Cowboys 1st & 10: ‘Hail Mary’ Then and Now

Matthew Postins

The Dallas Cowboys face the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, a beautiful addition to the NFL stadium landscape. It stands on the same location at the Metrodome, which is the stadium that I grew up watching the Vikings and Cowboys play in on television when Dallas made the trip to Minneapolis.

But, about 11 miles south of that in Bloomington, somewhere on that expansive property that is now the world-famous Mall of America, is a plaque that notes that, back in the day, the Minnesota Vikings used to play at Metropolitan Stadium, which was torn down after the Vikings and Twins left for the Metrodome.

Which, of course brings to an auspicious anniversary. ... and that's where we begin Cowboys 1st and 10 ...

1) Forty-five years ago, the ‘Hail Mary’ was born.

Well, not exactly BORN. For Cowboys fans, that’s our ‘Hail Mary.’ Dec. 28, 1975, in Bloomington. Roger Staubach drops back, pump fakes and hits Drew Pearson for a touchdown to win an NFC Playoff game. Pearson celebrates by throwing the ball into the stands. Because, you know, no one wants THAT ball for the archives.

But, in reality, the ‘Hail Mary’ has been a part of football for a LONG TIME. In fact, Staubach used the term ‘Hail Mary Play’ for an inexplicable scramble and completion in a win over Michigan in 1963.

The term has become so ubiquitous that it now been dubbed different ways, the most recent of which being the ‘Hail Murray,’ the last-second touchdown pass from Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray to wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins just last Sunday. In fact, there is a Wikipedia page devoted to Hail Mary passes in American Football. That goes all the way back to 1922, when then-head coach Knute Rockne used the term ‘Hail Mary Play’ when Notre Dame played Georgia Tech.

For Cowboys fans, there is nothing like that Hail Mary in Bloomington 45 years ago. For Vikings fans, I’m sure it still causes debate. I run into Vikings fans that absolutely say Pearson committed offensive pass interference on the play. Like good football fans, they won’t let it go. Especially since, back then, the Vikings were trying to win their first Super Bowl. Back in the 1970s, they were one of the NFC’s best teams, armed with a quarterback named Fran Tarkenton and a defense with one of the best nicknames in the game — the Purple People Eaters. And most forget that, in 1975, Tarkenton was the league’s MVP. The Vikings played in four of the first 11 Super Bowls, the last coming at the end of the 1976 season, when the Vikings lost to the Oakland Raiders.

The Vikings haven’t been back to the Super Bowl since, missing out on their best chance in the 1998 season, when they went 15-1 and reached the NFC Championship game before losing to the Atlanta Falcons in overtime.

The Vikings won’t make the Super Bowl this year. Neither will the Dallas Cowboys. In fact, Sunday’s game is of little consequence, aside from potential NFL Draft positioning (check out my latest NFL Draft report later in First and 10). Both teams could use a Hail Mary, or a big-time memory, such as Tony Dorsett’s 99-yard touchdown run at the Metrodome in 1983 on Monday Night Football (back when EVERYTHING was bigger on MNF).

But, for now, we have our memories.

2) Cowboys Blitzcast: QB Dalton & No Taste, No Smell, No Offense?

Does this stale Dallas Cowboys offense to Mike or Kellen? Can QB Andy Dalton — who presently has lost his sense of taste and smell — add some flavor?

Welcome to the Dallas Cowboys Blitzcast by Drunk Sports and DSP Media in partnership with Colby Sapp and Timm “IndyCarTim” Hamm are your hosts as they discuss all things Dallas Cowboys and all things NFL.

Dalton is back at the helm for Week 11 as the Cowboys visit the Vikings. Will we see the standard 2020 Cowboys offense we’re used to seeing or will we see the new Cowboys we saw against Pittsburgh? And who is responsible for that offense? What happened to the things Mike McCarthy promised us this past off-season?

Click here to listen to more.

3) Check out the Cowboy Maven Top 60 All-Time Dallas Cowboys

We published our Top 60 Dallas Cowboys of all-time as part of our celebration of the Cowboys’ 60 seasons in Dallas. We presented the Top 60 in groups of five. We hope you enjoyed the series and if you have an opinion, take them to our Cowboy Maven community or hit me up on Twitter at @PostinsPostcard.

If you missed any of the stories in our Top 60, just click on them below.

➡️ Cowboys Top 60 Greatest Players: Nos. 56-60

➡️ Cowboys Top 60 Greatest Players: Nos. 51-55

➡️ Cowboys Top 60 Greatest Players: Nos. 46-50

➡️ Cowboys Top 60 Greatest Players: Nos. 41-45

➡️ Cowboys Top 60 Greatest Players: Nos. 36-40

➡️ Cowboys Top 60 Greatest Players: Nos. 31-35

➡️ Cowboys Top 60 Greatest Players: Nos. 26-30

➡️ Cowboys Top 60 Greatest Players: Nos. 21-25

➡️ Cowboys Top 60 Greatest Players: Nos. 16-20

➡️ Cowboys Top 60 Greatest Players: Nos. 11-15

➡️ Cowboys Top 60 Greatest Players: Nos. 6-10

➡️ Cowboys Top 60 Greatest Players: Nos. 1-5

4) Cowboys Change

If you followed our coverage all week, you probably saw this Sunday morning breaking story coming ... 

READ MORE: BREAKING: Cowboys Moving All-Pro Martin To Tackle

Fish is in Minnesota and on it.

5) Healthy DEs?

Fish also has the Cowboys scoop on DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory and their planned availability as well.

READ MORE: Source: Despite Illness, Cowboys DEs Lawrence & Gregory Plan On Playing

Tank in particular figures to be a big help in trying to chase down Dalvin Cook.

6) Locked On Cowboys Podcast This Week

The numbers might not be there. But the respect from the owner's box is.

“I know the impact he has on opposing defenses,'' Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says of running back Ezekiel Elliott. "He’s our best football player. He’s our best. In my mind, he’s our best player.”

In this episode of the "Locked On Cowboys'' podcast, hosts Marcus Mosher and Landon McCool dig into the Cowboys in Week 11 with hopes that the visiting team at Minnesota on Sunday might be able to lean on the weapons Dallas does have.

Marcus Mosher and Landon McCool preview the game against the Vikings and give reasons why Dallas could steal this game in Minnesota. They also discuss why head coach Mike McCarthy will be starting Andy Dalton at quarterback, how to stop Dalvin Cook and so much more!

Click here to listen.

Also …

In this episode of the "Locked On Cowboys'' podcast, Mosher and McCool explain why the bye week worked out great for the Cowboys. And the fellas also discuss whether the team will or won't re-sign defensive end Aldon Smith this offseason.

Give that episode a listen by clicking here.


Mosher and McCool dig talk about the 2-7 Cowboys' challenge at the resurgent Vikings (4-5) on Sunday and how it starts with the dynamic running back Dalvin Cook, the NFL's leading rusher.

Listen to that episode by clicking here.

7) Things that will help you prepare for the Vikings

If you’re still getting ready for Sunday’s game with the Vikings, here is some great content to get you there:

➡️ Cowboys at Vikings: Betting Odds & Trends

➡️ Cowboys Sign Ex Chiefs Second-Round D-Lineman

➡️ Lawrence: 'Not About Numbers; I'm Here For A Super Bowl'

➡️ Cowboys Power Rankings, Dalton Vs. Vikings

➡️ Cowboys Making Four Roster Moves

➡️ Cowboys & NFC East: The 'Mr. Irrelevant' Division

8) An ‘Organic Tanking’ Update

Each week we will update you on the Cowboys’ 2021 NFL Draft situation, mainly to see if they can improve their stock in any way as the season winds down.

Cowboys record entering this weekend’s action: 2-7.

Current selection (if season ended today): No. 4.

Who is ahead of Dallas?: New York Jets (0-9), Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8), Washington Football Team (2-7).

Why is Washington ahead of Dallas? Good question, as you know Washington beat Dallas earlier this year. But, as of right now, Washington would get the No. 3 pick because its strength of schedule (.470) is slightly worse than the Cowboys (.474) and that’s the first tiebreaker.

Who is chasing Dallas? The Los Angeles Chargers (2-7), the Miami Dolphins (who get the Houston Texans’ first-round pick — the Texans are 2-7) and the Cincinnati Bengals (2-6-1) would all benefit from a Cowboys win on Sunday, assuming those three teams were to lose.

Games to watch this week?: Cincinnati and Washington play each other on Sunday, so that has the potential to be a big result in terms of the draft order. The Jaguars figure to lose to the undefeated Steelers, while the Texans host the Patriots. Out west, the late game between the Jets and the Chargers is worth keeping up with, as well.

If you’re a ‘tanker’… You’re hoping for a Cowboys loss, of course. But you are also hoping for wins by Washington, the Texans and the Chargers. That would create some separation for Dallas and the No. 3 pick.

Oh, and click here for my peek ahead to the 2021 NFL Draft in my First and 10 last weekend.

9) Whitt's End: Win or Else?

Our Richie Whitt believes that Dallas at Minny is a win-or-else outing.

READ MORE: Whitt's End: Cowboys Upset Vikings - Or Else?

Read Whitt’s End by clicking above.

10) Tweet Of The Week

Frankly, that meme is going to live forever.

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