I used to watch a lot of football in my younger days. On Sundays, I was pretty much glued to the television set from noon until 7 p.m.; it didn’t matter who was playing. But my football- watching days are pretty much behind me at this point.
Yesterday, I felt a little sluggish so I just sat on the couch and watched the Giants-Packers playoff game. The Giants controlled the first twenty-six minutes of the game although they were only ahead, 6-0. Packers QB, Aaron Rogers, then drove downfield and threw a touchdown pass to put Green Bay ahead, 7-6. The Packer’s “D” subsequently smothered the G-Men’s offense, forcing them to punt after a three-and-out. Rogers then took over and with seconds left in the half, threw a 60-yard “Hail Mary” pass into the end zone for another touchdown. The Pack never looked back and won the game handily, 38-13.
But what about the “Hail Mary” pass? How did that term become part of the popular lexicon? I did a little research and found out the phrase got its start in the 1930s at the Catholic University of Notre Dame (“Our Lady”). Members of the football team coined the phrase to denote a “long, low-probability pass attempted at the end of a half when a team is too far from the end zone to execute a more conventional play, implying that it would take divine intervention for the play to succeed.” Divine intervention from Mary? Catholics ascribe many characteristics of deity to Mary and believe she shares with Jesus Christ the offices of Mediator and Redeemer. Many Catholics pray to Mary rather than to God the Father or Jesus Christ because they have been taught she is more sympathetic to their circumstances and will more readily help them merit their salvation.
The phrase was pretty much isolated within Catholic college football but NFL commentators began talking about the “Hail Mary” pass in connection with the Dallas Cowboys’ Roman Catholic quarterback, Roger Staubach, in the 1970s.
Doug Flutie of Boston College (Catholic Jesuit) then became the king of the “Hail Mary” pass with his legendary, game-winning touchdown heave against Miami (FL) in 1984.
So the “Hail Mary” pass has become standard football parlance. You’ll even hear born-again believers in Jesus Christ who are football fans commenting on an unbelievable “Hail Mary” pass they witnessed over the weekend.
Yet, Mary would want everyone to turn from her and turn to Jesus Christ. Mary cannot save anyone. She was a sinner herself. Repent of your sins and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior.
“And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” – Luke 1:46-47
“And there is salvation in no one else (but Jesus Christ), for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12
What is the “Hail Mary” that Catholics say so often?
What does the Bible say about the virgin Mary?