A Hail Mary pass, also known as a shot play, is a very long forward pass in American football, typically made in desperation, with only a small chance of success and/or time running out on the clock. The term became widespread after a December 28, 1975, NFL playoff game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Minnesota Vikings, when Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach (a Roman Catholic and fan of The Godfather Part II (1974), whose character Fredo had popularized the phrase) said about his game-winning touchdown pass to wide receiver Drew Pearson, "I closed my eyes and said a Hail Mary."
The expression goes back at least to the 1930s, in which decade it was widely used publicly by two former members of Notre Dame's Four Horsemen, Elmer Layden and Jim Crowley. Originally meaning any sort of desperation play, a "Hail Mary" gradually came to denote a long, low-probability pass, typically of the "alley-oop" variety, attempted at the end of a half when a team is too far from the end zone to execute a more conventional play, implying that it would take divine intervention for the play to succeed. For more than 40 years, use of the term was largely confined to Notre Dame and other Catholic universities.
Crowley often told the story of an October 28, 1922, game between Notre Dame and Georgia Tech in which the Fighting Irish players said Hail Mary prayers together before scoring each of the touchdowns, before winning the game 13–3. According to Crowley, it was one of the team’s linemen, Noble Kizer (a Presbyterian), who suggested praying before the first touchdown, which occurred on a fourth and goal play at the Tech 6-yard line during the second quarter. Quarterback Harry Stuhldreher, another of the Horsemen, threw a quick pass over the middle to Paul Castner for the score. The ritual was repeated before a third and goal play, again at Tech’s six, in the fourth quarter. This time Stuhldreher ran for a touchdown, which sealed the win for Notre Dame. After the game, Kizer exclaimed to Crowley, "Say, that Hail Mary is the best play we've got." Crowley related this story many times in public speeches beginning in the 1930s.
On November 2, 1935, with 32 seconds left in the so-called "Game of the Century" between Ohio State and Notre Dame, Irish halfback Bill Shakespeare found receiver Wayne Millner for a 19-yard, game-winning touchdown. Notre Dame head coach Elmer Layden (who had played in the 1922 Georgia Tech game) afterwards called it a "Hail Mary" play.
An early appearance of the term was in an Associated Press story about the upcoming 1941 Orange Bowl between the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Georgetown Hoyas. The piece appeared in several newspapers including the December 31, 1940, Daytona Beach Morning Journal under the headline, "Orange Bowl: [Georgetown] Hoyas Put Faith in 'Hail Mary' Pass"). As the article explained, "A 'hail Mary' pass, in the talk of the Washington eleven, is one that is thrown with a prayer because the odds against completion are big."
During an NBC broadcast in 1963, Staubach, then a Navy quarterback, described a pass play during his team's victory over Michigan that year as a "Hail Mary play". He scrambled to escape a pass rush, nearly getting sacked 20 yards behind the line of scrimmage before completing a desperation pass for a one-yard gain.
Arguably the most memorable and replayed Hail Mary pass came on November 23, 1984, in a game now known as "Hail Flutie". Boston College was losing to Miami (FL) with six seconds left on the clock when their quarterback Doug Flutie threw a 52-yard touchdown pass to Gerard Phelan, succeeding primarily because Miami's secondary stood on the goal line to keep the receivers in front of them without covering a post route behind them. Miami's defense was based on the assumption that Flutie couldn't throw the ball as far as the end zone, but Flutie hit Phelan in stride against a flatfooted defense a yard deep in the end zone. To commemorate the play, a statue of Flutie in his Hail Mary passing pose was unveiled outside Alumni Stadium at Boston College on November 7, 2008.
Other noteworthy examples include:
The term "Hail Mary pass" has become generalized to refer to any last-ditch effort with little chance of success.
In basketball, a "Hail Mary shot" or "Hail Mary throw" is a shot thrown from a place far away from the basket (e.g., behind the half court line). It is typically attempted when there is not enough time left in the period to execute a more traditional play, and (in a case where the team attempting the shot is in the final regulation period or overtime) when they are either tied or behind by no more than three points. In basketball, successful shots at the basket will count as long as the ball is released prior to the expiration of time. A scoring shot that enters the basket after time expires is called a buzzer beater (in reference to the "buzzer" that sounds to signal the end of the period).
In soccer, a "Hail Mary effort" is a ball lumped up field towards a plethora of forwards trying to score a last ditch goal in the dying moments of a pivotal match. It is typically attempted when one goal will either salvage a draw from a losing position, or a win from a tied position with the last throw of the dice. Examples include:
There are similar usages in other fields, such as a "Hail Mary shot" in photography where the photographer holds the view finder of an SLR camera far from his eye (so unable to compose the picture), usually high above his head, and takes a shot. This is often used in crowded situations.
The 1980 Minnesota Vikings season was the team's 20th year in the National Football League's 61st season. The Vikings finished with a record of nine wins and seven losses. The Vikings won the NFC Central division, winning the tiebreaker with Detroit, who also had a 9–7 record.
The most dramatic game of the season came in a Week 15 home game against Cleveland, with Minnesota at 8–6. The Vikings came back from a fourteen-point deficit to come within 23–22, with only 0:05 left on the clock from Cleveland's 46-yard line. (The Vikings had missed two field goals and two extra points during the game.) Quarterback Tommy Kramer threw a Hail Mary Pass which was caught by Ahmad Rashād at the two yard line. Rashād backed into the end zone to give Minnesota a 28–23 win with no time left.1994 Holiday Bowl
The 1994 Holiday Bowl was a college football bowl game played December 30, 1994, in San Diego, California. It was part of the 1994 NCAA Division I-A football season. It featured the tenth ranked Colorado State Rams, and the Michigan Wolverines. This game was notable because Michigan, had earlier lost to CSU's in-state rivals the Colorado Buffaloes on a hail mary pass, and was looking to defeat at least one Colorado school.1995 AFC Championship Game
The 1995 AFC Championship Game was the championship game for the American Football Conference for the 1995 season. The game was played on January 14, 1996 at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who hosted the Indianapolis Colts for the chance to play the winner of the National Football Conference in Super Bowl XXX in Tempe, Arizona.
While it was considered a mismatch between an expected Super Bowl contender (Pittsburgh) and a Cinderella team (Indianapolis) in the week leading up to the game, it turned out to be very competitive, going down to the last play of the game when Colts quarterback Jim Harbaugh threw a Hail Mary pass that was dropped in the end zone by the intended receiver, Aaron Bailey. The dropped pass gave the Steelers a 20–16 victory and sent them to Super Bowl XXX, the team's first Super Bowl appearance since Super Bowl XIV sixteen years earlier.
The game would mark a turning point for both franchises. For Steelers head coach Bill Cowher, it would be the first of only two times the Steelers would advance to the Super Bowl during his 15-year tenure at home, as the team would host the AFC Championship Game five times between 1994 and 2004 but would lose nearly all of them, with the 1995 game being the one exception. For the Colts, it marked an unexpected period of success in the mid-1990s for a franchise that otherwise struggled between its 1984 move to Indianapolis (as well as the team's last few years in Baltimore before that) and the team drafting Peyton Manning with the number one overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft.
The game has been ranked among the best Conference Championship games in the history of the National Football League by several publications, including Sports Illustrated, ESPN, AOL, and several local publications throughout the United States. NFL Films would go on to feature the game in both its ongoing NFL Films Game of the Week and NFL's Greatest Games series.2012 Capital One Bowl
The 2012 Capital One Bowl, the 66th edition of the game, was a post-season American college football bowl game, held on January 2, 2012 at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida as part of the 2011–12 NCAA Bowl season.
The game, which was telecast at 1:00 p.m. ET on ESPN, featured the #9 South Carolina Gamecocks from the Southeastern Conference versus the #20 Nebraska Cornhuskers from the Big Ten Conference.
In the third quarter, South Carolina receiver Alshon Jeffery and Nebraska corner Alfonzo Dennard were involved in a fight, resulting in both players being ejected.Down 13–9 at the end of the first half, South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw took the snap from the Gamecocks' own 49-yard line with 0:06 seconds remaining. With 0:02 remaining, Shaw heaved a Hail Mary pass, which was caught at the 4-yard line by Jeffery, who dove into the endzone for a touchdown as time expired. South Carolina went on to win 30–13, and Jeffery was named MVP of the game.
This game is notable for being the first-ever 11th win in a season for the South Carolina football program, which ultimately led to their first top-10 final ranking in the major college football polls.2014 Bahamas Bowl
The 2014 Bahamas Bowl was a post-season American college football bowl game that was played December 24, 2014 at Thomas Robinson Stadium in Nassau in the Bahamas. The first edition of the Bahamas Bowl featured the Central Michigan Chippewas of the Mid-American Conference against the WKU Hilltoppers of Conference USA. It began at 12:00 p.m. EST and aired on ESPN. It was one of the 2014–15 bowl games that concluded the 2014 FBS football season. Sponsored by the Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen fried chicken restaurant chain, the game was officially known as the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl.
Western Kentucky beat Central Michigan, 49–48.
By the middle of the third quarter, the Chippewas had fallen behind the Hilltoppers by a score of 49–14, but they scored four unanswered touchdowns and so near the end of the fourth quarter were down by only seven points.
With one second remaining on the clock, Central Michigan had the ball on their own 25 yard line. The would be final play started with a 45-yard Hail Mary pass from QB Cooper Rush which was caught by receiver Jesse Kroll. As Kroll was being tackled he lateraled the ball teammate Deon Butler, who darted 20 yards before lateraling to Courtney Williams. With no room to run, Williams executed a quick third lateral pass to star receiver Titus Davis who ran the final 13 yards and dove towards the pylon, scoring a touchdown that would have tied the game with a kicked extra point and sent the game into overtime, but instead Central Michigan attempted a two-point conversion for the win, which was unsuccessful. Had the try succeeded, it would have marked the largest comeback in bowl history and tied the largest comeback in any FBS game. The play was nominated for an ESPY Award.
Chippewas quarterback Cooper Rush threw seven touchdown passes, setting a new NCAA bowl game record.This was the first postseason bowl game to be played outside the United States since the 2010 International Bowl at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada.Aaron Bailey (American football)
Aaron Bailey (born October 24, 1971) is a former professional American football player who played wide receiver for five seasons for the Indianapolis Colts in the National Football League (NFL).Bailey will be best remembered for what happened in the 1995 AFC Championship game. Trailing the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-16 with time for one last play, quarterback Jim Harbaugh threw a Hail Mary pass that went to Bailey's direction, but officials ruled that Bailey dropped the ball and the Steelers advanced to Super Bowl XXX.
Interestingly, Bailey attended the same high school as Harbaugh's brother and future Baltimore Ravens head coach, John Harbaugh.
Bailey played for the Chicago Enforcers of the XFL in 2001 and in the Arena Football League (2001–2006).Bluegrass Miracle
The Bluegrass Miracle was a 74-yard game-winning touchdown pass by the No. 16 LSU Tigers with no time left on the clock against the Kentucky Wildcats on November 9, 2002 at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky. The ball was tipped by a Kentucky player before being caught at the 15-yard line by Devery Henderson of LSU, who ran it in for the score.Fail Mary
The Fail Mary, sometimes known as the Inaccurate Reception, was the final play of an American football game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League (NFL) that occurred on September 24, 2012 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington. In a nationally televised game on ESPN's Monday Night Football, the Seahawks defeated the Packers, 14–12 in controversial fashion.
On the final play of the tightly-contested game, Seattle rookie quarterback Russell Wilson threw a Hail Mary pass into the end zone intended for wide receiver Golden Tate. Both Tate and Packers defender M. D. Jennings got their hands on the ball while both players were still in the air and attempting to gain possession. The two officials near the play initially gave separate signals of touchdown and touchback, before ruling the players had simultaneous possession, resulting in a Seahawks game-winning touchdown. Prior to the catch, Tate shoved Packers cornerback Sam Shields with both hands, which the NFL later acknowledged should have drawn an offensive pass interference penalty that would have negated the touchdown and resulted in a Packers victory. The lack of a pass interference penalty and the ruling of a touchdown via simultaneous catch were widely questioned in the aftermath of the game, drawing comments from the game's announcers, NFL players, and the media. The NFL subsequently released a statement defending the touchdown ruling.
The controversial ending followed weeks of criticism regarding the quality of officiating by replacement officials employed by the NFL during the 2012 NFL referee lockout. Two days after the game, the NFL and the NFL Referees Association announced they had reached an agreement to end the lockout. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged that the negative attention the game drew to the referee situation was an impetus for ending the labor dispute.Flutie effect
The Flutie effect or Flutie factor refers to the American phenomenon of having a successful college sports team increase the exposure and prominence of a university. This is named after Boston College's Doug Flutie, whose successful Hail Mary pass in the 1984 game against the University of Miami clinched a win which allegedly played a large role in the increase in applications to Boston College the following year.GMT900
The GMT900 truck platform debuted at the 2006 North American International Auto Show, as basis for the next generation of General Motors full-size pickups and SUVs, and replacements for the GMT800 vehicles. The first GMT900 vehicle introduced was the next-generation Chevrolet Tahoe.
GMT900 had been called a "Hail Mary pass" for the General Motors Corporation — the company needed the revenue from these large trucks to ensure their financial solvency. The company's resources were focused exclusively on GMT900 development through 2005, delaying other programs like the GM Zeta platform. With the 2005 spike in gasoline prices, some analysts have questioned the wisdom of "betting the company" on a line of large trucks. Sales were initially brisk, but later dropped off as the market moved to more fuel-efficient unibody vehicles.The GMT900 series features standard vehicle stability control. Original plans called for American Axle's "I-Ride" independent suspension module in the rear, but this appears to have been cancelled.
Short wheelbase (Yukon/Tahoe) GMT900 production began at GM's Arlington Assembly plant in Arlington, Texas on December 1, 2005, six weeks ahead of schedule. Production of the SWB versions began at Janesville Assembly in Janesville, Wisconsin in early January 2006. Production of long wheelbase trucks (Suburban/Yukon XL) begins in Janesville and at Silao Assembly in Silao, Guanajuato, in March. The Avalanche will be produced only in Silao, while the Escalade will be based in Arlington.
The SUVs began to show up at dealers in January 2006. Sales initially exceeded expectations, but by 2008, General Motors announced they were significantly cutting back production. GM has closed the SUV plant in Janesville, Wisconsin, consolidating SUV production in Arlington, Texas.
The related Silverado and Sierra pickups started production in late 2006. The HUMMER H2 was meant to move to the new platform in the next few years, but has since been cancelled.
Due to a long-lasting downturn in sales of full-size trucks and SUVs in the United States (up to a 30% down through the first nine months of 2008), General Motors cancelled the next-generation CXX truck program in May 2008. Along with it, the replacements for the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban and their siblings at GMC and Cadillac.The automotive press has speculated that some GMT900 SUV models may move to the GM Lambda platform.On January 14, 2010, General Motors announced that they will resume development of full-size trucks and SUVs.Hail Flutie
The Hail Flutie game, also known as the Miracle in Miami, is a college football game that took place between the Boston College Eagles and the University of Miami Hurricanes on November 23, 1984. It has been regarded by FOX Sports writer Kevin Hench as among the most memorable moments in sports. The game is most notable for a last-second Hail Mary pass from quarterback Doug Flutie to wide receiver Gerard Phelan to give Boston College the win. Miami was the defending national champion and entered the game ranked 12th in the nation. Boston College was ranked 10th with a record of 8–2 and had already accepted an invitation to the Cotton Bowl Classic at the end of the season. The game was played at the Miami Orange Bowl, and televised nationally by CBS, with Brent Musburger, Ara Parseghian, and Pat Haden commentating.
Notable achievements in the game included:
The Hurricanes' Bernie Kosar passed for a school-record 447 yards.
Miami running back Melvin Bratton ran for four touchdowns.
Flutie passed for 472 yards and four touchdowns and became the first collegiate quarterback ever to surpass 10,000 yards passing in a college career.Homer and Ned's Hail Mary Pass
"Homer and Ned's Hail Mary Pass" is the eighth episode of season 16 of The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on February 6, 2005. It is a Super Bowl-themed episode that was broadcast after Super Bowl XXXIX and aired on the day American Dad! premiered.
This is the first episode in which Comic Book Guy's real name, Jeff Albertson, is revealed to the audience.Kordell Stewart
Kordell Stewart (born October 16, 1972), nicknamed "Slash", is a former American football player who played eleven years in the National Football League (NFL). Stewart attended the University of Colorado and was the 60th player selected in the 1995 NFL draft. Playing for Colorado in 1994 he completed a Hail Mary pass to beat the University of Michigan 27–26, a play which became known as "The Miracle at Michigan." Among NFL quarterbacks, his 38 rushing touchdowns ranks him fourth all-time, behind Cam Newton (with 58), Steve Young (with 43) and Jack Kemp (with 40). The NFL Network named him #6 on its list of the 10 most versatile players in NFL history. He played mostly at quarterback, but also played wide receiver for a year.List of Hail Mary passes in American football
This is a list, ordered by year, of famous Hail Mary plays from collegiate and professional football in the United States.Miracle at Michigan
The Miracle at Michigan refers to the final play that occurred during the American football game played on September 24, 1994 between the Colorado Buffaloes and Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The game was decided on Colorado quarterback Kordell Stewart's 64-yard Hail Mary pass to Michael Westbrook, the second touchdown by the Buffaloes in the last 2:16. The game was described as one of the two wildest finishes in Michigan football history.Colorado trailed Michigan 26–21 with six seconds left when Stewart heaved the ball more than 70 yards in the air into the end zone where Westbrook caught it on a planned deflection from Blake Anderson for the game-winning touchdown. The play, which was named "Rocket Left", was called by Bill McCartney, Colorado coach and former Michigan assistant coach. Westbrook, Anderson and Rae Carruth lined up wide left and James Kidd lined up wide right. The same play was called to end the first half, resulting in a Chuck Winters interception.Miracle at the Met
The Miracle at the Met refers to the Minnesota Vikings' comeback win over the Cleveland Browns in Week 15 of the 1980 NFL season. The Vikings trailed 23–9 in the fourth quarter, but won after Vikings quarterback Tommy Kramer passed for two touchdowns to wide receiver Ahmad Rashad in the last two minutes, including a 46-yard Hail Mary pass caught with one hand on the last play of the game. The final play is also known as the "Miracle Catch." The Vikings won, 28–23.Miracle in Motown
The Miracle in Motown was the final play of an American football game between the NFC North divisional rivals Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions on Thursday, December 3, 2015. The game, which was broadcast on television nationally on Thursday Night Football, was played at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan during the 2015 NFL season. On the final play of regulation, with no time remaining on the game clock, Packers quarterback (QB) Aaron Rodgers threw a 61-yard (56 m) Hail Mary pass into the end-zone that was caught by tight end (TE) Richard Rodgers for the game-winning touchdown after (DE) Devin Taylor face masked Aaron Rodgers which resulted in a one additional play.
The play resulted in a dramatic 27–23 come-from-behind victory for the Packers, who had trailed 20–0 in the second half. The victory was the Packers fourth-largest comeback in franchise history. It was also the start of a 3–game winning streak that would help the Packers clinch their seventh consecutive postseason berth. The Lions would end the season with a record of 7–9 and fail to reach the playoffs.Offside (sport)
Offside, often pluralized as Offsides in American English, is a rule used by several different team sports regulating aspects of player positioning. It is particularly used in field sports with rules deriving from the various codes of football, such as association football, rugby union and rugby league, and in some other sports e.g. ice hockey, field hockey and bandy.
Offside rules are generally designed to ensure that players play together as a team, and do not consistently position one or a few players near the opponent's goal to try to receive a "Hail Mary pass" for an easy goal without opposing players nearby. However, the application and enforcement of offside rules can be complicated, and can sometimes be confusing for new players as well as for spectators.
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