Definition of Hail Mary



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What does the term "hail mary" mean in the world of sports? What is meant by a "hail mary"?

The term "Hail Mary" originated from a traditional Catholic prayer in which the person praying calls on divine intervention from the Virgin Mary.

In terms of the world of football, the term "Hail Mary" was popularized on December 28th, 1975. During a playoff game between the Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings, Roger Staubach tossed the winning touchdown and afterwards said to reporters that he closed his eyes and "said a Hail Mary", meaning that he was calling on divine intervention to complete the winning pass.

The term was used prior to this, especially at Notre Dame and other Catholic universities, though Roger Staubach popularized the phase. Note: the Cowboys won that game 17-14, with Staubach completing a 50 yard pass to Drew Pearson to win the game.


The football term Hail Mary is explained in this article.  What is it?


The term "Hail Mary" has now come to mean any long touchdown pass attempt that has a very low probability of being completed. In most cases, the "Hail Mary" is attempted at the end of a game when a quarterback flings the ball as hard as they can into the endzone, with members of both teams jumping up to attempt to catch the ball.

Here is one of the most well-known examples of a "Hail Mary", with Doug Flutie of Boston College throwing a "Hail Mary" to end the game:




The term "Hail Mary" can also be applied to everyday life, with it coming to mean any last-minute attempt to pull off some very unlikely event.