Pittsburgh Steelers experience Christmas magic (again)

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“Fifty years. I just can’t believe it. And I’m still around to enjoy it.”

–Franco Harris, on Tuesday afternoon, hours before his shocking death, to Steelers defensive star Cam Heyward on Heyward’s “Not Just Football” podcast.

The Steelers got nothing done offensively all game. Two field goals against the impenetrable Raiders in the first 59 minutes—that’s all—with a piddling passing game. Six points on a frigid winterscape at the confluence of the three rivers, with dozens of frustrated Santa Clauses in the stands. The Steelers, desperate in the final seconds to steal a win they probably did not deserve.

Wait. Are we talking Christmas weekend 1972 or Christmas weekend 2022?

Both.

And the Raiders went home both times, on Dec. 23, 1972 and then 50 years and one night later, with a brutally frustrating loss that had Franco Harris’ fingerprints all over it.

It’s eerie. That’s what it is. The Steelers beat the Raiders 13-7 a half-century ago on a TD pass to rookie Harris in the final minute. The Steelers beat the Raiders 13-10 Saturday night on a TD pass to rookie George Pickens in the final minutes.

The first game was the Immaculate Reception game, when Harris picked the ball out of the air and ran it for a shocking 60-yard touchdown to beat Oakland. The second game, three days after Harris died, was a tribute to a hero. Heyward and his teammates wore Harris’ black number 32 jersey to Acrisure Stadium for Saturday night’s game against the Raiders, a game that celebrated Harris’ legacy as he became the third Steeler to have his number retired.

“Everyone in the organization felt Franco tonight,” Heyward told me an hour after the game ended, wearing the black Harris jersey. “It’s one thing to wear the jersey. It’s another thing to embody what he was about, what the Steelers are about. I feel that’s what we did tonight.”

“It wasn’t supposed to be like this,” Steelers president Art Rooney II told a doleful crowd at the halftime jersey retirement for Harris.

No, but life goes on, and this team handled it the way a championship team should—even if this edition of the Steelers, at 7-8, is quite unlikely to win one this year. The NFL’s black-and-gold franchise is the gold standard in class and doing things right. When Cam Heyward led the team onto the field with a huge black 32 flag before the game, when quarterback Kenny Pickett used “FRANCO! FRANCO!” as a dummy audible call, when Frenchy Fuqua waved the Terrible Towel to get the crowd pumped (not necessary, by the way), when Harris’ widow leaned on Rooney at halftime for support at an emotional moment, and when the Steelers found a way to handle the family business the right way by winning in the final minute … I mean, what did you expect? This is what the Steelers do. They do the right thing.

It’s like what Harris told Heyward in a warm conversation, a half-day before he died. “What an honor—the third jersey to be retired here in 90 years,” Harris said on the podcast. “And the first offensive player.”

Harris, 50 years ago, caught a desperate caromed pass in the final minute and scored the winning touchdown to beat the Raiders. On this night, Pickett threw the game-winner to Pickens. “For Franco,” Pickens said.

“I wasn’t going to air the interview we did,” Heyward told me around midnight Saturday night. “But I talked to Franco’s wife, and she told me to share it. ‘Just share his joy.’ So I did. Franco is loved by so many people in this organization and so many players. He cared so much about everybody who came into that locker room. You interacted with Franco, no matter who you were, you were the most important person in the room.

“He understood the magnitude of what was about to happen, retiring his jersey. Franco was a big part of kick-starting the dynasty. We tried to honor him tonight. Winning this game is who we are as a franchise. It’s the grit of the Steelers.

“Sometimes I hear, ‘Why is there a statue of Franco at the airport here in Pittsburgh?’ It’s not just the Immaculate Reception. It’s everything—how he treated people, how he gave back, how he welcomed the new Steelers every year, how he was an ambassador to the franchise and to the city.”

The Steelers did Harris right, and did his grieving family right, on this night. We need more of that in sports, and in life.

Read more in Peter King’s full Football Morning in America column

How to watch the 2023 NFL honors: TV, live stream info, date, awards, location, and more

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The 12th annual NFL Honors will take place this Thursday, February 9 at Symphony Hall in Phoenix, Arizona–just a few days shy of Super Bowl 2023 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Live coverage begins at 9 PM ET on NBC and Peacock. Coverage will also be available on NFL Network. See below for additional information on how to watch the 2023 NFL Honors.

RELATED: How to Watch Super Bowl 2023 – Philadelphia Eagles vs Kansas City Chiefs

What is the NFL Honors?

The NFL Honors recognizes the league’s best performances, plays, and athletes form the 2022 season. This year’s celebration will be particularly special as Kelly Clarkson–an Emmy and Grammy award winning artist–will be the first woman to host the show.

What awards are presented at the NFL Honors?

  • Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year
  • Best Moment of the Year
  • NFL Fan of the Year
  • AP Most Valuable Player
  • AP Coach of the Year
  • AP Comeback Player of the Year
  • AP Offensive Player of the Year
  • AP Defensive Player of the Year
  • AP Offensive Rookie of the Year
  • AP Defensive Rookie of the Year
  • NFL Inspire Change Tribute
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2023
  • FedEx Air & Ground Players of the Year
  • Salute to Service Award
  • Bud Light Celly of the Year
  • Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award
  • Deacon Jones Sack Leader Award
  • AP Assistant Coach of the Year

How to watch the 2023 NFL Honors:

  • Date: Thursday, February 9
  • Location: Symphony Hall in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Time: 9 PM ET
  • TV Channel: NBC and NFL Network
  • Live Stream: Peacock

Everything you need to know about Super Bowl 2023:

Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL season and playoffs, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!

 

Eagles Super Bowl history: When is the last time Philadelphia made it to, won the Super Bowl?

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After a dominant 31-7 win over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, the Eagles are vying to earn their first Super Bowl win since the 2017 season, when they defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.

Jalen Hurts and the Birds will go head-to-head with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 2023. Find out how to watch below as well as a full breakdown of the Eagles’ Super Bowl history. Click here for a look back on the Eagles’ journey to football’s biggest game of the year.

RELATED: 2023 NFL Playoffs Schedule – Bracket, game dates, times and TV networks

Eagles total Super Bowl wins

One (2017 season). The Eagles have won one of their three Super Bowl appearances in franchise history. The Eagles appeared in four pre-merger NFL championship games, where they won three of them (1948, 1949 and 1960).

Most recent Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl appearance

  • 2017 season: Defeated the New England Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl LII

The Eagles were victorious in their last Super Bowl appearance. The victory was a redemption 13 years in the making, after the Eagles lost to Tom Brady, coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX in the 2004 season, 24-21.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023: Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more

Philadelphia Eagles most recent Super Bowl win

That 2017 appearance was of course Philadelphia’s most recent Super Bowl triumph, and one of the most memorable Super Bowls in history. The game is most remembered for the heroics of quarterback Nick Foles, who stepped in late in the season to replace the injured Carson Wentz, and for Foles’ catch on the trick play known as the “Philly Special.”

Eagles Super Bowl history

  • 1980 season: Lost Super Bowl XV vs the Oakland Raiders, 27-10
  • 2004 season: Lost Super Bowl XXXIX vs the New England Patriots, 24-21
  • 2017 season: Won Super Bowl LII vs the New England Patriots, 41-33

How can I watch and live stream Super Bowl 2023?

  • When: Sunday, February 12, 2023
  • Where: State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona
  • TV Channel: FOX
  • Follow along with ProFootballTalk and NBC Sports for NFL news, updates, scores, injuries, and more

RELATED: Who is playing in Super Bowl 2023?

Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!

RELATED: 2023 NFL Playoffs scores: Final bracket, recaps, results for every AFC and NFC postseason game


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

What devices are compatible with Peacock?

Peacock is available on a variety of devices. See the full list here.

In addition to Sunday Night Football, what else can I watch with Peacock Premium?

Premium is your key to unlocking everything Peacock has to offer. You’ll get access to all the live sports and events we have, including Premier League and WWE Premium Live Events like WrestleMania. You’ll also get full seasons of exclusive Peacock Original series, next-day airings of current NBC and Telemundo hits, plus every movie and show available on Peacock. There is always something new to discover on Peacock Premium.