The Tragic Death Of NFL Hall-Of-Famer Franco Harris

On December 21, 2022, it was reported that former Pittsburgh Steelers fullback Franco Harris died, per CBS News. The NFL Hall of Famer's son, Dok Harris, confirmed the death, telling The Guardian that Franco "died overnight." He was 72 years old, and the cause of death hasn't been revealed.

"The entire team at the Pro Football Hall of Fame is immensely saddened today," Jim Porter, Pro Football Hall of Fame president, said in a statement reported by Reuters. "We have lost an incredible football player, an incredible ambassador to the Hall, and most importantly, we have lost one of the finest gentlemen anyone will ever meet." Porter concluded his statement by saying that Harris' legacy will live on forever.

In September, it was announced by the NFL that the Steelers organization would be retiring Harris' jersey number, 32. A special halftime ceremony was planned during the December 24 game against the Raiders, which marks the 50th anniversary of the legendary "Immaculate Reception" that Harris is famously known for being part of.

Franco Harris was with the Pittsburgh Steelers for over a decade

Franco Harris was the Pittsburgh Steelers' fullback for over a decade, and he won the Super Bowl four times, but he's best known for a play famously named the "Immaculate Reception." According to the New York Post, Harris caught a ball thrown by Terry Bradshaw, and he ran it into the end-zone for the game-winning touchdown.

Because the ball bounced off of a Raiders' defender before the fullback got a hold of it, the play is still questioned by people on whether or not it should have counted as a touchdown. "What makes the play great is the mystery of it," NFL Network producer Neil Zender told USA Today. "The Raiders can see it as a crime, and the Steelers can see it as the hand of God."

Harris, though, didn't let people credit him for the incredible play. "You see, during that era, each player brought their own little piece with them to make that wonderful decade happen," he said in his Hall of Fame induction speech, per NFL. "It all came together, and it stayed together to forge the greatest team of all times." Now, the NFL and fans alike are grieving the devastating loss of the star fullback.