As a young boy, you like what you see. What you saw on television was the hot ticket. At eight-years-old in ’72 it was the Miami Dolphins: Larry Csonka, Mercury Morris, Bob Griese, Paul Warfield. A few years later, the Pittsburgh Steelers would reign superior: Terry Bradshaw, Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, Rocky Bleier, the Steel Curtain on defense, and of course, Franco Harris. Graceful, yet strong. Deceptively fast. Cool under pressure, willing to let the hole develop before him. Clutch in a crunch. A winner and a class act.
Six years ago, an unexpected gift – a signed football – inspired me to attempt to paint him. His death this week was a reminder not only of the post below, but also of the memory of the great ones we idolize in our youth, especially those who in no way tarnish the legend their skill and determination created. Franco Harris remained and will thus always be, on high ground.