painting is a celebration of the classic Pittsburgh Steelers and the rushing
duo they had in Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier in the 1970s. In the 1976
season, Harris and Bleier both rushed for more than 1,000 yards and they made
major contributions to the Steelers’ Super Bowl victories in 1974, 1975, 1978
the image, Bleier is lead blocking for Harris as Harris runs with the football
in a snowy playoff game at Three Rivers Stadium. It was a scene that took place
hundreds of times during those Steelers glory days.
have been a fan of Franco Harris since I was 12 years old and had the
opportunity to meet him at a competition for the ABC TV show “Superstars.’’ I
drew caricatures of several of the competing athletes and I showed the one I
did of Harris to him and he autographed it and was really, really nice to
2010, our paths crossed again when Harris came walking into a temporary gallery
I had in Miami for Super Bowl XLIV. I mentioned the long-ago drawing and he
remembered it! I got to thank him for being real nice to me as a kid, and I
couldn’t believe he remembered me – we’re talking almost 40 years later!
Harris and Bleier are inspirations to Steelers fans and everyone who
appreciates stories about overcoming odds. Harris was the first
African-American to be named Super Bowl MVP and Bleier overcame incredible
odds, coming back to play for the Steelers after being wounded during the
Vietnam War and told he would never play football again.