Franco Harris is Steelers royalty. The MVP of the franchise’s first Tremendous Bowl victory, Harris can also be the proprietor of probably the most iconic play in NFL historical past, a play that ushered in a brand new, superb period in Pittsburgh. The ’70s Steelers received 4 Tremendous Bowls in a six-year span, a feat that has but to be matched.
A primary-ballot member of the Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame, Harris continues to maintain an in depth eye on his former crew. Like many Steelers followers, Harris was not notably thrilled with how Pittsburgh’s 2020 season got here to an finish, with a wild-card playoff loss to the Browns. Harris mentioned the crew’s promising 11-0 begin solely added to the frustration.
“We’re all tucked away in our houses, however but, you had the joy of the Steelers,” Harris mentioned throughout an look on CBS Sports activities HQ. “[Being] 11-0, issues are trying good. Then, swiftly, it appeared like we hit this time period the place we needed to play three video games in 12 days. To me, that actually disrupted a whole lot of issues. However I perceive with COVID, there needed to be some changes. Nevertheless it actually put a whole lot of pressure on the Steelers, I really feel, and issues simply did not click on after that.”
Harris is true. The three video games in 12 days did negatively impression the Steelers. Throughout that span of video games, the crew misplaced beginning outdoors linebacker Bud Dupree, who was on tempo to surpasses his 2019 sack whole. Compounding the flurry of video games in a brief period of time was the truth that the Steelers misplaced their Week 8 bye when the NFL rescheduled the Steelers’ Week 4 recreation in opposition to the Titans. Pittsburgh’s bye was rescheduled for Week 4, which meant that the Steelers performed 13 straight video games heading into the postseason.
Schedule points apart, Harris precisely pinpointed the primary on-field difficulty that contributed to the Steelers’ early playoff exit.
“I hear Ben’s coming again, which is nice,” Harris mentioned, alluding to Ben Roethlisbeger’s current feedback about eager to return for his 18th season. “We’ve got some nice, nice younger receivers that I am actually enthusiastic about. However me being a working again, now we have to get that working recreation going. To me, that is probably the most vital a part of the sport is the working recreation. So we have to put some give attention to that.
“No, I am not coming again,” Harris added with a chuckle. “I am retired.”
It is no secret that the working recreation has misplaced some significance in in the present day’s NFL. Solely 9 working backs rushed for over 1,000 yards through the 2020 common season. The final working again to be named Tremendous Bowl MVP was former Bronco Terrell Davis, who received the award 23 years in the past. That being mentioned, this 12 months’s Tremendous Bowl individuals make use of strong working video games. The Buccaneers are led by Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones II. The Chiefs‘ dashing duties have been primarily dealt with by rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Darrel Williams. Passing could now be the first technique of transportation, however having a dependable working recreation continues to be a necessity with the intention to be a real Tremendous Bowl contender.
“I believe Tennessee has an awesome stability there,” Harris mentioned when requested concerning the league’s premier dashing assaults. “They’ve accomplished effectively, in order that’s fairly spectacular. I’ve to say when Cleveland beat us in that playoff recreation, which I wasn’t very glad and enthusiastic about, I believe their working recreation made a distinction. [Nick] Chubb made a distinction in that one. To me, working backs could make a distinction within the working recreation, as a result of I really feel that the working recreation results the time of possession, and in addition wears down the protection. So that is one thing, to me, that the Steelers really want to give attention to.”
The Steelers have already made efforts in direction of enhancing a dashing assault that completed thirty second within the league in 2020. They’ve modified coordinators, selling quarterbacks coach Matt Canada. They’ve additionally promoted former assistant offensive line coach Adrian Klemm, a transfer that has acquired reward from a number of former Pittsburgh linemen. The Steelers are additionally anticipated to pick out a working again through the draft.
So far as Tremendous Bowl LV is anxious, Harris believes that soccer followers are going to witness “an awesome recreation.” Harris mentioned that the upcoming quarterback matchup between Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady reminds him of his two Tremendous Bowls with Terry Bradshaw and Roger Staubach on opposing sidelines.
“It’s a must to be on the sting of your seat each second with quarterbacks at that caliber,” Harris mentioned. “Issues can change in a single play. These are quarterbacks that may make huge performs and alter the course of a recreation. And we’re that now.
“Whenever you see Brady and Mahomes, how they management the ball and take their crew downfield with their passing, it is simply unbelievable. Once I look again to after we performed, passing wasn’t on the scale that it’s in the present day. However after they did have some passes, they had been huge performs, huge bombs that modified the course of the sport.”
Whereas his former crew just isn’t enjoying on this 12 months’s Tremendous Bowl, Harris has picked who he’s pulling for come Sunday night time.
“Each these groups are nice, however I am going for the AFC crew,” he mentioned. “Kansas Metropolis and Mahomie. We all know Andy Reid, he is at all times artistic and doing a whole lot of issues. So I am going for the AFC crew. Kansas Metropolis all the way in which.”