Talking Steelers lore with KB, Sam and Lizzy on Twitter when KB made a remark about how a member of Franco’s Italian Army is not a source, to which I responded I had a disturbing story that related to FIA. Here is the story.
I worked for the Western Pennsylvania Historical Society for a few years in the Sen. John Heinz History Center and one of my coworkers was a guy my age, from the rival high school (he was Mt. Lebo, I was USC). He dated a girl I grew up with, Wendy, captain of our soccer team. Anyway, his dad was a lawyer (accountant?) of note in town, and one of his clients was Franco and the two of them were fast friends. Cue the crazy Yinzers.
One of the security guards at Heinz Center discovers that my coworker’s dad is buds with Harris and proceeds to find endless excuses to talk to him about how his dad was the first person to touch Franco after the Immaculate Reception, because for some reason his dad was on the sideline of that game. Brings in photos and TV stills of his dad (supposedly) in this leather jacket rushing Harris after the catch. The security guy starts laying into him about how much it would mean to his entire family if my coworker’s dad could get Franco to sign this leather jacket. (I imagine they had a shrine built to the coat in their living room, complete with candles and a lawn statue of Mother Mary.) This goes on for months, so finally (I forget the guy’s name) relents and says he’ll ask his dad, knowing what a pain this is because EVERYONE always wants a piece of Franco. It’s a terribly awkward situation.
His dad agrees (mostly because he knows his son is working in the same building with this nut), and the security guy brings in this raggedy, old leather coat. The jacket is sent out for signature. Obviously the signing takes some time, but every single day the status of signature is check on. A few weeks later, the coat is returned with Franco’s signature in the lining.
You have never seen a happier Italian-Yinzer in your entire life, just beaming with pride. He shows everyone that walks in the door of the History Center — from little old ladies coming to see the quilt exhibit to young parents showing their children Mr. Rogers’ trolley — this moth-ridden jacket. Everyone. Because his dad touched Franco first after the Immaculate Reception, and now he had the signature to prove it.