A hail Mary in sports is a last-ditch effort to score points or make a play. It’s usually a desperation move made when the clock is running out or when the situation looks hopeless.
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Definition of a Hail Mary
In American football, a Hail Mary pass is a very long forward pass made in desperation with only a small chance of success, since success depends mainly on the receiver being able to catch the ball in heavy traffic.
The expression goes back to the late 1800s, when Notre Dame football player Hugh Whelan supposedly caught a touchdown pass thrown by quarterback Jimmy Murray on the last play of a game against Northwestern. After the game, Notre Dame coach Elmer Layden said, “It was nothing but a prayer.” The comments were reported in newspapers across the country and “Hail Mary” became associated with long passes and winning strategies.
Examples of a Hail Mary in Different Sports
A “Hail Mary” is a very low-percentage play in which a player (usually a quarterback in American football, or a forward in basketball) throws the ball up into the air in the hope that one of their teammates will catch it. It is usually used as a last-ditch effort to score points or win a game.
In football, a Hail Mary is a very long pass play. It is typically thrown near the end of a half, when one team is behind and there is not enough time to score with a standard offensive play.
The term comes from the fact that the play is often seen as a last-ditch effort, and is thus likened to the Catholic prayer of the same name.
In basketball, a hail Mary is a desperation shot taken from long range, typically at the end of the game when there is little chance of success. The term is derived from the football play of the same name, which is used when one team is trailing and needs a miracle to win.
In basketball, a hail Mary is often used as a last-second shot, usually taken from beyond the three-point line. The long distance and low percentage of success make it unlikely to result in points, but it can be an effective way to tie or win a game if it goes in.
Hail Mary shots are not limited to the end of the game; they can be taken at any time when a team is trailing and needs a basket to stay in the game. However, they are most commonly seen in the final seconds of close games.
A Hail Mary in baseball is when the pitcher throws the ball as hard as they can towards the batter in hopes of getting a strikeout. It’s generally considered a last resort, as it’s very difficult to control where the ball will go.
The Origins of the Term
In American football, a Hail Mary pass is a very long forward pass made in desperation with only a small chance of success, especially at or near the end of a half, when there is not enough time left for the offense to score any more points. The term “Hail Mary” originally comes from Catholicism. According to Catholic tradition, if one prays to the Virgin Mary (the mother of Jesus Christ) when they are in peril or desperate need and they truly believe, then Mary will intercede on their behalf. Thus, the phrase “Hail Mary” is often used as a last resort when all other options have failed.
Why It Works
The “hail Mary” is a desperation play used in both American football and basketball. The idea is to heave the ball as far down the field or court as possible, hoping that one of your teammates will catch it and score.
In football, the hail Mary usually happens at the end of the game, when one team is behind and running out of time. The quarterback will throw the ball as far as he can, and his receivers will try to catch it in the end zone for a touchdown. Sometimes, a player will catch the ball and then be tackled before he can get into the end zone, but if he does manage to score, it’s an incredible upset.
In basketball, the hail Mary usually happens at the end of the game or half, when one team is behind and doesn’t have enough time to mount a traditional comeback. The player with the ball will heave it from half-court or further, and if it goes in, it’s an amazing shot. These are also sometimes called “buzzer-beaters.”
While hail Marys are sometimes successful, they’re more often than not unsuccessful. That’s because they’re such low-percentage plays. But every now and then, a hail Mary will be caught or made, and that’s what makes them so exciting.
When to Use It
The phrase “Hail Mary” is most commonly used in football, but it can be used in other sports as well. In football, a Hail Mary is a last-ditch effort to score points when time is running out. It’s a long pass into the end zone, usually thrown by the quarterback. The receiver tries to catch the ball while being defended by the opposing team. If he catches it, it’s a touchdown. If not, the other team gets the ball.