As if next Sunday's game didn't have enough meaning as it is, there's a little bit extra spice to it. "The Immaculate Reception", one of the most famous plays in NFL, will celebrate its 40th anniversary when the Steelers and Bengals face off for a playoff spot on Sunday. NFL Films has labeled it the greatest play in NFL history.
In case you're too young or haven't cared enough to remember, the play took place in an AFC Divisional playoff game on December 23rd, 1972 between the Steelers and the Raiders. After taking a 7-6 lead late in the game, the Steelers were down to a last-gasp attempt to win the game on a fourth a ten play. Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw threw a pass which was deflected by a Raiders defender and plucked by fellow Hall of Fame running back, Franco Harris. The play ended with Harris scampering for an unlikely touchdown which catapulted the Steelers to the victory, but it also came with much controversy. To this day, the play is in question on if Harris actually made the catch or not.
We're not sure what, if anything, that this occasion will mean to the squads of 2012, but it's sure to be referenced on the telecast and likely at Heinz Field as well. It's possible that this could add some needed emotional fuel to a Steelers team that has their backs against the wall. Then again, it could do nothing for them team but simply bring nostalgia to their loyal legion of fans.
Regardless, don't bring up the play or its anniversary around John Madden.