View Full Version : Remembering Miami: Reggie Harrison, Super Bowl X

02-03-2010, 05:34 PM
Remembering Miami: Reggie Harrison, Super Bowl X
Date: Jan. 18, 1976
Site: Orange Bowl
Score: Steelers 21, Cowboys 17 (MVP: Lynn Swann)

Reggie Harrison was a backup tailback for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1975. Three other backs had more carries than Harrison's 43 that season. Quarterback Terry Bradshaw even had more yards rushing than Harrison's 191 that year.

But it was Harrison, a second-year pro and ninth-round pick out of Cincinnati, who made the game-changing play in Super Bowl X against Dallas.

What a cherished recollection it must be, right?

"Man, let me tell you something," Harrison said. "I had eight concussions playing football, so I barely remember that s--t. When was that again?"
Harrison, 59, is one of the poster boys for the old-guard NFL players who were short-changed with regard to their post-career health benefits packages back in the day. His memory comes and goes to the point that he's been a regular at the University of North Carolina's memory recovery program since 2006.

"They'll tell you I'm one of the worst ones that comes in there," said Harrison, now retired and living in Woodbridge, Va., where he also deals with high blood pressure, diabetes and slew of aches from injuries to his back, knees, hip and shoulder. "Sometimes I don't even remember my name."

But there are also some good days.

The brief discussion about Super Bowl X jarred some images from that sunny South Florida day 34 years ago. For Harrison, a kamikaze pilot on special teams, what an afternoon it was; what a play he made.

The Steelers, reigning NFL champions, having defeated Minnesota the year before, trailed the Cowboys 10-7 with just under 12 minutes remaining in the game. L.C. Greenwood's sack of Roger Staubach set up a fourth-and-13 at the Dallas 16. Enter punter Mitch Hoopes.

On the snap of the ball, the Cowboys double-teamed Dave Brown, allowing Harrison to break cleanly through the line and smother the punt, which caromed out of the end zone for a safety, making the score 10-9.

Harrison recalled going to the sideline with blood streaming from his mouth. He was so all over the play that Hoopes' foot kicked him in the face.

"Split my tongue wide open," Harrison said.

Defensive tackle Ernie Holmes checked him out.

"With the money you're making, you can buy yourself a new tongue," Holmes said.

Clearly, the play helped make the difference between a $15,000 payout for the winner and $7,500 for the loser (those figures are $83,000 and $42,000 in 2010, by the way). After the ensuing free kick, the Steelers marched to a Roy Gerela field goal for their first lead of the game, and after a Staubach interception, got a 64-yard touchdown strike from Bradshaw to Lynn Swann to help seal the game and make Pittsburgh the third team to win back-to-back Super Bowls.

If only Harrison could sit back and enjoy his role in it all.

"When people tell me they want to interview me, they don't know what they're getting themselves into ... and neither do I," Harrison said. "Sometimes, everything's as clear as day. And then there are days when I just can't remembering nothing."

The Steelers and their fans, though, will never forget what he did for them.

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