Steelers Officially Retire Franco Harris’ #32 Jersey In Halftime Ceremony

Fifty years and one day after Pittsburgh Steelers legendary running back and Pro Football Hall of Famer Franco Harris punched his ticket into history with the Immaculate Reception in the AFC playoff win over the Oakland Raiders, the Steelers franchise officially retired Harris’ #32 jersey Saturday night at halftime of the Week 16 matchup against the now-Las Vegas Raiders on Christmas Eve.

In early September the Steelers and President Art Rooney II announced that the black and gold would celebrate Harris, his legendary play and his overall historic career by making him just the third player in franchise history — and the first offensive player — to have his jersey retired.

Sadly, Harris wasn’t able to see his #32 immortalized as the Steelers legend shocking died Tuesday night at 72 years old, just days before having his moment in the sun with the jersey retirement and the countless celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception.

Despite Harris’ death, the Steelers, Dana Dokmanovich and son Franco “Dok” Harris, as well as members of the ’72 Steelers, went forward with the halftime ceremony, immortalizing Harris forever.

“It wasn’t supposed to be like this. The big man was supposed to be standing right here next to me,” Rooney said to the crowd inside Acrisure Stadium Saturday night at halftime of the jersey retirement ceremony. “I want to present this number 32 jersey to Dana and Dok.”

As Rooney unfurled the 32 jersey emblazoned with Harris on the back, the crowd erupted in a “Franco! Franco! Franco!” chant while members of the ’72 team stood on the field twirling Terrible Towels. Rooney hugged Dokmanovich, who placed her head on his shoulder in an emotional moment.

Following the unveiling of the jersey, Acrisure Stadium played a video montage to Harris, who played 13 season with the Steelers and one eight-game season with the Seattle Seahawks. Harris, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990, finished his illustrious career with 12,120 yards and 91 touchdowns on 2,949 attempts, adding 2,287 receiving yards and nine touchdowns on 307 catches.

Of course, his career included him authoring the greatest play in NFL history as well.

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