December 28, 1975
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.
Copyright © 1997 Tim Stone
Last Modified - November 1997