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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Harris makes the Immaculate Reception
By Larry Schwartz
Special to ESPN.com


Dec. 23, 1972

When Oakland's Ken Stabler snakes down the sideline with 73 seconds left to give the Raiders a 7-6 lead, it almost looks as if the Pittsburgh Steelers need a miracle to pull out the AFC semifinal playoff game.

With seconds to go, they get it. They are on their own 40 when quarterback Terry Bradshaw fires downfield to a secondary receiver, halfback Frenchy Fuqua. Raiders safety Jack Tatum clobbers Fuqua, and the ball bounces seven yards back, where running back Franco Harris just happens to be. The big rookie catches the deflection and races 42 yards into the end zone with five seconds left to provide the Steelers with a 13-7 miracle victory.

Tatum argues that he didn't touch the ball, that the ball bounced off Fuqua and that the play is illegal. (At the time the rule is that no two receivers can touch the ball consecutively on the same play.) Raiders coach John Madden, though, indicates that from his view the ball had touched Tatum.

The play will forever be known as "The Immaculate Reception."





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