In 1972, the Pittsburgh Steelers completed their fortieth season by advancing to the playoffs for only the second time. Their first postseason appearance had been brief (a 21-0 loss to Philadelphia in 1947), and these Steelers seemed headed for a similar fate.

With 22 seconds left in an AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh trailed the Oakland Raiders, 7-6 and faced fourth-and-10 from its 40-yard line. Art Rooney, the club's owner and founder, headed down the elevator to the locker room to console his team, thereby missing one of the wackiest plays and one of the most fantastic finishes in NFL history.

Pittsburgh quarterback Terry Bradshaw dropped back to pass, but the Raiders flushed him out of the pocket to the right. He saw running back John (Frenchy) Fuqua over the middle at the Raiders' 35, and with defenders closing, Bradshaw fired a pass toward Fuqua.

Fuqua, Raiders safety Jack Tatum and the ball converged simultaneously, and out popped the ball. The Raiders began to celebrate, not realizing that rookie running back Franco Harris, trailing the play at the Raiders' 42, had picked the ball out of the air at his shoe tops and taken off down the left sideline. Some Raiders gave chase, but they could not stop Harris from running to the end zone.

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