“Franco and I have talked about that play a million times,” Villapiano said. “So many of those guys from the Steelers are my friends. I never thought that play would lead to so much talk and a statue. I love it. I’m really glad I came here.”
As Harris and Villapiano shook hands and posed for pictures in front of the monument, Fuqua walked toward the crowd and shed a sport coat to reveal a T-shirt that read, “I’ll never tell,” referring to which player touched the ball before Harris made the catch.
According to NFL rules at that time, if two receivers from the same team touched the ball consecutively on the same play, the pass would be ruled an incompletion.
Fuqua often hints that he’s the one person who knows what actually happened before Harris’ Immaculate Reception. In the 2006 book, “Pittsburgh Steelers: Men of Steel,” Fuqua said, “All I can tell you is that it was immaculate.”
The monument, which displays a plaque of Harris bending down while running to catch the ball, was produced in Pittsburgh by Matthews International Architectural Products, the same firm that produced a statue at PNC Park of Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Bill Mazeroski’s famous World Series-winning home run in 1960 against the New York Yankees as well as Hall of Fame plaques in Cooperstown, N.Y.
It is the third monument commissioned by the Heinz History Center acknowledging the Immaculate Reception. The others include life-size statues of Harris making his catch at Pittsburgh International Airport and at the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum.