What is a "Hail Mary" pass?

What is a "Hail Mary" pass?
A "Hail Mary" pass is a term used in American football to describe a long, desperate, and high-risk pass thrown by a quarterback in the closing moments of a game. It is typically attempted when a team is trailing by a significant margin and time is running out, leaving them with limited options to score the necessary points,

The term "Hail Mary" is believed to have originated in the 1975 NFC Divisional Playoff game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Minnesota Vikings. With seconds left on the clock and the Cowboys down by four points, quarterback Roger Staubach launched a high, arching pass towards the end zone, intended for wide receiver Drew Pearson. The pass was completed for a touchdown, and the Cowboys won the game, leading Staubach to famously exclaim, "I closed my eyes and said a Hail Mary."

Since then, the term has become synonymous with a last-ditch effort to score a touchdown. When a team attempts a Hail Mary pass, it involves throwing the ball as far as possible, often with multiple receivers running deep routes and positioning themselves in the end zone. The quarterback hopes that one of his receivers will either catch the ball or tip it to a teammate for a touchdown.

Executing a successful Hail Mary pass is considered highly improbable due to the distance the ball needs to travel and the number of defenders in the vicinity. However, teams resort to this play when time is running out and other strategic options have been exhausted. It is a high-risk, high-reward play that can result in a game-changing touchdown or a turnover, depending on the outcome.

While the success rate of Hail Mary passes is relatively low, they create moments of excitement, anticipation, and drama for both players and fans alike. They represent the desperation and resilience of a team unwilling to accept defeat until the very last second, and their execution can become legendary moments in the history of the sport.

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