A receiver from New Jersey plays small-college football, lands a spot as a free agent with the Dallas Cowboys, becomes a team-leading Pro Bowler ... and has a chance to be a spotlight player in a classic Cowboys-at-Vikings playoff game?
"It can be done,'' says Drew Pearson. "I know it. Because I did it.''
Blogging The Boys' "Glory Days'' series continues with an anecdote from the legendary "Mr. Clutch,'' the guy on the business end of the "Hail Mary,'' the guy whose career path is now being followed by Miles Austin ... here's Drew Pearson:
Last week's get-together evening with assorted Cowboys legends was created for a CBS-TV taping of a pilot called "Glory Days.'' While memories were more plentiful than miscues, goofs were permissible (it was taped, not live TV) and they did happen. One occurred when hostess Lesley Visser was questioning the legendary Cowboys on stage at the Winspear Opera House in Dallas and turned to Pearson.
"Drew, what were some of your thoughts on the Cowboys in Super Bowl III?'' she asked.
Pearson was only momentarily taken aback before he formulated an answer.
"Well, I was in high school in New Jersey,'' said Drew, who in fact shares a Jan. 12 birthday with the date of Super Bowl III, when he turned 18.
But Drew was there for the Hail Mary.
"Mr. Clutch'' told the story of how the phrase "Hail Mary'' came to be part of the football vernacular. Back then, he said, when a touchdown pass was thrown, the media always went to the QB and not to the pass receiver. Thus, he said, it was Roger Staubach who reflected on that playoff-winning heave in Minnesota on December 28, 1975, this way: "I just closed my eyes and threw it as far as I could and said a ‘Hail Mary.'''
Pearson said that he's heard dozens of "creative'' explanations for the origins of the phrase - including a two-page letter he once received by a man in Minnesota claiming to be the originator.
"It was a priest from Minnesota,'' Pearson said. "I had to very respectfully tell the priest that he was mistaken.''
History could've been different, Drew pointed out. Remember, he said, reporters used to focus so exclusively on the quarterback who threw the pass ...
"Had the media collected around my locker,'' Pearson said, "I would've called it a ‘Hail Baptist.''