The Cardboard Bio – Franco Harris

A “Football Life: Immaculate Reception” will debut on Wednesday night, and I’ll be honest, it should be one of the most anticipated episodes of the series. I personally can’t wait for it. And with that in mind, let’s take a look back at the career of Franco Harris through his football cards.  This will kick-off a new series we call The Cardboard Bio.


1973 Topps #89 – Rookie Card



1973 Stats: 698 yards rushing, 3 touchdowns

Realize when you see Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers running around in similar beanies, they are going for hipster cool. Franco just made this look cool.


1974 Topps #220



1974 Stats: 1006 rushing yards, 5 rushing touchdowns

You know, if Franco would have combined the beanie with his hair choice right here, we could have our NFL version of the famed Bake McBride and Oscar Gamble baseball cards of the 1980s.


1975 Wonder Bread Card #17


wonderbreadfranco harris1974

1975 Stats: 1246 rushing yards, 10 rushing touchdowns

Forget Twinkies, these are Hostess’s all-time legacy.


1979 Stop N’Go #13



1979 Stats: 1186 rushing yards, 11 rushing touchdowns

The coolest things about the 3-D cards was that they were indestructible. And believe me, I tried to rip up this card after the Steelers upset my Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl XIV. But then again, I was five at the time. Who would have thought an impetuous sports fan as a child would grow up to be an impetuous sports fan as an adult?


1980 Topps Super #1



1980 Stats: 789 rushing yards, 4 rushing touchdowns

One of the strangest phenomena of football cards during the 1980s was the lack of NFL marks on the helmets. That’s right, this isn’t merely the blank side of the Steelers helmet, this is an airbrushed Steelers helmet to remove the logo. Yes, they could have just saved a lot of time if they shot this on the other side.


1984 Topps #165



1984 Stats: 170 rushing yards, 0 rushing touchdowns

Hey look, they finally got an agreement to use NFL logos. Still should have shot the picture from the other side, just for nostalgia. Harris ended up playing the 1984 season with the Seattle Seahawks.  Where’s that card?


1991 Pinnacle Card



December 23, 1972

Back in 1991, Pinnacle released a card to commemorate the “Immaculate Reception.” And even they couldn’t find a conclusive angle to prove or disprove the “Immaculate Reception.” Pfft.

How much would you pay for this card with John Madden’s signature on it?

Football cards courtesy of the Beverly Hills Baseball Card Shop


Make sure you check out “A Football Life: Immaculate Reception” and find out how the play got its name. Watch the full premiere episode on tonight at 8pm ET on NFL Network. 

During tonight’s premiere of A Football Life: Immaculate Reception play along with A Football Life Xtra. Visit on your iPhone or iPad to download the NFL ’12 app.

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