The Pittsburgh Steelers honored Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris throughout the night on Christmas Eve when they defeated the Las Vegas Raiders 13-10.
‘It’s incredibly special night. Obviously dedicated this game to Franco,’ said Pickett after the game.‘You know we all wore his jersey in tonight and felt like he was with us tonight. And definitely on that last drive you saw Najee [Harris] making some plays, so it’s really special.’
It started off before the game when the Steelers roster and coaching staff all elected to wear Harris’s jersey to the game, continued with the retiring of his number 32 which had been planned prior to his passing, and then again when quarterback Kenny Pickett credited him with helping the team pull off a comeback victory in the final minutes.
Pickett refers to when Harris made several important plays on the late drive that would give Pittsburgh the lead, including turning a short pass into a 19-yard gain. The drive would eventually end with Pickett hitting fellow rookie George Pickens with a 14-yard touchdown pass that left only 46 seconds on the clock.
One fan said on Twitter: ‘WAAAITTTT…. no no no no no,’ wrote one fan. ‘Why is NFL Network cutting to break during the Franco Harris tribute in-stadium??’ ‘Another viewer was more upset, writing: ‘Absolutely pathetic job by NFL Network, going to commercial during Franco Harris tribute.’
The Steelers halftime ceremony however left fans upset due to the fact the TV coverage went to commercial just before showing the Steelers tribute package to Harris that was played throughout the stadium.
‘Cutting away to commercials was absolutely disrespectful to Franco and the Pittsburgh family. I am not a Pittsburgh fan, but truly wanted to see the tribute video. Where the hell is your holiday spirit?’ It seemed to be universally agreed amongst fans that it was a distasteful move to show the commercials at such a sensitive time.