Hail Mary or Hail Aaron?

On December 28, 1975 Roger Staubach altered the course of history. On this day, he led the Cowboys to a come from behind victory in frigid Minnesota during the NFC Divisional Round Playoff game. With 32 seconds left on the clock and the Cowboys marching from the 50-yard line, this marks the original christening of the “Hail Mary” as we know it today. Staubach took the snap in the shotgun, dropped back, pumped left, and then heaved a 50-yard bomb to Drew Pearson on the right side for a miracle touchdown. Ultimately, this gave the Cowboys the lead and the victory to be able to escape the Vikings Fran Tarkenton and the frozen tundra of Minnesota.

This was dubbed the “Hail Mary” pass after an interview with Staubach revealed that he said, “I closed my eyes and said a Hail Mary”, before the snap of the ball. The name and concept of the Hail Mary pass caught fire in the league and as a general use term for all who attempt a low percentage shot, fully leaning on hope. It’s kind of fun, I mean, you remember growing up and playing football in the yard, having to throw up a prayer on the last play to try and win the game. It’s an exhilarating feeling, when you throw up a desperation pass and it hits, momentum can be changed through the works of a Hail Mary. All thanks to a tradition started in 1975 by none other than, America’s Team. Now, in today’s game, it is well noted that Roger Staubach may have invented the Hail Mary, but as any fan can see, Aaron Rodgers is the king.

Wild Card weekend produced nothing but mediocre games at best, and that’s saying something considering what we have come to expect NFL playoff games to be able to deliver. It highlighted some of the most obvious betting odds since Tim Tebow and friends traveled to visit Foxborough and take on Bill Belichick and the Patriots in the Divisional Round. Nonetheless, the Giants versus Packers game was interesting until the king delivered again. Seriously, he did it again. This time, during the final few seconds before halftime, a 42-yard Hail Mary to Randall Cobb in the back of the end zone. At this point, time had expired, the Packers were up 8 points, had momentum going into the break, and they would be receiving the second half kickoff. To me, it was all but over.

He has now completed 3 of them in a little over one calendar year. That’s insane, nobody does it as much as him, and as successfully as him during critical moments of games. We see it often throughout the league today, attempts to replicate the 1975 pass. The only other tandem that you could possibly compare to Rodgers and his receiver’s heroic moments would be the deathly combination of Andy Dalton to AJ Green. Oh wait, no, that last second one handed juggling catch happened against the Browns, surely, I can’t count that.

Rodgers is a prolific passer in the NFL, and a two-time MVP. His “luck” is no coincidence, the man can throw the football. Not only does he possess the ability to throw the ball incredibly far down field with ample hang time, he also has the uncanny ability to keep the play alive from pass rushers to give his receivers enough time to get to the end zone.

In all seriousness, Aaron Rodgers and his arsenal of receivers have perfected what Roger Staubach once dubbed as the Hail Mary.