usingtherightwords

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Hail Mary, Full of Grace … Please Catch This Pass


Yesterday’s dramatic Super Bowl reminded me of something I read in Sports Illustrated about the origin of the Hail Mary pass. It appeared for a time that such a play might occur, although it didn’t.

The Hail Mary pass has come to mean a long desperate forward pass that has little hope of working but occasionally does. But it didn’t start that way.

Sports Illustrated credited Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach with possibly coining the phrase. After Staubach completed a 50-yard desperation pass to Drew Pearson to beat host Minnesota in 1975, he told the press, “I guess you’d call that a Hail Mary Pass. You throw it up and pray he catches it.” (Sports Illustrated said Staubach said the Hail Mary prayer during the play.)

I was all ready to end this post right there, if not for the usually unreliable Wikipedia. It pointed out that the term went all the way back to the famed Four Horsemen of Notre Dame and a link to an article explaining the origins. A Hail Mary was (and still is) a prayer Catholics utter, but on the gridiron in the 1920s, players would utter the prayer to help them get out of any difficult game-related situation. Notre Dame said the prayer during a 1922 game in which the then-Ramblers (they weren’t Fighting Irish yet) trailed Georgia Tech 3-0 but came back to win.

There have been many famous Hail Mary moments, including Boston College’s Doug Flutie’s pass to beat Miami (another Catholic example). But now we all know the origins.

Pray if you must.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

 

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February 4, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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