President Art Rooney II announced on Tuesday afternoon that the Steelers will retire Harris’ number during their Week 16 game (Dec. 24) against the Las Vegas Raiders.
“I am thrilled we are going to honor Franco with this recognition by retiring his No. 32 jersey,” Rooney said in a statement. “This is the 50th anniversary of one of the most memorable plays in NFL history; one that changed the course of our success with his ‘Immaculate Reception’ in 1972.
“My Grandfather was once quoted as saying: ‘Before Franco got here, we didn’t win much, since he got here, we don’t lose.’ I think that sums it up pretty good. Franco’s impact on the franchise would be hard to overstate. That is why I think it is fitting and appropriate that we recognize Franco’s remarkable career by retiring his Number 32 at our game on December 24.”
Harris, who caught the “Immaculate Reception” in a 1972 AFC Divisional Round win over the Raiders, spent 12 of his 13 NFL seasons in black and gold. He averaged 995.8 rushing yards and 7.6 rushing touchdowns per season in Pittsburgh, while helping the franchise win four Super Bowls. The nine-time Pro Bowler was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990.