NFL: A little Steelers magic for the Franco Harris tribute evening

Pittsburgh took the lead for the first time in the game with 46 seconds on the clock to earn a dramatic 13-10 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday in a night dedicated to running back Franco Harris, whose No. was retired by the Steelers.

Harris’ number was retired in a bittersweet half-time ceremony, three days after the 72-year-old principal died.

The ceremony had long been planned by the Steelers, who wanted to honor Harris the day after the 50th anniversary of his famous “Immaculate Reception”, which had given victory to Pittsburgh in a playoff match against these same Raiders in 1972.

Harris’ widow, Dana Dokmanovich, and their son, Dok, joined Steelers president Art Rooney II on stage as many of Harris’ former teammates, coaches and rivals-turned-friends stood nearby.

“It wasn’t supposed to go like this,” Rooney said into the microphone. The ‘big guy’ was supposed to be with us tonight. Franco brought us joy for 50 years. In recognition of his vast contribution on and off the field, I declare his number 32 officially retired. »

Throughout the night, the Steelers honored one of their stalwarts during the ’70s dynasty. Several players wore replica Harris jerseys as they entered the stadium and during warmups. Their retro-style uniform featured a crest commemorating the 50th anniversary of what was voted in 2020 as the most famous game in NFL history.

Defensive co-captain Cam Heyward carried a huge black flag with the number 32 during pregame introductions. The Steelers held a moment of silence for Harris before kickoff.

Steelers rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett, whose selection 20th overall in the last draft was announced by Harris, even shouted “Franco!” Franco! during his pace before getting a first down on the ground during the second quarter.

Harris is the third Steelers player to have his number retired. The team retired lineman Ernie Stautner’s number 70 in 1964 and defensive lineman Joe Greene’s number 75 in 2014. All three players are members of the Football Hall of Fame.

The Steelers save the best for last

On the field, the fans gathered at Acrisure Stadium were not treated to a great game until the last push of the Steelers (7-8), who kept their chances of making the playoffs with this victory.

Held in check so far and regaining the ball with 2:55 to go with a four-point deficit, the Pittsburgh offense has covered 76 yards in 10 plays. The streak concluded with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Pickett to George Pickens.

Cameron Sutton then sealed the outcome of the match by intercepting a pass from Derek Carr.

Najee Harris had 53 rushing yards and 42 receptions. He particularly distinguished himself with a few key wins during the sequence leading to Pickens’ touchdown.

“It was an incredibly special night,” Pickett said after the game. This game was dedicated to Franco and we felt he was with us. We saw it well on this last sequence when Najee made big plays. It was very special. »

The Raiders (6-9) scored their only touchdown in the first stretch of the game when Carr joined Hunter Renfrow for 14 yards.

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