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After 42 Years, The Original Hail Mary Has Finally Been Avenged, by Chuck Strom

After the Minnesota Vikings’ miracle win in last night’s divisional playoff with the New Orleans Saints, ESPN was historically astute enough to replay footage of the original Hail Mary play from December 1975, when Drew Pearson of the Dallas Cowboys pushed off Vikings cornerback Nate Wright and caught Roger Staubach’s desperation pass from midfield for a touchdown and an iconic moment in NFL history. You can see the full game here with pretty good resolution, with the Hail Mary play just beyond the two-hour mark:

I remember the play from the original broadcast. It was a morning game Pacific Time, and I arrived home from church just in time to see it. Not only were the Vikings and the crowd at the old Metropolitan Stadium stunned beyond belief, but the moment was made even worse by the spectacle of a referee being hit by a whiskey bottle thrown from the stands and then prone on the field for several minutes as he was attended by medical staff. All that would have been needed to complete the picture was for the sky to open up and rain frogs and locusts. The play has haunted the dreams of Vikings fans ever since, with no subsequent championships to wash away the trauma.

Now, Vikings fans finally can savor the memory of a miracle going their way. The best view of the play online, shot from the corner of the end zone, is the Scott Kegley entry on the Vikings’ Bring It Home Twitter feed:

The Vikings have a good shot at completing their healing journey, with only a Nick Foles-led Philadelphia Eagles team standing in their way of playing a Super Bowl in their own building, which has never happened before. Aside from fans with teams still in the fight, they are now the overwhelming sentimental favorite to hoist this year’s Lombardi trophy. I hope they make it. A lot of long-suffering Minnesotans deserve to rest in peace.

Chuck Strom

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