Staubach's Hail Mary TD Pass to Pearson
The Cowboys’ chances of winning were remote: playing in the cold of Minneapolis in the divisional round of the 1975 playoffs, they were down 14-10 to the two-time defending NFC champion Vikings with just 32 seconds left. Dallas had the ball at the 50, and a second down and 10. From the shotgun, quarterback Roger Staubach dropped back, pump-faked, and launched a pass as far as he could in the direction of Drew Pearson, an All-Pro wide receiver (“I just closed my eyes and said, ‘Hail Mary,’” Staubach would later recall.) Two Vikings -- cornerback Nate Wright, who was closely covering Pearson, and safety Paul Krause -- converged on the ball as it came out of the sky. But at the last moment, Wright overran the ball and fell – and a flat-footed Pearson reached forward, caught the ball waist-high at the 5, and walked into the end zone. With the Vikings standing around looking shocked, Pearson wound up and fired the ball into the crowd. The Cowboys won the game, 17-14, and won again the next week to advance to Super Bowl X, where they fell to the Steelers, 21-17. From that point forward, such desperation heaves – often previously called “alley-oops” – were widely referred to as Hail Marys.