A Hail Mary is not always sufficient to give a team the victory. On the last play of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals, with the Ravens leading 17-10, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton shot a 51-yard Hail Mary to the end zone, where a Ravens player tipped the ball in the air directly to A.J. Green for a score. The Ravens won by one point (18-17). This was the first postseason win for the Ravens since 2000.
In American football, the term "Hail Mary" comes from a series of Latin prayers that begin, "Hail Mary...full of grace..." The phrase is used to describe a last-ditch effort made during a game situation.
The Baltimore Ravens have had many memorable games over their history. However, none were more dramatic than their first-round playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals in 2016. With the game tied 10-10 late in regulation time, Joe Flacco threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree with 11 seconds remaining to give the Ravens a 17-10 lead. But on the ensuing kickoff, Vontaze Burfict launched his leg into the chest of Justin Tucker, sending him flying into the end zone for a safety and tying the game at 17-17. From then on out, there would be no further scoring as the two teams went into overtime.
Tim Couch won another game three years after his first Hail Mary against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Couch threw a 50-yard Hail Mary that Quincy Morgan grabbed, and the accompanying extra point gave the Browns a 21-20 victory.
Couch's final game as a Cleveland Brown was this one. The then-young quarterback went 22 of 36 for 323 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran for a touchdown.
The Browns were 1-15 in their previous 16 games before they defeated Jacksonville. Prior to this win, however, they had lost 10 straight games. The last time they had won more than one game in a row was in 2004 when they finished 6-10.
Couch's career record was 24-30-1. He ended his short career with two victories in its final two games.
He died in May 2013 at the age of 45 after suffering from depression.
Couch's death came less than two months after that of his friend and former teammate Akili Smith. Smith's body was found in his home in November 2012 after he failed to show up for work. He was only 27 years old.
Couch was playing for the Browns on December 20, 2010 when Smith died.
Over the last decade, Hail Marys have been successful around once out of every 12 tries, thanks to innovative protection systems, improved quarterback mechanics, counterintuitive defensive strategies, and a dispute over whether to blitz or play coverage.
The story of how often they actually work is more complicated than that, but it does show that things can go your way even if you're following a popular ritual.
Hail Marys were first used in modern football during the 1950s, when they became so common that many people think they always worked. But they didn't until 1958, when Paul "Bear" Bryant helped bring them into vogue at the University of Kentucky. Since then, coaches have found ways to make them work for their teams.
Bryant is credited with creating most of the modern-day staples of college football, such as the T formation and the up-tempo offense. But it was his assistant, John Cooper, who is responsible for bringing out the creativity needed to make Hail Marys work.
In one game during Cooper's tenure at Kentucky, he called 11 Hail Marys in a row to no effect, until finally using one that worked. The effort saved his team from losing by a point, which would have ended its season.
The first entry was made on January 1, 2007. Thank you, Mary (1975 Roger Staubach pass) The legendary "Hail Mary" pass was thrown by Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach to wide receiver Drew Pearson in a football game against the Minnesota Vikings on December 28, 1975. The score was tied at 10 early in the fourth quarter and the Vikes were driving for a winning touchdown. With no timeouts left, Staubach threw a pass that was intercepted by Mike Bass of the Vikings who returned it 40 yards for a touchdown to win the game for Minnesota.
Staubach's pass was based on a play he called himself. It started with him dropping back to pass, but instead of throwing the ball away or running with it, he kept it and ran straight up the middle for a big gain. This became known as the "Roger Staubach Pass."
Staubach led the Cowboys to multiple playoff appearances during the 1970s before being traded to the New York Jets after the 1981 season. He went on to lead the Jets to the 1982 AFC Championship Game before losing to the Dolphins 41-37 in Miami. Staubach ended his career with the Cowboys in 1983 after leading them to the NFL championship game where they lost to the Los Angeles Rams 13-10.
Staubach has had a major impact on both the NFL and the University of Texas at Austin where he played college football.
The quarterback is Roger Staubach. In a playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings in 1975, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach coined the phrase "Hail Mary" to describe his miraculous, game-winning touchdown throw to fellow Pro Football Hall of Famer Drew Pearson. The play came with just over a minute left in the fourth quarter and the Cowboys down by two points.
After missing on two field goal attempts, Staubach found Pearson for a 56-yard touchdown strike that gave the Cowboys a 13-12 victory over the Vikings. The play became known as the "Hail Mary Pass," because it was done with only seconds remaining in the game and seemed like there was no chance for success.
Staubach also threw a game-ending touchdown pass to open the 1973 season, but that play didn't become famous until years after it happened. The story behind it was much more interesting than the actual play itself. In this case, it was a missed field goal by the Miami Dolphins' Johnny Unitas that gave the Cowboys a 4-3 win in Miami on September 11, 1973. After the game, Coach Tom Landry told reporters he wanted to try something unusual on the next drive, so he sent out rookie Staubach in place of Unitas. The gamble paid off when Staubach hit Pearson for a 70-yard touchdown completion that gave the Cowboys a 17-14 lead with only 30 seconds left in the third quarter.
With less than a minute remaining, Fighting Irish backup quarterback William Shakespeare fired a 19-yard throw that Wayne Millner received on his knees in the end zone, leading to an 18-13 victory. Hail Mary throws have grown in popularity in the NFL more than 40 years after Staubach's miraculous toss. In fact, there are now three different quarterbacks who have thrown Hail Marys this season alone.
The last NFL player to do so successfully was New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow in 2012. Before him, it had been almost 10 years since Washington Redskins quarterback Jason White broke his leg on a hail mary play during a game against the Chicago Bears. Before him again, it was 2008 when Brett Favre threw one that was caught by David Nelson of the Minnesota Vikings.
Tebow's success led to many copycats over the next few seasons until 2013 when Russell Wilson threw one for Seattle Seahawks that was also caught by Nelson. Since then, no one has replicated Tebow's success at throwing Hail Marys.
Hail Mary passes are very risky because they require perfect timing and execution by the quarterback. If the pass isn't thrown properly, it can be intercepted by another team member or fall downfield where it can be avoided by defensive players.
In conclusion, Tim Tebow is the only person who has ever successfully thrown a Hail Mary in the NFL.