“I DON’T BELIEVE IT!”
Modern football is home to some of the most explosive and entertaining offenses in the game. Steve Spurrier’s ‘Fun N’ Gun’ trendsetting offense at the University of Florida, current UCLA coach Chip Kelly’s absolutely furious-paced spread offense, and Mike Leach’s air-raid system at Washington State and formerly of Texas Tech are important all examples of how using tempo and moving the football through the air changed the game. 30, 40, or even 50+-yard passes have become the norm in football, and frankly, it’s disappointing to NOT see any big plays.
Taking it back even further Dallas Cowboys‘ QB and eventual Hall of Famer Roger Staubach manned one of the most explosive NFL offenses. One that went on to execute one of the greatest plays in pro sports history.
The Cowboys found themselves in the playoffs once again in 1975 facing the vaunted Minnesota Vikings defense in the divisional round. Trailing in the waning seconds of the game, Staubach reached back and put everything he had into a throw down the sideline into double-coverage to Drew Pearson. Impossible, right? WRONG!
Pearson adjusted back to the football (definitely looked like offensive pass interference, but that’s a story for another time) and took the ball in the end zone to give Dallas the lead and eventually the win.
After the game, when asked about the play, Staubach, a devout Christian, called the play a ‘Hail Mary.’
“Now it’s a term used for everything,” Staubach said. “Politicians and everybody else use it. One of the worse times I heard it used was when I was watching someone on TV talk about O.J. Simpson, and the commentator said, ‘Man, it’s going to take a Hail Mary for him to get another trial.’” – USA Today
It is pretty cool to think that the name of a prayer would have stuck around for generations all because of one play in the NFL playoffs. The Hail Mary prayer has been around for centuries, but Staubach’s use of the words after his historic moment has lasted his entire lifetime.