What Is the Hail Mary in Football? (2022 Update)
What is a Hail Mary in football?
It is a long pass thrown in the end zone in the waning moments of a half or a game. Even though it rarely works, a team will frequently attempt if they believe it is their best chance to score before the clock runs out.
There is a potential that the defensive team will receive a penalty for pass interference or another infraction. This gives the offensive team another opportunity to score even if a player on the offense fails to catch the ball.
The traditional prayer most frequently recited by Catholics serves as the inspiration for the moniker given to this kind of entertainment. It has been used to describe passes that have minimal chance of success at least since the 1920s.
How to run a Hail Mary play?
Besides the definition of what is a Hail Mary in football, it’s more important to know how to run it. Comparatively speaking, the Hail Mary is much simpler than the other plays. The most receivers an offense can fit on the field will be spaced out wide.
This means that in addition to the quarterback, five offensive linemen, and five wide receivers, there won’t be a running back. The quarterback will begin the play in shotgun configuration for the offense. The receivers will have extra time to go downfield before the quarterback tosses the ball.
All receivers will run directly downfield after the snap. They want to reach the end zone as soon as they can, then turn around and look for the ball. The quarterback will take the snap and roll to the right or left to give the receivers extra time to get downfield. They will throw a deep pass downfield when the receivers are in or near the end zone.
To give the receivers enough time to get under the ball, the throw should be made extremely high in the air. This will cause the Hail Mary pass to travel differently than a typical pass. It is more akin to a kickoff or punt. With the exception of being spiraled, it will be higher and come down from a wider trajectory than a typical quarterback pass.
The receivers must keep watch of where the ball is going to attempt to catch it as it approaches them. Additionally, defenders will all be lining up in that vicinity in an effort to just knock the ball down. Receivers should simulate basketball players going for a rebound in order to increase the likelihood of success.
How old is the Hail Mary play?
The first play
The Hail Mary in football play has been performed for 46 years, or at least that is how long the word used to refer to the play has been used.
The Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings were competing in a game in December 1975. As the NFC Divisional Championship of the NFL Playoffs that year, it was a very significant game. With a mere few seconds remaining in the contest, the Cowboys were down by 4 scores, 14-10.
As time ran out, Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach fired a long throw far downfield. Dallas’ wide receiver Drew Pearson completed a 50-yard catch in the end zone to give his team a thrilling last-second victory.
The famous passes
While playing for Boston College in 1984, Doug Flutie threw an equally well-known Hail Mary throw. During the last few seconds of the game against the University of Miami Hurricanes, he fired a 52-yard pass to Gerald Phelan. Because of how well-liked this one pass is, Boston College memorialized it in 2008 by erecting a statue of Flutie.
Aaron Rodgers, the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, threw two famous Hail Mary throws during the 2015–2016 NFL season. Against the Detroit Lions in December, Rodgers fired a 61-yard throw from the Packers’ 35-yard line despite being down 20-23. Richard Rodgers, a tight end, caught the ball in the end zone and scored the go-ahead touchdown. The match earned the moniker “Miracle on Motown.”
Later that year, against the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship, Rodgers hit a second 60-yard pass to Jeff Janis, tying the score at 20 and forcing overtime.
In short, the Hail Mary in football is a long pass in the last effort to take the lead. As time runs out, teams will throw these desperate last-ditch throws to score points. Now, follow the website footballterms to know more ways to score in the NFL.