‘Insanely Disrespectful’: NFL Network Lambasted After Cutting To Commercial During Franco Harris Tribute

Saturday night in Pittsburgh was almost perfect for football fans. They crowded Acrisure Stadium to see the action, and they also remembered a NFL great. But those who were watching the NFL Network broadcast of the eagerly awaited halftime ceremony quickly became angry.

The Steelers’ Christmas Eve matchup with the Las Vegas Raiders was much more than a game. It was a tribute to Franco Harris, a former running back who tragically passed away just days before his Hall of Fame celebrations.

Halftime featured Harris’ widow Dana Dokmanovich on the field with her son Dok holding his No. Before the stadium announcer directed fans to pay special tribute to Harris, 32 jerseys were shown. The NFL Network then cut to commercial.


The Franco Harris jersey retirement ceremony was seen by viewers. However, NFL Network decided to go commerical after a video tribute was shown at Acrisure Stadium. pic.twitter.com/lqHGwRteLm

— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing December 25, 2022

Numerous NFL commentators and fans took to social media to vent their frustration at the NFL’s poorly timed commercial.

“I believe @nflnetwork should apologize to everyone watching Steelers games,” tweeted Emily Giangreco , a Pittsburgh-area sports reporter and anchor. It is a disgraceful act to show Franco Harris’ jersey retirement video in commercial. You should have immediately thrown out the break, even if it was a mistake.

“What a horrible gaffe by NFL Network… cutting away to advertisement right after the stadium announcer introduces Franco Harris highlights onto the scoreboard. Really bad decision,” Jim Crandell , former news director for sports, said.

Andrew Havranek, a Spectrum News reporter and Steelers fan, called the move ” inflicting“, claiming that the NFL Network’s commercial cut out a significant memorial to Harris.

The Steelers completed the memorable night by winning the fourth quarter against the Raiders. This was achieved when Kenny Pickett, a rookie quarterback, found George Pickens and made a 15-yard touchdown pass to the end zone.

Harris played college football at Penn State and began his professional career with the Steelers in 1972, after being selected in the first round in the NFL draft. He was named offensive rookie-of-the-year and went on to become a nine time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl MVP. His defining moment in his career was his miraculous catch by Terry Bradshaw of a pass deflected from him during his rookie season against the Oakland Raiders.

Harris was retired in 1985, and was inducted into NFL Hall of Fame in 2005. Harris, despite his famed achievements, was known for being humble.

Harris stated during his Hall of Fame speech of 1990 that “You see, that era, every player brought their little bit to make that wonderful decade possible.” Each player had their strengths, weaknesses, their thinking styles, their methods, and each one was unique. It was then that it all came together and became the greatest team ever.

Greg Wilson contributed to the report.


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