The late Al Davis hated the play that allowed the Pittsburgh Steelers to swipe a playoff win from the Raiders 40 years ago today via a deflected pass that Franco Harris plucked out of the sky on the fly and ran into the end zone.
Current Raiders owner Mark Davis didn’t like it very much, either.
“It’s something that lives on,” Davis said, via Monte Poole of Bay Area News Group. “And it’s a dagger every time you see it.”
Just before that play, the younger Davis had been running around the family home, reveling in the looming berth in the AFC title game. “I went absolutely berserk,” Davis said. “I went from room to room, jumping on the beds, jumping on the couch.
“Then I came back down to watch, you know, the end of it. And all of a sudden . . . it was like sudden death.”
Davis explained that, when his father returned home from Pittsburgh, he didn’t seem particularly upset. “With my dad, there was always the ‘us-against-them’ attitude, that we were getting screwed in any situation if there was a chance for it,” Davis said.
As to at least one day in history, Mark Davis feels that way, too.
“I still believe we should have won that game,” Davis said. “But when you go to the airport in Pittsburgh, you know they feel different.
“And the thing that kills me is it’s replayed every year. Then you walk into the Pittsburgh airport and there’s Franco [Harris] catching the [expletive] ball. It doesn’t go away.”
It definitely doesn’t go away. And that’s why it’s the greatest single play in league history.
The only way the 40th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception would be any better would be if the Raiders and Steelers were playing, in Pittsburgh.