New series we’re kicking off to pass the time during football’s offseason. Taking a look at the top ten effort plays in Pittsburgh Steelers’ history. Bit of a niche category but these are the moments where a player showed the fight or hustle no one expected.
I’m sure there are plenty I’ve missed so let me know your selections in the comments below. We’ll take this series two at a time, counting down the top ten until we reach #1. And we are at the final installment of the series. The top two effort plays in Steelers’ history. If you missed it, here are the previous moments in our countdown.
#2 – James Harrison And His Merry Band Of Blockers (2009)
You knew this one was making the list. You want to talk team effort? This was team effort. Harrison dropping into coverage to pick Kurt Warner, running 100 yards the other way to close out the first half, barely making it over the goal line before getting tackled. But he couldn’t have done it alone. He had a convoy, nearly every teammate throwing a key block to send Harrison on his way.
I recently pointed to this one by Troy Polamalu. We saw the impact guys like Woodley, Timmons, Keisel had on the return but had Troy not knocked Larry Fitzgerald out of bounds, Fitz is catching Harrison in time to tackle him.
Troy Polamalu had the most underrated block on Harrison's pick six. If he doesn't throw himself into Fitzgerald, knocking him out of bounds and slowing him up, Harrison isn't scoring. Effort from everyone on this play is amazing. #Steelers pic.twitter.com/PMZhQQyo9O
— Alex Kozora (@Alex_Kozora) May 12, 2020
But everyone played a role here. That was the only way for an out-of-breath linebacker to race the length of the field. And brought Pittsburgh their 6th Super Bowl. One of the top plays in not just franchise history but Super Bowl history.
#1 – The Immaculate Reception (1972)
It’s next to impossible to have a Steelers’ list and this play not show up on it. In improbability, outcome, and meaning, Franco Harris’ effort here checks every box. Staying with the play, catching the ricochet off Jack Tatum, and racing to the end zone. Which, by the way, included outrunning a final Raiders’ defender.
That moment didn’t lead in a Steelers’ Super Bowl but it created legitimacy and the blueprint for the dynasty. By the end of the 70s, Pittsburgh had four rings. Harris would make the Hall of Fame, this hustle play becoming one of the most iconic in football history.
Here’s a look at the original broadcast. Hope you guys have enjoyed the series. Let us know if you have any ideas for another “Top Ten” list we can tackle next.