A Look At How the Original "Hail Mary" Came To Be: Younger Fans May Be Interested

I actually started this as a comment in the article about Cowboys who've been left out of the Hall of Fame. Drew Pearson has always been at the top of that list for me; after all, almost all of Captain Comeback Staubach's victories include huge passes to Pearson. Somehow this 185 pound UFA from Tulsa would always find a way to be open so that Roger could make the big play to him!

The thing is someone has the whole game on Youtube, and a high quality video too:

When I watched this a year ago or so, I'd forgotten how desperate the last few minutes of that game were, how bad it looked before the Cowboys were even able to make it midfield in the first place to have a shot at that Hail Mary!

Minnesota was a tough team every year back then, especially their defense, and this game was played outside in December on the road, in Minnesota. Younger fans here would get an idea of how different the game was back then, although this game, with two of the best defenses in the league and played outside in freezing weather, isn't completely typical! Not all games in the 70's were this kind of defensive struggle.

Anyways, here's my commentary on that game:

Outdoors, at a tough,12-2 Minnesota Vikings stadium, December, too!

Drew Pearson, Too Tall, Harvey Martin, Lee Roy Jordan, Cliff Harris,Charlie Waters, even Mel Renfro still playing!

Skip to the 1:45:00 mark or so and go from there if you won’t watch the whole game.

The full story: Minnesota puts together a TD drive and takes a 14-10 lead, at home, with a fantastic defense that has held Dallas in check all day,
and about 6 minutes left.

Dallas has a horrific drive! 1st Down, pressure, Roger throws in the dirt. 2nd down, plenty of time, but he’s sacked as no one’s open.
3rd down, a bad snap and a fumble——Minny recovers and the game’s over! Wait, nope, Delay of Game Dallas, they’re "saved" for a 3d and 23.
Another bad snap!


Ugh, shanked! A fumble but Minny recovers, at this point the game is about over, the Vikings have the ball at the 45 yard line, only 3 minutes left……….in a game that’s been a defensive slugfest.

Dallas forces a punt, but they are on their own 14 yard line with 1:51 left———this is where you have to start watching!

The Hail Mary wasn’t in a vacuum, they had to get to mid-field from the 14 yard line first……..

1st Down, Drew Pearson, 9 yards…
2nd Down, Incomplete.1:41 left…
3rd Down, bad snap again! Roger snags it, scrambles, short pass, 1st down……

1st Down, bad snap!, Sacked! 1:00 left, at the 24 yard line
2nd and 17, at their own 24, pressure and thrown out of bounds….:(
3rd and 17, own 24, 52 seconds left, announcers start thanking the sponsors and refer to the game in the past tense

So there must be a big play coming, right??? Nope! 3rd and 17, Failure——-it actually goes to 4th down, on their own 24 yard line, 17 yards short, 44 seconds left

Then Landry takes out the Center and puts in a rookie because of all the bad snaps!!!
On 4th down, in the NFCCG!

Then comes just an incredible throw and even more incredible catch by Drew at the 50 yard line—-you have to see it to believe it!
On 4th down and 17 with 40 seconds left in the NFCCG!

No one remembers this play much, but it's an incredible catch on the sideline, barely getting both feet down, and again, it's 4th and 17 with 44 seconds a playoff game!

37 seconds left, at the 50 yard line, 1st down, and Roger hits a wide open Preston Pearson———-but he slips and stumbles and drops the pass…..nobody within 10 yards of him too………….

2nd and 10, 32 seconds left….and Drew makes the famous catch on a poorly thrown ball, while being interfered with……silence and confusion in the crowd, and even the announcers……..

And it's basically over, until the KO and a couple of plays.........

A couple of people may want to watch the whole game

Many people may want to start at about the 1 hour, 45 minute mark when Minny takes the lead,

But at least, the very least, watch the 4th Down pass he caught 2 plays earlier to set up the famous Hail Mary we've seen over and over------without that 4th down play under incredible pressure, there is no winning Hail Mary pass........

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.