What is a Hail Mary in Football?

One of the most thrilling plays in football is the hail Mary pass. As the ball sails into the air, players, coaches, and spectators frequently hold their breath.

Football’s Hail Mary play is when the offense throws a long forward pass in an attempt to score a touchdown. At the conclusion of the second quarter or when the clock is running out in a game, Hail Mary passes are frequently attempted.

You will learn exactly what a Hail Mary pass is in this article, along with its function in football. 

Football’s Hail Mary Pass

Football plays like the Hail Mary is uncommon. The play frequently occurs toward the conclusion of the second quarter of the game. The quarterback launches a high-arcing pass known as a “Hail Mary” towards the end zone in the hopes that one of his five receivers would catch it over the defenders.

The quarterback will frequently retrench as far as he can before throwing the ball as far as he can. This is a low-probability play that frequently represents the offense’s last opportunity to score points.

Hail Mary throws frequently miss the end zone or is fully thrown out of bounds because they are not very accurate.

To gain time for their receivers to go to the end zone, the quarterback frequently scrambles back and forth. The throw will frequently not result in a successful score since there won’t be any receivers available to catch the ball if the quarterback doesn’t allow the receivers to run downfield.

Why do teams indulge in Hail Mary Passes?

Football coaches frequently use a Hail Mary in a last-ditch effort to score. When a team is down by eight points or less and needs a score, Hail Marys are frequently called.

Hail Mary passes are pointless if the team is down by nine or more points. It is frequently planned based on the number of points the offense requires.

Outside of a desperate situation, a Hail Mary pass is uncommon. Teams will only heave in the final seconds if they have no other choice.

From a spread formation, this play is frequently thrown. 

Where did the Hail Mary in football come from?

For those who are unaware, a Hail Mary is a type of religious rosary. The Hail Mary name comes from the fact that teams frequently pray before tossing the ball as the clock runs out in the final seconds of the game. Because players are throwing up a “prayer” in the hopes of catching it, that is why teams refer to it as a Hail Mary.

Due to the rarity of Hail Mary catches, the phrase “throwing up a prayer” was also created.

Different teams will have their own variations of the Hail Mary, although coaches will frequently signal it by gesturing “father, son, holy spirit.”

As teams always plan for the worst-case situation, every team will have a Hail Mary play in their playbook. 

What occurs if the offensive team pulls off a Hail Mary?

If caught, the final play of the game, or the half that is frequently referred to as the Hail Mary, will count as a touchdown.

Teams frequently send their top five receivers to the end zone to wait for the ball. To give their receivers a chance to race down the field, find the ball, and successfully catch it, quarterbacks must deliver high-arching passes.

Simply put, there’s frequently a massive scrum jostling for position on the football in the end zone, making it unlikely that the offense would catch the ball.

To prevent an attacking player from catching the ball, the defense frequently knocks it to the ground. When a defensive player tries to intercept a Hail Mary throw, the ball frequently tips into the air, giving the offense a second chance to intercept the tipped pass.

Anything else besides the Hail Mary

The head coach or offensive coordinator may decide to go with laterals rather than a Hail Mary if they don’t think their quarterback can get to the end zone.

When a team throws the ball laterally, they are hoping that the defense will become fatigued and out of position.

The Miami Dolphins victory over the New England Patriots in the 2018 campaign serves as a prime illustration of this. The Miami Dolphins were able to lateral the ball down the field and score despite the Patriots’ preventive defense. Although it is more difficult to score later, this is an alternative to the Hail Mary pass.


Football hail marys are long passes fired in a last-ditch effort to take the lead. As time runs out, teams will throw these desperate last-ditch throws to score points.

Since every team must game plan for the worst-case situation, every club has a Hail Mary pass in their playbook.

To throw the ball as far as possible, teams frequently insert their starting quarterback or even their backup quarterback into the action. It’s typical for the quarterback with the strongest arm to enter the game and throw the ball all the way to the end zone.

Hail Mary in Football FAQs

1) How does a football Hail Mary function?

In American football, a Hail Mary pass is a very long forward pass that is often made out of desperation and has a very slim chance of succeeding. It refers to the Catholic “Hail Mary” prayer for strength and assistance due to the challenge of completion with this pass.

2) What does the football term “Hail Mary” mean?

Noun. (Hail Mary passes in plural form) (American football) a long forward pass with minimal likelihood of completion that is frequently employed by the losing team in a last-ditch effort to score the winning points when there are no other viable options and time is running out.

3) A Hail Mary is worth how many points?

Football coaches frequently use a Hail Mary in a last-ditch effort to score. When a team is down by eight points or less and needs a score, Hail Marys are frequently called.

4) Who created the Hail Mary in football?

When asked about the play after the game, Staubach unintentionally coined the phrase “Hail Mary.” Staubach remembered, according to the team’s official website, “I was a Catholic kid from Cincinnati and they asked me, ‘What were you thinking about when you threw the ball?'” “I said, “I said a Hail Mary when I closed my eyes.

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