This Is Us fans are still reeling from the Season 3 premiere and its inclusion of a real-life Steelers playoff game to illustrate the date of Jack and Rebecca’s first date. But diehard Pittsburgh sports fan noticed a major gaffe in an otherwise immaculate episode.
The This Is Us premiere, titled “Nine Bucks,” featured Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia) taking Rebecca (Mandy Moore) to an outdoor carnival on Dec. 23, 1972, the same day that the”Immaculate Reception” play occurred during the Pittsburgh Steelers AFC playoff game against the Oakland Raiders.
On fourth and 10, trailing 7-6 with just 22 seconds left, Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw threw to John Fuqua, but the ball was deflected and wound up in the hands of Franco Harris for a 60-yard touchdown reception. The Steelers ran off with a 13-7 divisional playoff victory in one of the most famous games in NFL history.
On This Is Us’ “Nine Bucks” episode, the writers portrayed several Pittsburgh sports fans saying, “Did you see that game? Crazy, right?” But according to Yahoo Sports, no one in Pittsburgh saw that famous game live because it was blacked out on local TV.
— This Is Us (@NBCThisisUs) September 26, 2018
Before 1973, NFL home games weren’t televised within a 75-mile radius of the home team’s market unless the game sold out 72 hours in advance. So unless the Pittsburgh natives seen talking about the game on This Is Us were among the 50,350 fans at Three Rivers Stadium that day (or one of the thousands of fans who drove to nearby cities in Ohio and West Virginia where hotels picked up the game telecasts from a Cleveland station), there is no way they would have seen Harris’ Immaculate Reception play because the AFC divisional playoff was blacked out on local television.
According to Trib Live, there was so much fan discontent over the fact that the 1972 Raiders-Steelers “Immaculate Reception” game and the later Dolphins vs. Steelers AFC championship game that was not televised in Pittsburgh that Pennsylvania lawmakers led a successful fight that forced the NFL to overhaul its TV policy.
But back to Jack and Rebecca’s first date on that Immaculate Reception date. This Is Us fans also noted the weather in Pittsburgh in December and questioned why Jack wasn’t wearing a coat and why there were no holiday decorations during a carnival that took place two days before Christmas. In addition, while the carnival scene showed Jack and his date getting caught in a major rain storm, another fan noted that the weather in Pittsburgh on Dec. 23, 1972, was 42 degrees and no rain. You can see some of the fan reaction to the This Is Us premiere below.
Was disappointed at the major error in this week's "This Is Us." On day of The Immaculate Reception, the writers portrayed several Pittsburghers as saying, "Did you see that game? Crazy, right?" The problem? Pittsburghers did not see that game. NFL blackout. (Yes, still bitter).
— Michael DeCourcy (@tsnmike) September 28, 2018
LOVE “This is Us”, but did notice a slight writing flaw: The Immaculate Reception took place on December 23, 1972. Hard to imagine a no jacket outdoor Pittsburgh carnival 2 days before Christmas.
— Jake Query (@jakequery) September 26, 2018
— Frank Boesch (@frankboesch) September 26, 2018
One detail This Is Us got exactly right was Jack’s attire for his first date with his future wife. This Is Us fans may recall that in the Season 1 episode “The Pool,” Jack gave his “magic” Daytona Beach shirt to his young daughter Kate (Mackenzie Hancsicsak) after she was bullied by some mean girls at the local swimming pool. The doting dad recounted a story of how he wore the spring break shirt on his first date with Rebecca. If you look closely you can see Jack’s famous green shirt underneath his plaid flannel while he’s at the carnival with Rebecca in the “Nine Bucks” episode.
This Is Us airs Tuesdays at 9 p.n. ET on NBC.