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Mark Davis says Immaculate Reception is still a “dagger”


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.

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31 Responses to “Mark Davis says Immaculate Reception is still a “dagger””
  1. joetoronto says: Dec 23, 2012 8:10 AM

    The Raiders have been ripped off numerous times but none bigger than the snow job in N.E.

  2. philvil41 says: Dec 23, 2012 8:11 AM

    The Raiders were totally screwed on the play.The fact the Phil Villapiano was clearly clipped being the biggest reason the play shouldn’t have counted.So today as a Raider fan, I say screw ALL Pittsburgh fans.

  3. leafeaterx says: Dec 23, 2012 8:19 AM

    “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.”

    Because they won the game maybe? lol…

  4. masterblaster78 says: Dec 23, 2012 8:32 AM

    I remember watching this game many years ago. I still don’t agree with the zebras. How many times have plays gone the Steelers way when the Raiders play them. For that last comment it’s not only the Steelers but most other teams as well. Zebas hate the Raiders.

  5. lennydpocketqb says: Dec 23, 2012 8:33 AM

    We think the refs are bad now? We would not of liked the 70’s.

  6. sallust99 says: Dec 23, 2012 8:43 AM

    Sour grapes autumn wind fans. The play counted and started a dynasty, which now represents the best organization in all of professional sports. Black and Gold!

  7. rayguyreturns says: Dec 23, 2012 8:45 AM

    The Immaculate Deception

  8. ketch20too says: Dec 23, 2012 8:48 AM

    Still bitter after 40 years? ….and people tell Hawks fans to get over the screwing their team got in XL.

  9. surferbum01 says: Dec 23, 2012 8:52 AM

    Talk about needing to “let it go”… The past is the past. If you’re living in the past….you’re just being the Raiders in the present. Or, err, something like that.

  10. bkostela says: Dec 23, 2012 8:56 AM

    what’s pathetic is that its perhaps the most famous play of all time, and not a single cameraman bothered to film it.

  11. blackngold4life says: Dec 23, 2012 9:00 AM

    LOL @ “CLEARLY” You can clip a player with your head in front..if anything that was “CLEARLY” pass interference.

  12. nesuperfan says: Dec 23, 2012 9:01 AM

    I have no horse in this race, but I watched “A Football Life: The Immaculate Reception”, and I think the refs got it right.

    First, The ball CLEARLY hit the defender (the new footage showed that well), making the whole play legal. That is not even in question. Second, again with the new footage, it is clear that the ball did not hit the ground. Lastly, the clipping excuse in bogus: The initial contact was from the side, but because it happened at full speed, the guy fell down, and to the side almost immediately, giving ONLY the illusion that it was clipping. The block was legal. Even if it were a clip, sorry, MANY plays over the years have missed penalties. That is just part of the game.

    The Raiders in that documentary came off as bitter old men, and rather pathetic.

  13. apwarrior250 says: Dec 23, 2012 9:02 AM

    “No Catch”.How can that be a great play?? Maybe the worst call in league history.Must fact check to see if replacement officials were involved.>Warrior Out””

  14. steelersfanfromtheseventies says: Dec 23, 2012 9:03 AM

    Get over it phil. and may i suggest anger management classes.

  15. 1956giants says: Dec 23, 2012 9:14 AM

    Wrong. The greatest PLAY in league history was the “escape” and the “Tyree catch.” Even the late Steve Sabol felt that.

  16. bigbluwreckincrew83 says: Dec 23, 2012 9:24 AM

    Get over it.

  17. nickmiller63 says: Dec 23, 2012 9:46 AM

    Montana to Clark.

  18. shlort says: Dec 23, 2012 10:07 AM

    I remember that game. Was the first game ever broadcast in color. Hahahaha. Back when people had to get up to manually turn the channel on their huge console television sets to watch all 3 channels. If you were lucky, you had a 23 inch screen.

    Did Mark Davis have the same Dorothy Hamill haircut back then?

    It was a touchdown. I have seen that play thousands of times over the years. I dont get where anyone thinks the play was somehow illegal. The ball never touched the ground and was first touched by a defensive player. And the no call on the illegal block? Oh well. Refs miss penalties all the time because there are usually 4 or 5 penalites on every play. If the refs called them all no one would ever score points.

    Anyway, it is time to get over that play. Sure, it is part of NFL lore, but it was 40 years ago.

  19. gaggee says: Dec 23, 2012 10:11 AM

    Fred Sweringen was a Steeler fan no doubt. He made the call on the “Immaculate Reception”, and he made the Benny Barnes interference call in SB III. Both were bad calls and both resulted in Steeler victories. C’mon Fred, you can admit it now!

  20. teddybayer123 says: Dec 23, 2012 10:23 AM

    Heck, the immaculate reception is just one of those rings

    Here’s a message for you, Mark: the Steelers own four (FOUR!) rings that “belong” to the Raiders. But not your daddy, not Madden, not all those All-Pro’s could get you over the hump but once. Chew on that this weekend.

  21. bigbluwreckincrew83 says: Dec 23, 2012 10:32 AM

    gaggee says:
    Dec 23, 2012 10:11 AM
    Fred Sweringen was a Steeler fan no doubt. He made the call on the “Immaculate Reception”, and he made the Benny Barnes interference call in SB III. Both were bad calls and both resulted in Steeler victories. C’mon Fred, you can admit it now!


    Could have sworn the Jets won SB III.

  22. raiderrob21 says: Dec 23, 2012 10:44 AM

    We did play them this anniv year back in september, and beat em AGAIN! 34-31 RAIDERS!!!


  23. steelcurtainn says: Dec 23, 2012 10:45 AM

    This play was the single greatest play in NFL history hands down, no question about it. There others that come close but they don’t touch this one.

  24. tell says: Dec 23, 2012 10:48 AM

    Fred Sweringen also made Jackie Smith drop the ball in the endzone against the Steelers.. That proves he’s a Steelers fan.

  25. charger383 says: Dec 23, 2012 10:50 AM

    I still don’t like it and that’s one of the reasons my 2nd favorite team is whoever is playing the Steelers

  26. tell says: Dec 23, 2012 11:45 AM

    Al Davis was a .50 panderer and procurer of the worlds oldest profession..

  27. tell says: Dec 23, 2012 11:49 AM


    No one will remember that the Raiders beat the Steelers 34-31 forty years from now. However, HISTORY will ALWAYS remember just HOW the Steelers beat the Raiders in 1972.

  28. alan3008 says: Dec 23, 2012 4:49 PM

    Sorry, but calling that stupid, lucky as hell, reception, “emmaculate” is just idiotic. First let’s give the definition of immaculate:

    immaculate: perfect and without any mistakes

    Sorry, that pass was not perfect and without mistakes. It bounced off of another receiver and Franco was LUCKY enough to be in the area to catch the ball.

    What a bunch of dumbasses, celebrating their stupidity.

  29. alan3008 says: Dec 23, 2012 4:51 PM

    Want to see an immaculate reception? Just watch Dalton and AJ Green hook up. They complete about 10 or 20 per game.

  30. rps27562012 says: Dec 23, 2012 5:06 PM

    Yeah the Raiders never get a call. Wait, how about the Stabler fumble all the way into the endzone in September, 1978. Talk about being robbed, it killed the Charger season right there. That was worse except maybe it wasn’t the playoffs.

  31. mullman76 says: Dec 23, 2012 8:45 PM

    That call was a travesty that started a dynasty, just like like the Tuck game 30 years later that started another dynasty.

    According to my homer Raiders math the Silver and Black should have about 9 rings… but the league (Rooney, Mara, Kraft, Rozelle, Tagliabue) will/would not let it be allowed.

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