NFL’s Greatest Play: The Immaculate Reception

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In the decades before 22-year-old rookie Franco Harris’ “Immaculate Reception—considered the greatest play in NFL history—the Pittsburgh Steelers were mostly awful. From its inception in 1933 to 1971, the team posted seven winning records and no playoff victories. 

“They were a poem that didn’t rhyme,” says Bill Hillgrove, the team’s longtime radio play-by-play broadcaster. “Hapless, helpless and hopeless,” says Pro Football Hall of Fame sportswriter and NFL historian Ray Didinger. 

In the 1960s, the Steelers bottomed out with records of 2-12 (1965), 4-9-1 (1967), 2-11-1 (1968) and 1-13 (1969). 



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