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What Is A Hail Mary Pass

If you have ever watched American football before you may have heard the term Hail Mary pass. It is used to describe a very long pass, that has little chance of success, used out of desperation. It is most commonly used with little time remaining in the game in an effort to quickly score a touchdown or get field position for a last ditch field goal. Continue reading if you want to find out where this term comes from.

How the Hail Mary pass became famous
The term had actually been used in football before, but it was a NFL playoff game between the Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings in 1975 when it became famous. With the Cowboys trailing 10-14 with 24 seconds remaining, Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach threw a very long pass to wide receiver Drew Pearson. Pearson managed to catch it and score a touchdown. In the interview after the game Roger Staubach explained the pass by saying “I closed my eyes and said a Hail Mary.”

Did you know?
The play caused much controversy at the time because Minnesota thought that they deserved a interference penalty. To further confuse the situation an orange was thrown onto the field which some people mistook for a penalty flag. The argument from Minnesota player Alan Page gave away a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the kickoff. The crowd became quite hostile and on Minnesota’s next play a whiskey bottle was thrown at the referee. The referee, Armen Terzian, was struck in the head and was knocked unconscious and left with a severe gash on his head. He was replaced by a substitute referee and was taken to hospital for 11 stitches.

You can watch this famous moment in football in the following video:

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