(Republicaninformer.com)- The sports world lost two legends this holiday season – NFL Hall of Famer Franco Harris and Brazilian soccer great Pelé.
Four-time Super Bowl champion Franco Harris passed away at the age of 72 on Tuesday, December 20.
The nine-time Pro-Bowler was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1972 after playing college football at Penn State.
During his career with the Steelers, Harris rushed for more than 11,000 yards, making him the leading rusher in the team’s history.
Harris, who was named MVP of Super Bowl IX, became part of NFL history for his “Immaculate Reception” during the Divisional Round NFL playoff game at Three Rivers Stadium on December 23, 1972.
With only 22 seconds left and the Steelers down 7 to 6, on a fourth-and-10 at their own 40-year-line, quarterback Terry Bradshaw threw a pass intended for Frenchy Fuqua. The ball bounced off of Raiders safety Jack Tatum and wound up in the hands of Harris. The 22-year-old rookie then ran it for the game-winning 60-yard touchdown.
Harris passed away just two days before the Steelers celebrated the 50th anniversary of his “Immaculate Reception,” which many have deemed the best play in NFL history.
On Christmas Eve, the Steelers retired Franco Harris’ #32 jersey, making him only the third Steelers player in franchise history to have his number retired.
Brazilian soccer icon Pelé, regarded by many as the sport’s greatest player, passed away on Thursday, December 29 after a year-long battle with cancer. He was 82.
Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in 1940, Pelé helped take Brazil to World Cup wins in 1958, 1962, and 1970. To this day, he remains the Brazil national team’s co-scoring leader, with 77 goals in 92 matches. Current Brazilian superstar Neymar tied Pelé scoring record at this year’s World Cup in Qatar, scoring his 77th goal in 124 games.
In 1958, Pelé became the World Cup’s youngest scorer in history when he bagged a goal against Wales in Stockholm at the tender age of 17 years and 239 days. He remains the only player under 18 to have scored a goal in the World Cup.