Mike Tomlin: Steelers 'Wanted to Honor' Franco Harris with Win over Raiders

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVDecember 25, 2022

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - DECEMBER 24: Head coach Mike Tomlin # of the Pittsburgh Steelers on the sidelines during the fourth quarter against the Las Vegas Raiders at Acrisure Stadium on December 24, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
Justin Berl/Getty Images

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin had more than just getting a win on his mind during Saturday's game against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk relayed postgame comments from Tomlin, who wore the legendary Franco Harris' No. 32 jersey:

"We had a chance to be a part of Steeler history tonight. We don't take that lightly. We're so appreciative of the ground that's been laid by those who have come before us, men like this man whose jersey that I'm wearing right here. We get to enjoy the fruit of their labor daily. Just in terms of the standard of expectation here in Pittsburgh, the relationship we have with our fan base. We just wanted to honor him, his teammates, and all the men who came before us who have made the black and gold what it is."

Harris died Wednesday at age 72 just days before Pittsburgh was to retire his number and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception during Saturday's game.

The Immaculate Reception is arguably the most famous play in NFL history. Harris caught the game-winning touchdown pass in the 1972 AFC divisional round matchup against the Raiders after safety Jack Tatum tried to break up a pass from Terry Bradshaw to Frenchy Fuqua. Harris grabbed it just before it hit the ground.

Pittsburgh won in dramatic fashion Saturday as well with Kenny Pickett finding George Pickens for the winning 14-yard score in the final minute of the 13-10 victory. It improved to 7-8 overall and 4-1 in the last five, staying barely alive for a playoff berth.