Franco Harris

Franco Harris (born March 7, 1950) is a former American football fullback[1] who played professionally in the National Football League (NFL) for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks. He was picked by the Steelers in the first round of the 1972 NFL Draft, the 13th selection overall. He played his first 12 years in the NFL with the Steelers; his 13th and final year was spent with the Seahawks. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990.[2]

Franco Harris
Posed head-and-shoulders photograph of Harris wearing a black tuxedo and black tie
Harris in 2009
No. 32, 34
Position:Fullback
Personal information
Born:March 7, 1950 (age 69)
Fort Dix, New Jersey
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:230 lb (104 kg)
Career information
High school:Rancocas Valley Regional
(Mount Holly, New Jersey)
College:Penn State
NFL Draft:1972 / Round: 1 / Pick: 13
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing yards:12,120
Yards per carry:4.1
Rushing touchdowns:91
Receptions:307
Receiving yards:2,287
Receiving touchdowns:9
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Early life

Harris was born in Fort Dix, New Jersey. His African-American father served in World War II; his mother was a "war bride" from Italy.[3] Harris graduated from Rancocas Valley Regional High School in Mount Holly Township, New Jersey in 1968[4] and then attended Penn State University. While playing for Penn State's Nittany Lions, Harris served primarily as a blocker for the All-American running back Lydell Mitchell, though he amassed 2,002 yards rushing with 24 touchdowns and averaged over 5 yards per carry, while also catching 28 passes for 352 yards and another touchdown. He led the team in scoring in 1970.

  • 1969: 115 carries for 643 yards and 10 touchdowns. 12 catches for 189 yards.[5]
  • 1970: 142 carries for 675 yards and 8 touchdowns. 6 catches for 66 yards.
  • 1971: 123 carries for 684 yards and 6 touchdowns. 10 catches for 97 yards and 1 touchdown.

Professional career

In his first season with the Steelers (1972), Harris was named the league's Rookie of the Year by both The Sporting News and United Press International. In that season he gained 1,055 yards on 188 carries, with a 5.6 yards per carry average. He also rushed for 10 touchdowns and caught four touchdown passes. He was popular with Pittsburgh's large Italian-American population: his fans, including "Brigadier General" Frank Sinatra,[6] dubbed themselves "Franco's Italian Army" and wore army helmets with his number on them.

Harris was chosen for nine consecutive Pro Bowls (from 1972 through 1980), and was All-Pro in 1977. Harris rushed for more than 1,000 yards in eight seasons, breaking a record set by Jim Brown. The running back tandem of Harris and Rocky Bleier combined with a strong defense to win four Super Bowls following the 1974, 1975, 1978, and 1979 seasons. On January 12, 1975 he was the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl IX; in that game he rushed for 158 yards and a touchdown on 34 carries for a 16-6 win over the Minnesota Vikings. Harris was the first African American as well as the first Italian-American to be named Super Bowl MVP. Harris was a major contributor for the Steelers in all of their first four Super Bowl wins. His Super Bowl career totals of 101 carries for 354 yards are records and his four career rushing touchdowns are tied for the second most in Super Bowl history.

Harris claims he extended his career and thus his contribution to the team's objectives (including four Super Bowl victories) by avoiding unnecessary contact.[7]

1986 Jeno's Pizza - 46 - Terry Bradshaw (Franco Harris crop)
Harris rushing the ball for the Steelers in Super Bowl XIV

With the retirement of O.J. Simpson after the 1979 season, Harris became the career rushing leader among active players. Following the 1983 season, Harris and Walter Payton were both closing in on Jim Brown's NFL rushing record, and Harris asked the Rooney family for a pay raise. The Rooney family refused, believing that Harris was on the downside of his career, and Harris threatened to hold out. The Steelers released Harris in training camp in 1984 and he eventually signed with the Seattle Seahawks during the 1984 season.[8] He played just eight games with the team, gaining only 170 yards before retiring (192 yards short of Jim Brown's record).

In his 13 professional seasons, Harris gained 12,120 yards (then 3rd all-time)[9] on 2,949 carries, a 4.1 yards per carry average, and scored 91 rushing touchdowns (then also 3rd).[10] He caught 307 passes for 2,287 yards, a 7.4 yards per reception average, and nine receiving touchdowns. Harris's 12,120 career rushing yards rank him 12th all time in the NFL, while his 91 career rushing touchdowns rank him 10th all time tied with Jerome Bettis.[11]

Harris and the Rooneys reconciled after Harris retired; in 2006, during pre-game ceremonies for Super Bowl XL (the Steelers' second SB appearance – and first championship – since his retirement) honoring the MVPs of the previous 39 games, Harris waved a Terrible Towel while being introduced, much to the delight of the overwhelmingly pro-Steeler crowd. While the Steelers have only officially retired two uniform numbers (Ernie Stautner's number 70 and Joe Greene's number 75[12]), they have not reissued his number 32 since he left the team, and it is generally understood that no Steelers player will ever wear that number again.

Harris was a key player in one of professional football's most famous plays, dubbed "The Immaculate Reception" by Pittsburgh sportscaster Myron Cope. In a 1972 playoff game, the Oakland Raiders were leading the Steelers 7-6 with 22 seconds to play when a Terry Bradshaw pass was deflected away from intended receiver John "Frenchy" Fuqua right as defender Jack Tatum arrived to tackle Fuqua. Harris snatched the ball just before it hit the ground and ran it into the endzone to win the game. The Raiders challenged the touchdown, claiming that Fuqua had handled the ball before Harris, which would invalidate the score because at that time it was against the rules for two offensive receivers to touch the ball. The Steelers maintained that the ball had touched Tatum instead. According to a recounting by the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the film of the play is inconclusive.[13] Raiders linebacker Phil Villapiano attempted to criticize Harris's achievement by stating that he was only in position to catch the ball because he was lazy, but replays show that Harris headed downfield when the Raiders forced Bradshaw out of the pocket, and can be clearly seen running before catching the deflected ball.

FHarrisstatue
Statue of Harris making the "Immaculate Reception" at Pittsburgh International Airport.

In 1999, he was ranked number 83 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players. In 2006, The Heinz History Center, home of the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, installed a life-size figure of Harris in the grand concourse of Pittsburgh International Airport. The statue is a recreation of Harris's "Immaculate Reception." He was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2011.[14]

Post-football

Harris and Lydell Mitchell, successful college teammates at Penn State, now own Super Bakery, a company founded in 1990 to produce nutrition-oriented foods for schoolchildren. The business was renamed to RSuper Foods in 2006.[15] RSuper foods produces the Super Donut that has been served to students at public schools in the eastern United States.[16]

Harris and Mitchell also partnered in 1996 to rescue[17] the Parks Sausage Company in Baltimore, the first African-American owned business to go public in the U.S.[18]

Harris is also a paid representative for the Harrah's/Forest City Enterprises casino plan for downtown Pittsburgh.[19] This association has earned him the tongue-in-cheek nickname, "Franco Harrahs".

On July 9, 2006, Harris made an appearance in the 2006 Taco Bell "All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game" at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

In August 2008, Harris attended the 2008 Democratic National Convention, in Denver, Colorado, as part of the Pennsylvania delegation.[20] Harris voted for Obama on December 15, 2008, as one of Pennsylvania's 21 Democratic presidential electors.[21][22]

In January 2011, Harris became co-owner of the Pittsburgh Passion.[23]

In John Grisham's 2008 novel Playing For Pizza, the fullback of the Parma Panthers is nicknamed Franco as a tribute to his hero, Franco Harris, who he refers to as the "greatest Italian football player". This is a reference to Franco's mixed racial heritage.

Harris briefly worked with The Meadows Racetrack and Casino in 2011, before the casino suspended the relationship after Harris' comments in support of Joe Paterno, his coach while at Penn State, during the Penn State child sex abuse scandal.[24]

Personal life

Harris' brother Pete Harris, a collegiate All-American football player, died on August 15, 2006, of a heart attack at the age of 49.[25]

On July 27, 2009 Harris' son, Franco "Dok" Harris, officially announced his candidacy for Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh. He placed second in the general election on November 3 of that year, receiving 25% of the vote.[26]

Franco has served as part of the advisory board at Penn State's Center for Food Innovation, and in the fall of 2009 was named a Conti Professor by Penn State's School of Hospitality Management.[27]

Harris is involved in, and provides funding to, Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship, a group aimed at ousting the members of Penn State's board of trustees.[28]

Harris is depicted in a 2018 episode of the show This Is Us.

See also

References

  1. ^ "The 10 Greatest NFL Fullbacks in History", Sports Cheat Sheet, retrieved September 27, 2018
  2. ^ "Franco Harris Pro Football Hall of Fame", PFHoF, retrieved October 12, 2009
  3. ^ "Black and Gold Soul with Italian Legs", Sports Illustrated, December 11, 1972.
  4. ^ The Ultimate New Jersey High School Year Book. 1998.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 6, 2015. Retrieved May 16, 2015.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 9, 2019. Retrieved November 1, 2018.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "TSN Presents - Football's 100 Greatest Players". June 27, 2008. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  8. ^ "Franco Harris ended career with Seahawks - Boston.com". www.boston.com. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  9. ^ "NFL Career Rushing Yards Leaders Through 1984 - Pro-Football-Reference.com". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  10. ^ "NFL Career Rushing Touchdowns Leaders Through 1984 - Pro-Football-Reference.com". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  11. ^ NFL Rushing Leaders, archived from the original on August 10, 2009, retrieved October 12, 2009
  12. ^ Robinson, Alan. "Joe Greene only 2nd player in Steelers history to get number retired". TribLIVE.com. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  13. ^ "Football History - Pro Football Hall of Fame Official Site". www.profootballhof.com. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  14. ^ "Franco Harris to be inducted into NJ Hall of Fame - Philly". philly.com. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 11, 2012. Retrieved June 11, 2012.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ "Observer-Reporter - Google News Archive Search". news.google.com. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  18. ^ "Reading Eagle - Google News Archive Search". news.google.com. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  19. ^ Forest City Enterprises : Press Releases
  20. ^ AP News Wire, Associated Press News
  21. ^ [2]
  22. ^ "AP/Inquirer: Obama wins ... in a formality". philly.com. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  23. ^ "OWNERSHIP - Official Website of the Pittsburgh Passion Women's Football Team". March 29, 2013. Archived from the original on March 29, 2013. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  24. ^ Schilken, Chuck, "Franco Harris loses job for comments supporting Joe Paterno", Los Angeles Times, November 16, 2011 9:32 am. Retrieved November 22, 2011.
  25. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved February 13, 2007.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  26. ^ SUMMARY REPORT – Allegheny County – 2009 General Election, Allegheny County Board of Elections, November 3, 2009, archived from the original on November 8, 2009, retrieved November 4, 2009
  27. ^ "Conti Symposium to Focus on Healthy, Cost-Effective Food". hhdev.psu.edu. October 7, 2009. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
  28. ^ 200 flock to King of Prussia in support of Paterno, Philly.com

External links

1972 Oakland Raiders season

The 1972 Oakland Raiders season was the team's 13th season. The Raiders won the AFC West for the second time in three seasons. They lost in the AFC Division Round to the Pittsburgh Steelers when Franco Harris scored the game-winning touchdown on the Immaculate Reception. The Raiders still dispute that this was a legal touchdown to this day.

1972 Pittsburgh Steelers season

The 1972 Pittsburgh Steelers season was the team's 40th in the National Football League.

The team posted a record of 11–3 in 1972, and won their first-ever AFC Central Division title. It was the team's third-ever postseason appearance, its first postseason appearance in ten seasons (the Playoff Bowl for third place in the league), and only its second playoff game since 1947. This season is famous for the Immaculate Reception, where the Steelers beat the Oakland Raiders in the playoffs 13-7 on a last second touchdown by Franco Harris.

The rebuilding of the franchise that began in 1969 with the hiring of Chuck Noll finally came to fruition in his fourth year. After winning only one game in his first year in 1969 the team that showed steady improvement broke through in 1972 and made the playoffs for the first time since 1947. The division title was the first in team history, as was the appearance in the AFC Championship game which they lost to the undefeated Miami Dolphins 21-17. It was the first of 8 straight playoff appearances for the Steelers that led to 4 Super Bowl Championships.

1973 Pittsburgh Steelers season

The 1973 Pittsburgh Steelers season was the team's 41st season in the National Football League. The team finished second in the AFC Central division, but qualified for the postseason for the second consecutive season. The Steelers got off to a terrific start winning eight of their first nine games. However, a costly three game losing streak would put their playoff hopes in jeopardy. The Steelers would recover to win their last two games, but had to settle for a Wild Card berth with a 10-4 record. The Steelers would lose in the playoffs to the Oakland Raiders 33-14 in Oakland.

The 1973 Steelers' pass defense is arguably the greatest in the history of the NFL. Their defensive passer rating—the quarterback passer rating of all opposing quarterbacks throughout the season—was 33.1, an NFL record for the Super Bowl era.

According to Cold Hard Football Facts:

Pittsburgh's pass-defense numbers that year were stunning. Opposing passers compiled the following stat-line:

164 of 359 (45.7%) for 1,923 yards, 5.36 [yards-per-attempt], 11 [touchdowns] and 37 [interceptions]The figure that leaps screaming off the sheet is the amazing 37 picks in 14 games. The 2009 Jets, by comparison, allowed a puny 8 TDs in 16 games, but hauled in just 17 picks.

Pittsburgh's all-time best pass defense was an equal-opportunity unit: Mike Wagner led the team with 8 INT, but 10 other guys recorded at least one pick. Amazing. Eleven defenders boasted at least one INT for Pittsburgh that season. The entire starting secondary recorded 24 picks alone, and Hall of Fame cornerback Mel Blount was last on the list: Wagner (8), safety Glen Edwards (6), cornerback John Rowser (6) and Blount (4).

1974 Pittsburgh Steelers season

The 1974 Pittsburgh Steelers season was the franchise's 42nd in the National Football League. They impoved to a 10-3-1 record and culminated in a Super Bowl championship. The team became the first in the Steelers' 42-year history to win a league title following the franchise's greatest playoff run to that point.

1978 Pittsburgh Steelers season

The 1978 Pittsburgh Steelers season was the franchise's 46th season in the National Football League (NFL). The season concluded with the team winning Super Bowl XIII to become the first franchise in the NFL to win three Super Bowl titles. The championship run was led by quarterback Terry Bradshaw and the team's vaunted Steel Curtain defense. Bradshaw put together the best year of his career to that point, becoming only the second Steeler to win the NFL MVP award. Ten Steelers players were named to the Pro Bowl team, and four were judged as first-team All-Pros by the AP. Head coach Chuck Noll returned for his tenth season—moving him ahead of Walt Kiesling as the longest tenured head coach in the team's history to that point.The Steelers entered the season as defending champions of the AFC Central Division, coming off a 9–5 record in 1977. Despite winning their division, the previous season was a difficult one for the team (both on and off the field) which culminated in a division round playoff loss to the Denver Broncos on Christmas Eve.

The team began the 1978 season with seven straight victories, before losing to the Houston Oilers in prime time on Monday Night Football. They finished the season with a league-best 14–2 record, including a 5-game winning streak to close the season. This record assured them they would play at home throughout the 1978 playoffs. It was also the best record compiled in the team's history (since surpassed only by a 15–1 mark in 2004).The 1978 Steelers team was rated the thirty-fifth best team in the history of the NFL (to September 2015) by FiveThirtyEight, a polling aggregation and statistical service. The rating is based upon FiveThirtyEight's proprietary Elo rating system algorithm. Only two Steelers teams were rated higher: the 1975 team at twelfth and the 2005 team one slot ahead of the 1978 team at thirty-fourth.

1979 Pittsburgh Steelers season

The 1979 Pittsburgh Steelers season was the franchise's 47th season in the National Football League. The Steelers successfully defend their Super Bowl Championship from the previous year as they achieved a 12–4 record and went on to defeat the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl XIV. The Steelers started out to a 4-0 record. Adding to the previous season, the Steelers had won 12 in a row. They finished the regular season at 12-4. In six of those games the opponents were held to a touchdown or less. In the playoffs Pittsburgh defeated Miami, 34-14 and then for the second consecutive season beat Houston 27-13, in the AFC championship game. Finally defeating the Los Angeles Rams 31-19 in Super Bowl XIV.

With the win, and the Pittsburgh Pirates win in the 1979 World Series, Pittsburgh would be the last city to claim Super Bowl and World Series wins in the same year until 1986 when the New York Mets won the World Series in 7 games over the Boston Red Sox, and the New York Giants won Super Bowl XXI 39–20 over the Denver Broncos.

1983 Pittsburgh Steelers season

The 1983 Pittsburgh Steelers season was the franchise’s 51st season in the National Football League. They were good enough to win ten games and claim the AFC Central Division title over the 9–7 Cleveland Browns. The clincher came in the penultimate game of the regular season, against the New York Jets in what was the final NFL game to be played at Shea Stadium. But to Steelers fans, this was a game that always will be remembered as Terry Bradshaw’s final appearance at quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

2011 NHL Winter Classic

The 2011 NHL Winter Classic (known via corporate sponsorship as the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic) was an outdoor regular season National Hockey League (NHL) game, part of the Winter Classic series, played on January 1, 2011, at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The visiting Washington Capitals defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, 3–1. The game, rescheduled from its original 1:00 p.m. ET start time to 8:00 p.m. due to weather concerns, was telecast on NBC in the United States, and CBC (English) and RDS (French) in Canada. Pittsburgh native Jackie Evancho performed the Star Spangled Banner and Pittsburgh sports legends Mario Lemieux, Franco Harris and Jerome Bettis presided over the ceremonial dropping of the puck, and during the second intermission Harris and Bettis hosted a fan event at the outside rink.The 2011 Winter Classic was the second time the Penguins participated in an outdoor NHL game; the team previously visited the Buffalo Sabres for the inaugural Winter Classic in 2008. Most notably, the Classic pitted two recent number-one draft picks against each other: Capitals winger Alexander Ovechkin (2004) and Penguins center Sidney Crosby (2005); both players entered the league in the same year, 2005, due to the 2004–05 NHL lockout and contributed to a rivalry between the two teams that has been growing since the early 1990s.

Dan Radakovich (American football)

Dan Radakovich (born 1935) is a former NFL football player and later an offensive line coach who helped coach the Pittsburgh Steelers to multiple Super Bowl wins in the 1970s. He spent 48 years in collegiate and professional coaching before his retirement in 2008.

Radakovich graduated from Penn State in 1957, and immediately began working on the coaching staff of the Nittany Lions, which he continued until 1969. He went Cincinnati in 1970, but joined the Steelers in 1971.

Described as "lean, and blond, a center in his playing days", Radakovich was "a Western Pennsylvania guy who had been on Noll's staff in 1971 but resigned to take a coaching job in college football". Radakovich subsequently returned to working with professional football, where he helped persuade Chuck Noll to draft Franco Harris out of Penn State.

After a stint in Colorado, he coached the Steelers linebackers from 1974-1977. In 1978, Radakovich left Pittsburgh to work on the coaching staff of the San Francisco 49ers, then switched to the Los Angeles Rams in 1979. His last position was as an assistant with Robert Morris University.

Fred Swearingen

Fred Swearingen (September 25, 1921 - December 16, 2016) was a former official in the National Football League, serving as both a referee and field judge from 1960 through 1980. He wore uniform number 21 for the majority of his career.

Swearingen owned and operated Swearingen's Sporting Goods in Athens, Ohio, United States.

On December 23, 1972, Swearingen was the referee for an AFC Divisional Playoff game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Oakland Raiders at Three Rivers Stadium. The game is famous for a play known as the Immaculate Reception. With 22 seconds remaining and Oakland leading 7–6, Pittsburgh was on its own 40-yard line on 4th and 10. Terry Bradshaw threw to John "Frenchy" Fuqua, but safety Jack Tatum collided with Fuqua sending the ball wobbling backward. Rookie running back Franco Harris then scooped up the ball, running untouched into the end zone.

Under the rules of that time, there could not be a legal catch if the ball touched two offensive players in succession. If the ball either bounced off both Tatum and Fuqua, or hit only Tatum, the catch would be legal. Swearingen consulted with umpire Pat Harder and field judge Adrian Burk, but then went to a sideline phone to consult with NFL supervisor of officials Art McNally, who was in the press box. Swearingen emerged and made his ruling that the play was a touchdown. The Steelers went on to win 13–7.

Fullback (gridiron football)

A fullback (FB) is a position in the offensive backfield in American and Canadian football, and is one of the two running back positions along with the halfback. Typically, fullbacks are larger than halfbacks and in most offensive schemes their duties are split between power running, pass catching, and blocking for both the quarterback and the other running back.Many great runners in the history of American football have been fullbacks, including Jim Brown, Marion Motley, Jim Taylor, Franco Harris, Larry Csonka, John Riggins, Christian Okoye, and Levi Jackson. However, many of these runners would retroactively be labeled as halfbacks, due to their position as the primary ball carrier; they were primarily listed as fullbacks due to their size and did not often perform the run-blocking duties expected of modern fullbacks. Examples of players who have excelled at the hybrid running-blocking-pass catching role include Mike Alstott, Daryl Johnston, and Lorenzo Neal.

Immaculate Reception

The Immaculate Reception is one of the most famous plays in the history of American football. It occurred in the AFC divisional playoff game of the National Football League (NFL), between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Oakland Raiders at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on December 23, 1972. With the Steelers trailing in the last 30 seconds of the game, Pittsburgh quarterback Terry Bradshaw threw a pass attempt to John Fuqua. The ball either bounced off the helmet of Raiders safety Jack Tatum or off the hands of Fuqua, and, as it fell, Steelers fullback Franco Harris scooped it up and ran for a game-winning touchdown. The play has been a source of unresolved controversy and speculation ever since, as many people have contended that the ball only touched Fuqua or that it hit the ground before Harris caught it, either of which would have resulted in an incomplete pass by the rules at the time. Kevin Cook's The Last Headbangers cites the play as the beginning of a bitter rivalry between Pittsburgh and Oakland that fueled a historically brutal Raiders team during the NFL's most controversially physical era.NFL Films has chosen it as the greatest play of all time, as well as the most controversial. The play was a turning point for the Steelers, who reversed four decades of futility with their first playoff win ever, and went on to win four Super Bowls by the end of the 1970s.

The play's name is a pun derived from the Immaculate Conception, a dogma in the Roman Catholic Church. The phrase was first used on air by Myron Cope, a Pittsburgh sportscaster who was reporting on the Steelers' victory. A Pittsburgh woman, Sharon Levosky, called Cope before his 11 PM sports broadcast on the 23rd and suggested the name, which was coined by her friend Michael Ord. Cope used the term on television and the phrase stuck. The phrase was apparently meant to imply that the play was miraculous in nature (see Hail Mary pass for a similar term).

List of Pittsburgh Steelers first-round draft picks

The Pittsburgh Steelers, a professional American football team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, participated in the first NFL Draft prior to the 1936 season. The franchise changed its name to the Steelers prior to the 1940 season, to represent the city's heritage of producing steel.The event, which is officially known as the "Player Selection Meeting", is held each April. The draft is used as the primary means to distribute newly available talent (primarily from college football) equitably amongst the teams. Selections are made in reverse order based on the previous season's record, i.e. the club with the worst record from the previous season selects first. Through 2009, only two exceptions were made to this order: the Super Bowl champion always selects last (32nd), and the Super Bowl loser is awarded the penultimate (31st) pick. Beginning in 2010, teams making the playoffs will be seeded in reverse order depending upon how far they advance. The draft consists of seven rounds. Teams have the option of trading selections for players, cash and/or other selections (including future year selections). Thus, it is not uncommon for a team's actual draft pick to differ from their assigned draft pick, or for a team to have extra or no draft picks in any round due to these trades. The Steelers have traded away their first-round pick eight times; they have had two first-round selections in two drafts.

The Steelers' first selection in the inaugural NFL draft was William Shakespeare, a halfback from Notre Dame. The Steelers have selected first overall three times, drafting Bill Dudley in 1942, Gary Glick in 1956 and Terry Bradshaw in 1970. The team has selected second overall once, and third overall four times. Through 2009, seven Steeler first-round picks have gone on to have playing careers deemed worthy of enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Dudley, Len Dawson, Joe Greene, Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann and Rod Woodson. The team's most recent first-round selection was Terrell Edmunds, a safety from Virginia Tech.

Pittsburgh Passion

The Pittsburgh Passion is a women's American football team based in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. The franchise was formed in March 2002 and is currently owned by Teresa Conn, Anthony Misitano, and Franco Harris. The team is a part of the Women's Football Alliance, with home games played at West Allegheny High School in Imperial, Pennsylvania.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a professional American football team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers compete in the National Football League (NFL), as a member club of the league's American Football Conference (AFC) North division. Founded in 1933, the Steelers are the oldest franchise in the AFC.

In contrast with their status as perennial also-rans in the pre-merger NFL, where they were the oldest team never to win a league championship, the Steelers of the post-merger (modern) era are one of the most successful NFL franchises. Pittsburgh is tied with the New England Patriots for the most Super Bowl titles (6), and has both played in (16) and hosted more conference championship games (11) than any other NFL team. The Steelers have won 8 AFC championships, tied with the Denver Broncos, but behind the Patriots' record 11 AFC championships. The Steelers share the record for second most Super Bowl appearances with the Broncos, and Dallas Cowboys (8). The Steelers lost their most recent championship appearance, Super Bowl XLV, on February 6, 2011.

The Steelers, whose history traces to a regional pro team that was established in the early 1920s, joined the NFL as the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 8, 1933, owned by Art Rooney and taking its original name from the baseball team of the same name, as was common practice for NFL teams at the time. To distinguish them from the baseball team, local media took to calling the football team the Rooneymen, an unofficial nickname which persisted for decades after the team adopted its current nickname. The ownership of the Steelers has remained within the Rooney family since its founding. Art's son, Dan Rooney owned the team from 1988 until his death in 2017. Much control of the franchise has been given to Dan's son Art Rooney II. The Steelers enjoy a large, widespread fanbase nicknamed Steeler Nation. The Steelers currently play their home games at Heinz Field on Pittsburgh's North Side in the North Shore neighborhood, which also hosts the University of Pittsburgh Panthers. Built in 2001, the stadium replaced Three Rivers Stadium which hosted the Steelers for 31 seasons. Prior to Three Rivers, the Steelers had played their games in Pitt Stadium and Forbes Field.

Super Bowl IX

Super Bowl IX was an American football game played between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Pittsburgh Steelers and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Minnesota Vikings to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1974 season. The game was played on January 12, 1975, at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Steelers defeated the Vikings by the score of 16–6 to win their first Super Bowl championship.This game matched two of the NFL's best defenses and two future Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterbacks. Led by quarterback Terry Bradshaw and the Steel Curtain defense, the Steelers advanced to their first Super Bowl after posting a 10–3–1 regular season record and playoff victories over the Buffalo Bills and the Oakland Raiders. The Vikings were led by quarterback Fran Tarkenton and the Purple People Eaters defense; they advanced to their second consecutive Super Bowl and third overall after finishing the regular season with a 10–4 record and defeating the St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Rams in the playoffs.

The first half of Super Bowl IX was a defensive struggle, with the lone score being the first safety in Super Bowl history when Tarkenton was downed in his own end zone. The Steelers then recovered a fumble on the second half kickoff, and scored on fullback Franco Harris's 9-yard run. The Vikings cut the score, 9–6, early in the fourth quarter by recovering a blocked punt in Pittsburgh's end zone for a touchdown, but the Steelers then drove 66 yards on their ensuing possession to score on Larry Brown's 4-yard touchdown reception to put the game out of reach.

In total, the Steelers limited the Vikings to Super Bowl record lows of nine first downs, 119 total offensive yards, 17 rushing yards, and no offensive scores (Minnesota's only score came on a blocked punt, and they did not even score on the extra point attempt). The Steelers accomplished this despite losing starting linebackers Andy Russell and Jack Lambert, who were injured and replaced by Ed Bradley and Loren Toews for most of the second half. On the other hand, Pittsburgh had 333 yards of total offense. Harris, who ran for a Super Bowl record 158 yards (more than the entire Minnesota offense) and a touchdown, was named the Super Bowl's Most Valuable Player.

Super Bowl X

Super Bowl X was an American football game between the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Dallas Cowboys and the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Pittsburgh Steelers to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1975 season. The Steelers defeated the Cowboys by the score of 21–17 to win their second consecutive Super Bowl. They were the third team to win back-to-back Super Bowls. (The Miami Dolphins won Super Bowls VII and VIII, and the Green Bay Packers won Super Bowls I and II.) It was also the first Super Bowl in which both participating teams had previously won a Super Bowl, as the Steelers were the defending champions and the Cowboys had won Super Bowl VI.

The game was played at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida, on January 18, 1976, one of the first major national events of the United States Bicentennial year. Both the pre-game and halftime show celebrated the Bicentennial, while players on both teams wore special patches on their jerseys with the Bicentennial logo.

Super Bowl X featured a contrast of playing styles between the Steelers and the Cowboys, which were, at the time, the two most popular teams in the league. The Steelers, dominating teams with their "Steel Curtain" defense and running game, finished the regular season with a league best 12–2 record and defeated the Baltimore Colts and the Oakland Raiders in the playoffs. The Cowboys, with their offense and "flex" defense, became the first NFC wild-card team to advance to the Super Bowl after posting a 10–4 regular season record and postseason victories over the Minnesota Vikings and the Los Angeles Rams.

Trailing 10–7 in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl X, the Steelers rallied to score 14 unanswered points, including a 64-yard touchdown reception by Pittsburgh wide receiver Lynn Swann. The Cowboys cut the score, 21–17, late in the game with wide receiver Percy Howard's 34-yard touchdown reception, but Pittsburgh safety Glen Edwards halted Dallas' rally with an end zone interception as time expired. Swann, who caught four passes for a Super Bowl record 161 yards and one touchdown, became the first wide receiver to be named Super Bowl MVP.

Super Bowl XIII

Super Bowl XIII was an American football game between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Pittsburgh Steelers and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Dallas Cowboys to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1978 season. The Steelers defeated the Cowboys by the score of 35–31. The game was played on January 21, 1979, at the Orange Bowl in Miami, the fifth and last time that the Super Bowl was played in that stadium.

This was the first Super Bowl that featured a rematch of a previous one (the Steelers had previously beaten the Cowboys, 21–17, in Super Bowl X), and both teams were attempting to be the first club to ever win a third Super Bowl. Dallas was also the defending Super Bowl XII champion, and finished the 1978 regular season with a 12–4 record, and posted playoff victories over the Atlanta Falcons and the Los Angeles Rams. Pittsburgh entered the game after posting a 14–2 regular season record and playoff wins over the Denver Broncos and the Houston Oilers.

Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw, who was named Super Bowl MVP, completed 17 out of 30 passes for Super Bowl records of 318 passing yards and 4 touchdown passes. Bradshaw eclipsed Bart Starr's Super Bowl record for passing yards in the first half with 253 yards in the air as the Steelers led 21–14 at intermission. His 75-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter also tied Johnny Unitas in Super Bowl V for the longest pass in a Super Bowl. The Cowboys were able to stay close, only trailing 21–17 at the end of the third quarter, but Pittsburgh scored two touchdowns in a span of 19 seconds in the fourth period. Dallas also could not overcome turnovers, drops, and a controversial penalty during the second half. The Cowboys were eventually able to score two touchdowns in the final minutes of the game, but still ended up being the first defending champion to lose in the Super Bowl and the first losing Super Bowl team to score 30 points or more.

Super Bowl XIV

Super Bowl XIV was an American football game between the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Los Angeles Rams and the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Pittsburgh Steelers to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1979 season. The Steelers defeated the Rams by the score of 31–19, becoming the first team to win four Super Bowls. The game was played on January 20, 1980, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, and was attended by a Super Bowl record 103,985 spectators. This also became the first Super Bowl where the game was coincidentally played in the home market of one of the participants, as Pasadena is about 10 miles (16 km) northeast of Downtown Los Angeles. It was the last time the Rams made the Super Bowl while based in Los Angeles until LIII in 2018.

The Rams became the first team to reach the Super Bowl after posting nine wins or fewer during the regular season since the NFL season expanded to 16 games in 1978. Their 9–7 regular season record was followed by postseason wins over the Dallas Cowboys and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Steelers were the defending Super Bowl XIII champions, and finished the 1979 regular season with a 12–4 record, and posted playoff victories over the Miami Dolphins and the Houston Oilers.

Super Bowl XIV was a close game during the first three quarters. The Rams led 13–10 at halftime before Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw connected with wide receiver Lynn Swann on a 47-yard touchdown pass. Los Angeles regained the lead on a halfback option play with running back Lawrence McCutcheon's 24-yard touchdown pass to Ron Smith. But Pittsburgh controlled the fourth quarter, scoring 14 unanswered points with Bradshaw's 73-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver John Stallworth, and running back Franco Harris' 1-yard touchdown run. Despite throwing three interceptions, Bradshaw was named Super Bowl MVP by completing 14 of 21 passes for 309 yards and two touchdowns.

Franco Harris—awards, championships, and honors

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