'Immaculate Reception' Still Haunts Raiders

'Immaculate Reception' Still Haunts Raiders

In the minutes before the insanity, the teenager alone in the Davis home in Piedmont had lost his sanity. The game was over, his beloved Raiders had won, and he was sprinting about the house yelling and screaming and bouncing on the furniture.

Exactly 40 years later, Mark Davis is the team's managing general partner and his childhood memory remains. He vividly recalls how those moments of unrestrained joy turned to overwhelming sorrow somehow quickly and slowly at once.

"I went absolutely berserk," he says. "I went from room to room, jumping on the beds, jumping on the couch.

"Then I came back down to watch, you know, the end of it. And all of a sudden ... it was like sudden death."

It certainly was for the Raiders' 1972 season. They had been buried by one final and incredibly shocking turn of events, the kind of play not seen before or since in the NFL.

Now commonly referred to as the "Immaculate Reception," the controversial play Davis and millions of football fans can't forget took place on Dec. 23, 1972, and has a distinctive place in football lore. It occurred on the last play of the AFC Divisional playoff game between Oakland and Pittsburgh at Three Rivers Stadium.

Of the many painful moments in Raiders history, none is more haunting or agonizing.

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