Three Rivers Stadium’s Greatest Play and Game
Since the Three Rivers Stadium was unveiled three decades ago, the Steelers have won five of their seven AFC Championship games on their home field. Among them, the most thrilling matchup for Steelers fans was their 1975 AFC Championship Game against Oakland Raiders in which they won 16-10 just three days after the New Year, 1976. This game also boasts in the greatest play in the history if the league, the Immaculate Reception, where halfback Franco Harris caught a ricocheted pass for a TD with only five seconds to go.
1975 AFC Championship > Pittsburgh 16, Oakland 10
Nicknamed the "IceBowl," because of the extremely hostile weather conditions, this was a hard-hitting game. In the fourth quarter, linebacker Jack Lambert recovered from two fumbles, which led to two TDs for the Steelers. Franco Harris and John Stallworth dashed for 25 yards and 20 yards respectively to win 16-10. At Super Bowl X, the Steelers clinched the NFL title for the second time in a row.
In the opening quarter, the Raiders defense kept the Steelers offense in their zone by intercepting two crucial passes. The Steelers capitalized on the first Raider’s turnover intercepted by Mike Wagner to score a 20-yard field goal. The Steelers missed two perfect opportunities to increase their lead with two crucial 44- and 48-yard attemptedfield goals in the third quarter. Harris scored the first touchdown with a 70-yard dash in the fourth quarter on their second play.
However, the Raiders cut the lead to three points when QB Ken Stabler made a superb 60-yard drive for a TD. The final score was decided by a fumble by the Raiders, which Jack Lambert seized for a perfect response. Harris mishandled the ball and the Raiders scored another field goal form 41 yards but time ran out on them.
The 'Immaculate Reception'
When the Steelers played against the Raiders in an AFC Divisional Playoff game just two days to Christmas in 1972, one play made history in the NFL. QB Terry Bradshaw passed the ball to John Fuqua frantically, which bounced into Harris’ well-placed hands for a 42-yard TD in Three Rivers Stadium.
To put the greatest play in NFL history into perspective, the Pittsburgh Steelers were only five minutes away from securing a win over the Oakland Raiders with a risky lead of only six points. The Raiders produced some remarkable determination to score, which led to a dozen plays that produced an impressive comeback to lead 7-6. With approximately one minute to go, Stabler scrambled his way to the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown to wrap up the game.
However, the Steelers reconvened astoundingly in their final play to produce one of the historical plays in NFL’s history so-called "Immaculate Reception." QB Bradshaw passed a long ball to teammate John "Frenchy" Fuqua; however, the ball bounced off into Harris’ hands as he dashed towards the end zone. The contentious issue with this play was whether the ball reverberated from the Steelers' John Fuqua or Jack Tatum of the Oakland Raiders.
When it comes to the game captains for Last Season Celebration today, the Steelers have produced four player from the Hall of Fame. They include CB Mel Blount (1970-83), LB Jack Lambert (1974-84), LB Jack Ham (1971-82), and RB Franco Harris (1972-83). Fans in attendance will receive a celebratory trading card and a corresponding pin at Three Rivers Stadium. Home Depot will also provide a souvenir seat cushion, with a logo “the Last Season at Three Rivers Stadium” printed on it. Hank Williams Jr. will sing the national anthem and the Baldwin High School Marching Band will take center stage before the game.





 


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