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Terry Bradshaw Knows Immaculate Reception Brought ‘A Whole New Audience’ To The Game Of Football

The football world woke up Wednesday morning to the tragic news that Steelers legend Franco Harris had passed away overnight at the age of 72. The timing of Franco’s passing couldn’t have been more shocking, with the 50th Anniversary of the Immaculate Reception and the retirement of his #32 jersey occurring on Christmas Eve Saturday night in a game where the Pittsburgh Steelers would face the Las Vegas Raiders in Pittsburgh, the same team that Harris made the greatest play in NFL history against a half a century ago: The Immaculate Reception

Franco’s former teammate and fellow Hall of Famer QB Terry Bradshaw went on GMFB on NFL Network this morning to speak to the cast about his relationship with Harris over the years and closed his time on the show highlighting the duo’s signature play back in 1972 and how that one play shaped brought so many people to the game of football and intensified the Steelers/Raiders rivalry.

“I think what happened because of the great John Madden and all that awesome football team that the Raiders had there be because of the immaculate reception, there became such a bitterness,” Bradshaw said on GMFB. “And that rivalry was much-watch TV. And from the good of that, not that we lost the following week to Miami at home. But the good of that was it drew such attention from all the fans around America and fans… people who weren’t even football fans. All of a sudden, a whole new audience joined in to watch the Steelers and the Raiders when we played, all because of the Immaculate Reception.”

No matter if you’re a teenager or are in your later stages of life, the Immaculate Reception will be remembered as one of the most iconic plays in NFL history throughout time. In fact, the National Football League voted the Immaculate Receptions as the greatest moment in NFL history back in 2020 when the league celebrated its 100th season. As Bradshaw mentioned above, while the Steelers didn’t go on to win the Super Bowl that season, that moment sparked a change in the culture of the organization and became the key turning point in the franchise’s history.

Bradshaw also mentioned how that one play sparked a heated rivalry between the Steelers and the Raiders as the two would battle to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl for a majority of the next decade, spanning from 1974-1980 with the Denver Broncos in 1977 being the only instance neither team made it to the big game during that timeframe. While the play became the birth of a dynasty for Pittsburgh, it became a pain point for the Oakland Raiders and specifically former HC John Madden who took that dark moment in his lustrous career to his grave.

The Immaculate Reception will live on as one of, if not the greatest play in NFL history. It sparked the Steelers’ dynasty of the 70s, propelling them to four Super Bowl championships and igniting a fan base that has become one of the most loyal and passionate in all of sports. Even 50 years removed from that moment, Bradshaw understands the magnitude of that play on various levels and how’s Franco’s memory will live on thanks to that defining play of his professional career.

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