Franco Harris' No. 32 Jersey to Be Retired by Steelers During Raiders Game

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 6, 2022

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 28: Hall of Famer Franco Harris speaks during round one of the 2022 NFL Draft on April 28, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
David Becker/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers will retire former running back Franco Harris' number 32 on Dec. 24 as part of a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception.

Pittsburgh Steelers @steelers

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Steelers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Steelers</a> President Art Rooney II just announced that <a href="https://twitter.com/francoharrishof?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@francoharrishof</a>'s No. 32 will be retired by the team at halftime of our Week 16 game against the Raiders. <a href="https://t.co/5KYLOxVLsR">pic.twitter.com/5KYLOxVLsR</a>

Harris played for the Steelers from 1972 to 1983, making nine Pro Bowl teams and helping guide Pittsburgh to four Super Bowls titles.

The then-rookie back propelled the Steelers to the first of those four Super Bowls against the Raiders on Dec. 23, 1972, when a desperation heave from Terry Bradshaw caromed off the helmet of safety Jack Tatum and into Harris' hands, allowing him to scamper into the end zone for a game-winning touchdown.

The play is, by all accounts, one of the most iconic moments in professional sports history. It made Harris an instant Pittsburgh legend, and he went on to rush for 11,950 yards and 91 touchdowns over his career with the Steelers. He remains the franchise's all-time leader in rushing yards and touchdowns.

While some fans will be shocked to learn Harris' number wasn't already retired by the Steelers, it was largely a formality. The team has several numbers that are unofficially retired—meaning the team doesn't use them but has not formally taken them off the table forever—and Harris' No. 32 was among those.

Ernie Stautner's No. 70 and Joe Greene's No. 75 were the only officially retired numbers before Tuesday's announcement.