotes
Raiders head coach John Madden: "We got fogged in at the start of the trip and nothing went right from then on. You play 21 ball games for this moment -- fourth down. Then the ball bounces off one man's chest into another man's arms and it's over. No tomorrow."

Steelers head coach Chuck Noll: "Franco made that play because he never quit on the play. He kept running, he kept hustling. Good things happen to those who hustle."

Raiders tackle Gene Upshaw: "It's a helluva way to lose. He just threw the ball up for grabs, a desperation pass, and it bounced into a guy's hands. One fluke play. I guess that's football, but I can't accept it."

Steelers center Ray Mansfield: "I went from the depths of despair to the apex of ecstasy."

Steelers defensive end L.C. Greenwood: "I didn't see the play. I was talking to the man upstairs. I didn't want to interrupt what I was doing. Next thing I know, the guys are jumping around and there goes Franco and I'm saying, 'Lord, I hope he has the ball.'"

Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw: "I've played football since the second grade and nothing like that ever happened. It'll never happen again."

Raiders tight end RAYMOND CHESTER: "I don't want to talk."

Immaculate Reception Trivia
FRANCO's ITALIAN ARMY: Many of the Steelers had their own fan clubs ("Frenchy's Foreign Legion," "Bradshaw's Brigade," "Gerela's Gorillas," "Ham's Hussars"), but none had a bigger following than Franco Harris and his "Franco's Italian Army" (Harris is part African-American, part Italian).

On the day of the game, the real Army showed up outside Three Rivers Stadium, with two jeeps and a two-and-a-half-ton truck with a 105-mm howitzer attached. The reason? SGT. Harry Billings thought it would be a perfect day for a recruiting drive. Especially since three members of his 107th Field Artillery unit were playing for the hometown team - center Jim Clack, defensive end L.C. Greenwood and tackle John Kolb.

FROM FRANK TO FRANCO: Forty-five minutes after the game, a telegram arrived in the Steelers locker room. It said, "The following is an order: Attack, attack, attack, attack." It was signed, "Colonel Francis Sinatra (of Franco Harris' Italian Army)."

AN NFL RECORD?: It was almost as if a fifth quarter was added to the game. What might be the longest time period in NFL history between the scoring of a touchdown and the kicking of an extra point took place after Harris' score. It took a full 15 minutes to clear the field of fans so Roy Gerela could kick the PAT. "I don't remember how long it took them to clear the field," said Steelers linebacker Andy Russell, "but for all I cared, they could have taken a week."

Play-By-Play Of Steelers' Final Drive
Down Ball On Play
First-and-10 Steelers 20 Bradshaw passes to Harris for 9 yards.
Second-and-1 Steelers 29 (0:53 left) Bradshaw passes to Fuqua for 11 yards.
First-and-10 Steelers 40 (0:37) Bradshaw's pass for McMakin broken up by Tatum.
Second-and-10 Steelers 40 (0:31) Bradshaw's pass for Shanklin incomplete.
Third-and-10 Steelers 40 (0:26) Bradshaw's pass for McMakin broken up by Tatum.
Fourth-and-10 Steelers 40 (0:22) Bradshaw's pass for Fuqua broken up by defender. Ball bounces off Tatum into hands of Harris who runs into end zone for a 60-yard touchdown at 14:55. Gerela kick.