December 28, 1975

Drew Pearson catches a Hail Mary from Staubach vs. the VikingsThe Cowboys had finished the 75 season with a 10-4 record with thirteen rookies on the squad. They entered the divisional playoff a heavy underdog to the Vikings. With less than two minutes left in a punt-filled defensive struggle, the Cowboys were trailing 14-10 with the ball on their own 9 yard line. Staubach connected on 5 passes with Drew Pearson, including a clutch 22-yarder on fourth down to keep the drive alive where he made the catch and stepped out of bonds on the 50.
Staubach lined up in the shotgun formation. Pearson took off toward cornerback Nate Wright, faked to the inside and then raced for the sideline. Staubach hurled the pass, Wright was running alongside as the slightly underthrown ball came down toward them. There was contact and then Wright was on the ground. The ball came down at the five-yard line in Pearson's hands, he juggled it and trapped it between his right elbow and hip. The referee signaled touchdown.

Staubach said later, "I never had a more eerie sensation on a football field than during the aftermath of our touchdown. The crowd was so shocked there wasn't a sound from the stands. It was as though all of a sudden we were playing in an empty stadium. The silance, as they say, was deafening." Later in the locker room he called it a Hail Mary pass -- thrown up as a prayer -- and the name stuck.

Send comments to

Back to Tim's Cowboy History Page

Copyright © 1997 Tim Stone
Last Modified - November 1997