What Is a Hail Mary In American Football?

hail mary

What Is A Hail Mary In Football? 

A Hail Mary is a long-distance pass thrown into the end zone at the end of a game, usually when one team is behind and time is running out. The quarterback will throw the ball as far as possible in the hope that one of his teammates can catch it for a touchdown. The phrase comes from the Catholic prayer and implies that this type of desperate move requires divine intervention for it to succeed. 

History Of The Hail Mary 

The origin of the phrase dates back to 1975 when Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach threw a 50-yard pass to Drew Pearson for the winning touchdown against Minnesota with just 24 seconds left on the clock.

After throwing an interception earlier in the game, Staubach was determined not to give up and gave his famous quote after scoring: “I closed my eyes and said a Hail Mary.” Since then, any last-ditch attempt at scoring during an American football game has been referred to as a Hail Mary pass.  

How Does A Hail Mary Work? 

This type of play relies heavily on luck and skill; quarterbacks must be able to accurately throw long distances while avoiding defenders and ensuring that their intended receiver can catch it without interference from another player.

Overall, the play involves extreme risk; even if it is successful, there are no guarantees that the other team won’t be able to score again before time runs out. That said, it can be an effective way for teams behind late in games to snatch victory from defeat. When completed, they can be very exciting and memorable moments. Check the video below for examples!