This Day In Sports History (December 23rd) — Immaculate Reception
It was on this day in 1972 that the Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders played in the AFC Divisional playoff game at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The game is most remembered for the “Immaculate Reception” made by Steelers running back Franco Harris.
The play occurred when the Steelers faced a fourth-and-10 from their own 40-yard line with 22 seconds remaining, no time-outs and trailing 7-6. Quarterback Terry Bradshaw dropped back to pass and under great pressure threw up a ball intended for halfback John Fuqua. Oakland safety Jack Tatum collided with Fuqua just as the ball arrived, which sent Fuqua to the ground as the ball rebounded back in the other direction. Being in the right place at the right time, Pittsburgh running back Franco Harris scooped up the ball just before it hit the ground and ran it in for a touchdown to give the Steelers the 13-7 victory.
The play is regarded as one of the greatest and most controversial in all of sports history. NFL Films agreed, naming it both the greatest and most controversial play in NFL history.
Here is the infamous “Immaculate Reception.”
Jim Harbaugh, NFL – Born December 23rd 1963 (age 50) in Toledo, Ohio
Scott Gomez, NHL – Born December 23rd 1979 (age 34) in Anchorage, Alaska
Hanley Ramirez, MLB – Born December 23rd 1983 (age 30) in Samana, Dominican Republic