Franco Harris began his pro football career as the Pittsburgh Steelers' No.1 pick and the 13th player selected in the 1972 NFL Draft. For 12 seasons, the 6-2, 230-pounder from Penn State was a big-yardage running back, a key man in the powerful Pittsburgh offensive machine, which also included an outstanding passing attack.
Harris established himself as a future superstar when he became only the fourth rookie in NFL annals to rush for 1,000 yards. He gained additional attention by being on the receiving end of the famous "Immaculate Reception" pass from Terry Bradshaw that gave the Steelers their first-ever playoff win, a 13-7 victory over the Oakland Raiders. In his 13 seasons, the last of which was spent with the Seattle Seahawks in 1984, Harris rushed 2,949 times for 12,120 yards and 91 touchdowns.
He rushed for 1,000 yards or more eight seasons and for more than 100 yards in 47 games. He also caught 307 passes for 2,287 yards and nine touchdowns. His career rushing total and his combined net yardage figure of 14,622 both ranked as the third highest marks in pro football history at the time of his retirement.
Harris, who was born in Fort Dix, New Jersey, on March 7, 1950, was an All-AFC choice in 1972, 1975, 1976, and 1977 and first- or second-team All-Pro six times. He was selected to nine Pro Bowls. Franco played in five AFC championships – missing a sixth because of injury – and four Super Bowls.
In Super Bowl IX, when the Steelers won their first-ever league title with a 16-6 victory over Minnesota, Harris rushed for 158 yards, compared to just 17 yards rushing for the entire Viking team. He was named the game's Most Valuable Player. Harris held numerous Super Bowl and postseason game records by the end of his career. The most notable included 24 points and 354 yards rushing in four Super Bowls and 17 touchdowns and 1,556 yards rushing in 19 postseason playoff games.
March 7, 1950
Fort Dix, New Jersey
Rancocas Valley Regional (Mount Holly, N.J.)
Elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame:
January 27, 1990
Enshrined into Pro Football Hall of Fame:
August 4, 1990
Presenter: Lynn Swann
, Former Steelers teammate
Other Members of Class of 1990: Buck Buchanan
, Bob Griese
, Ted Hendricks
, Jack Lambert
, Tom Landry
, Bob St. Clair
13 seasons, 173 games
1st round (13th player overall) in 1972 by Pittsburgh Steelers