John Madden: Steelers’ Immaculate Reception will ‘bother me until the day I die’

John Madden revisited the Immaculate Reception in the Fox Sports doc, “All Madden”

The Pittsburgh Steelers and the late John Madden’s Oakland Raiders had plenty of tussles but none quite like the playoff game on December 23, 1972.

The greatest play in NFL history transpired that day and, still, nearly 50 years later, Madden, Franco Harris and football fans worldwide talk about it.

Naturally, the Immaculate Reception got a little airtime in the Fox Sports documentary, “All Madden,” which aired on Christmas day, just three days before John Madden’s death.

“When a guy crosses a goal line, it’s either a touchdown or it’s not,” Madden recalled in a 1980s interview that was part of the documentary. “They didn’t call it a touchdown. They didn’t know if it was a touchdown.”

All Madden spliced the 80s interview with (then) present-day Madden talking about how everything went down — he was almost just as passionate about it, too.

“I know you don’t know, I’ll tell ya. It was a double touch.”

“Now, the referee is on the phone, and he makes a call to someone. And then he comes back out of the dugout and signals touchdown.”

“Not that I carry old grudges,” said Madden. “It bothers me then, it bothers me now, and it’ll bother me until the day I die.”

30 Years Later

Madden and fellow analyst Al Michaels were calling the 2002 Steelers-Bucs game on the 30th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception on a Monday Night Football broadcast.

“You talk about stuff that you get in your stocking for Christmas,” Madden started. “That was the night before Christmas Eve, and [the Immaculate Reception] was a big ol’ lump of coal, and that big ol’ lump of coal has been sitting down there for 30 years.”

“Once the guy says touchdown, it’s all over. The game’s over, your season’s over, everything’s over. You just go home. You don’t get another chance.”

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As deeply as the Immaculate Reception ate away at him over the years, Madden said he had nothing but love for the 1970s Steelers organization.

“As tough as that was, I have great respect for the Pittsburgh Steelers of that era, and for their coach Chuck Noll, and most of all for their owner, Art Rooney,” Madden shared during the 2002 broadcast. “You talk about guys that built the league, and who is really the guy, Art Rooney was the real deal. Art Rooney was just a great, great man. As down as I was in that game, if there was anything to be happy for, it was for (Rooney).”

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Eric Ebron gets roasted on Twitter for reaching out to Tim Tebow

Ebron hasn’t heard the end of it after tagging Tebow in an invite to an exclusive tight end summit.

Steelers tight end Eric Ebron took to Twitter the other day to invite Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Tim Tebow to Tight End University.

TEU is a new endeavor formed by retired tight end Greg Olsen and San Fransisco 49er George Kittle and Kansas City Chief Travis Kelce. The purpose of the exclusive club is to unite tight ends from around the NFL.

The three are hosting a tight end summit in Nashville and, of course, Ebron will be there.

The veteran tight end hasn’t exactly been embraced by Steelers fans since he was signed in the 2020 offseason. Ebron invited Tebow, one of the league’s newest (and oldest) tight ends, to the summit. He hasn’t heard the end of it.


Though Ebron had a case of the drops last season (Pro Football Focus tabbed him with seven), his catch percentage (61.5%) was his highest since 2017. In his first season in Pittsburgh, Ebron contributed 558 yards and five touchdowns.

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Zach Banner has new motivation for healthy, bounce-back 2021 season

Banner sent the young Steelers fan an unforgettable gift that he’ll cherish forever.

Nicknamed “The Hulk,” the 6-foot-8, 360-pound Zach Banner has proven himself to be more like a teddy bear during his short time in Pittsburgh.

Banner is also a fan favorite, known for his amusing sense of humor, down-to-earth nature and eligibility as a receiver.

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In a recent Twitter post, Banner showed another reason why he’s a fan favorite:

Dear Mr. Banner,

Thank you for sending me the Terrible Towel for my birthday. Having your name on it means a lot to me. I am a gigantic Steelers fan! It will be special to me always.

Thank you very much again.

Jonah Snyder

It’s really cool of Banner to send Jonah an autographed Terrible Towel for his birthday. He’s made himself a lifelong fan.

What’s also great is that Banner realizes that without fans, there would be no NFL.

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Twitter explodes after Steelers re-sign JuJu Smith-Schuster

Steelers fans and non-Steelers fans took to Twitter to express their thoughts on the surprise re-signing of JuJu Smith-Schuster.

In a move nobody saw coming, the Steelers re-signed their star receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster on Friday. He’ll be in Pittsburgh another year (at least) and will hit the free-agent market in 2022.

Twitter (Smith-Schuster’s third favorite social media platform after Instagram and TikTok) went crazy when the news came down — it nearly broke the internet.

Even Ravens’ cornerback Marlon Humphrey got in on it.

Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger gives up pro football for politics

During former president Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, his lawyer, Bruce Castor says Ben Roethlisberger is Georgia’s Secretary of State.

Ben Roethlisberger’s longtime center Maurkice Pouncey retired Friday morning. So, Big Ben is making a career move.

When presenting his opening arguments in former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial on Friday, Trumps’s lawyer Bruce Castor misspoke. Castor appeared to confuse Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

“Let’s touch now on the second absurd and conflated allegation in the House managers’ single article. President Trump’s phone call to Georgia secretary of state Ben Roethlisberger, surreptitiously recorded…”

What Castor meant to say was “Brad Raffensperger,” who is the actual Georgia Secretary of State. It’ll be a while until he lives this down.

And, of course, Twitter lit up.

Saved the best for last:

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J.J. Watt jokes that T.J. needs more hardware before reaching his level

Sibling rivalry is deep among the Watt brothers, especially between J.J. and T.J., two of the league’s best linebackers.

On Monday, J.J. Watt was asked what it’s like to be competing against his younger brother for the Defensive Player of the Year award.

“I’m really excited about it,” Watt told the media in a press conference. “I love watching him play. It’s fun to have conversations with him and work in the offseason… For me and T.J., playing the same position, fighting for the same things, trying to one-up each other at all times — there’s nothing better than that.”

While Watt can’t have the same conversations with his other brother Derek, he’s looking forward to being able to see both of them in action when he can. Derek joined the Steelers this offseason and is their starting fullback.

“One of my favorite things after [Texans] games is to go online and see what [T.J.’s] stats are during the game or to turn on their game if it’s on in the afternoon and watch,” shared Watt. “So now I’ll be able to turn on those games and see both of them.”

“For me and T.J., personally, there’s a whole lot of competition going on, and I have no plans on letting my little brother win anytime soon,” Watt said.

When will Watt see T.J. as a peer instead of his “little brother”?

“Once [T.J.] has three Defensive Player of the Year awards, I’ll see him as a peer,” joked Watt.

Seeing as J.J. has nine seasons under his belt and T.J. is just heading into his fourth, I don’t think T.J. topping his older brother’s DPOY collection is out of the question. But since J.J. won the coveted award three times in his first five seasons, T.J. does have some catching up to do.

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