At this exact location, one play changed the history of a storied franchise. The Immaculate Reception is a play that forever will be remembered as the turning point for the Pittsburgh Steelers, a moment that clinched the first playoff win in their history and was the first step toward becoming the dominant NFL team of the era.
The game, at Three Rivers Stadium, was a defensive struggle between the Steelers and the Oakland Raiders, and its outcome spawned a bitter rivalry between the teams that endured through the 1970s.
With 22 seconds remaining and the outcome of the game on the line, what happened next instantly became the most significant play in Steelers' history, and it subsequently was named the greatest play in NFL history.
The stage was set. Fourth-and-10 at the Steelers' 40-yard line. Oakland 7, Pittsburgh 6, Terry Bradshaw scrambled out of the grasp of a pass-rusher and fired a pass toward Frenchy Fuqua, and the ball arrived at the same time as Raiders Safety Jack Tatum. There was a fierce collision and the ball was caught out of the air by Franco Harris, who was hustling downfield on the play. Harris ran away from one tackler and stiff-armed another on the way to the end zone for the game-winning touchdown. There was a mass celebration on the field because the Pittsburgh Steelers had won their first playoff game in francise history.
On this site on December 23, 1972, the Immaculate Reception thrilled a city, charted a course to multiple Super Bowl championships for the franchise, and gave birth a nation of fans that grows larger each year.