Dear Allegheny County Airport Authority:
I recently flew into Pittsburgh and saw the statues of George Washington and Franco Harris. I was shocked to see they were given equal stature despite the fact that Washington is the Father of our Country, and Harris is merely catching a football.
Have you no patriotism?
Waving the Flag
First, we must emphasize that Franco Harris is not “merely catching a football.” He’s making the Immaculate Reception—the greatest football clutch play of all time. And although General Washington was a brilliant warrior in the American Revolution, we ask you, are there any videos of his come-from-behind victories on You Tube?
We recognize Washington was instrumental in securing our independence from Britain, but true Steelers fans believe this hard-won freedom actually was a launching pad for American football.
Think about it. If Washington hadn’t freed us from Britain, where would Mr. Rooney’s family have emigrated after escaping the Irish potato famine? They might have landed in Brazil or Argentina, which means we could be watching Super Bowl broadcasts from Rio. And back in Pittsburgh we’d be following soccer and watching the World Cup instead of celebrating the only world championship where just one country participates.
What’s more, if Washington hadn’t founded America, how would Mr. Rooney have paid for the Steelers? Is there really another country where a good bet on the ponies can win you an NFL team? We think not. Yes, Washington was our first President, but a cigar-smoking, gambling saloon keeper owning the most storied franchise in NFL history—now that’s the American Dream!
But back to our statues… there are more similarities between Washington and Harris than most people realize:
General Washington won many battles, beat the British and founded our nation. Harris won many battles, beat the Raiders, and by making the Immaculate Reception, basically founded the Steelers Nation.
Washington had a half-clothed army that followed him through snow into battle. Harris had a bare-chested Italian Army of fans that followed him through snow into football games.
Washington couldn’t tell a lie when he cut down that cherry tree, and Franco couldn’t tell a lie either. He said he caught that ball after it hit the Raiders defender, not Frenchy Fuqua. For real. (John Madden’s still mad 40 years later. But what can you expect from someone who’s afraid to fly? He’ll never even see these statues.)
Washington said, “Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation.”
What better company could he keep than Franco Harris? OK, so he knew Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, but what about Myron Cope, who christened the Immaculate Reception? Clearly he was a great writer too. And John Adams and Benjamin Franklin? They may have orchestrated the birth of our nation, but could they block and tackle?
You see, Waving, in Pittsburgh, we wave both our American flag and our Terrible Towels. We believe George would be proud.
Committee to Give Franco a Chance