This is part of a five-part series by Victory Bell Rings on the ten greatest performances by Penn State players in Super Bowl history. You can catch up by following the links below.
8. Franco Harris – Running Back, 1976, Pittsburgh Steelers: Super Bowl X showcased the Pittsburgh Steelers vs the Dallas Cowboys at the Orange Bowl in Miami, FL. Pittsburgh rallied in the fourth quarter to win 21-17 behind a Super Bowl record 161 yards on four catches from Lynn Swann, who was named MVP of the game.
Franco Harris, drafted in the 1st round (13th overall) in the 1972 by the Pittsburgh Steelers, is a Pro Football Hall of Famer and four-time Super Bowl Champion. Harris carried the ball 27 times for 82 yards, and added a 26 yard catch. On their first possession, the Steelers ran five consecutive plays, four of which by Harris who accumulated 16 yards before they had to punt. On the second possession, another four consecutive runs, two by Harris for 12 yards. Once the Cowboys defense sucked in to stuff the run, Bradshaw went deep to Swann for 32 yards, leading to a Steeler touchdown. Dallas was able to slow Harris after that, holding him to only 17 more yards to rest of the half.
Even though they were down at the halftime, 10-7, Pittsburgh continued to hammer the Cowboys with Harris. Five of their first six plays of the 2nd half were to Harris: they ran right, sweep right, left around, right off tackle, and left again. Pittsburgh was still down 10-7 going into the 4th quarter, and opened with a 26 yard pass to Harris. The Steelers continued to pound Harris into the Cowboys line, up 15-10 with 4:25 left in the 4th. The touchdown that sealed the deal that possession was simple: Franco for four yards, Franco for two yards, and then Bradshaw to Swann for the 64 yard TD.
7. Matt Millen – Linebacker, 1984, Los Angeles Raiders: Super Bowl XVIII was a battle between the Los Angeles Raiders and Washington Redskins at Tampa Stadium in Tampa, FL. The Raiders took an early lead and never looked back winning 38-9. Running back Marcus Allen was the MVP of the game, the only championship by a team from Los Angeles.
Matt Millen, drafted in the 2nd round (43rd overall) in the 1980 NFL Draft, was part of a feared Raiders defense featured Pro Bowlers Howie Long, Millen, and Rod Martin. Millen had six tackles and one sack in the game. On Washington’s second possession of the game Millen made two tackles on bruising running back John Riggins, who was last year’s Super Bowl MVP. When Joe Theismann had the Redskins driving on their first possession on the 2nd quarter, Millen came up with a huge sack when Theismann rolled out on the play. After the loss of seven yards, Washington was unable to convert and had to punt to Los Angeles, who drove down the field to take a 14-0 lead.
Millen’s most famous contribution to the game was a play he wasn’t even on the field. Trailing 14-3 with :12 seconds left in the first half, Washington called a “Rocket Screen.” Raiders LB coach recognized the play, and pulled an enraged Millen, who was going to blitz, off the field for Jack Squirek to jump the screen. He did, and took it all the way for a touchdown to give LA a commanding 21-3. Millen added three more tackles, all against Riggins, in the third quarter, which ended with the Raiders leading 35-9.
Check back tomorrow for numbers 6 and 5!