Drew Pearson revisits the Hail Mary game

If you’re as old as me or older (and if so, my deepest condolences), you likely still recall the 1975 divisional playoff between the Dallas Cowboys and the Minnesota Vikings.

The game has come back into focus some 34 years later because the Cowboys are heading back to Minnesota for another win-or-go-home contest against the Vikings.

The man who caught the game-winning pass on December 28, 1975 — and whom many believe paid advance homage to another No. 88 for the Cowboys by pushing off — recently appeared on Dan Barreiro’s radio show at KFAN in Minneapolis to revisit the latter moments of the game.  (You can listen to the whole thing right here.)

Receiver Drew Pearson insists that he didn’t commit pass interference against Vikings cornerback Nate Wright on that fateful play, though Pearson realizes that Vikings fans will forever believe that Pearson committed a penalty that wasn’t called by the official who thereafter had a backward Seagram logo embedded in his skull.

Indeed, so many Vikings fans hold a grudge that Pearson for a while used the name “Al Smith” when flying to Minnesota.

Pearson also explained the lack of over-the-top help for Wright on the fateful play.  Quarterback Roger Staubach used a pump fake to Golden Richards, which sucked safety Paul Krause toward the other side of the field.  Staubach then looked right and found Wright in single coverage, with Krause unable to arrive in time to break up the play.

Then again, maybe Pearson would have pushed Krause, too.

Pearson also talked about another compelling moment that occurred earlier in the drive, a pass on fourth down and 16, which was punctuated by a security guard kicking Pearson on the sideline.  (And Pearson is accurate — check out the video.)

Eventually, former Vikings tailback Chuck Foreman joined the discussion between Pearson and Barreiro, insisting that Pearson pushed off on the fateful play.

Regardless of how Sunday’s rematch turns out, here’s hoping that the folks doing the security patdowns at the Metrodome are prepared to ask Vikings fans who still think more than three decades later that they were screwed, “Is that a whiskey bottle in your pants or are you just happy to be at a playoff game?”

38 responses to “Drew Pearson revisits the Hail Mary game

  1. “and whom many believe paid advance homage to another No. 88 for the Cowboys by pushing off”
    Yeah it was great back in the day… DB’s and WR’s mugging each other all the way down the field. No five yard rule! Might as well put flags on offensive players nowadays.

  2. And they say Eagles fans are the worst. Never heard of a player so afraid to visit a town that he uses an alias for his own protection. You might think he was Salman Rushdie, or something, under a perpetual death sentence for pushing off a defender in a football game, what, decades ago???!!! Come on Vikings fans, let it go.

  3. “Then again, maybe Pearson would have pushed Krause, too.”
    Yeah, all 6’0″ and 184 pounds of Drew Pearson would have kicked both of their asses. If they’d sent Eller and Page back there he’d have bitch-slapped them, too.

  4. Florio is sensationalizing once again……I happened to listening yesterday to this particular program and while Florio’s statements are “true”, he has definitely mischaractized and taken them out of context. Chuck Foreman and Pearson were having fun talking about it and just ribbing each other however Florio spins it as being a “heated or serious debate between the two”. Also, Pearson was 100% being ficticious and making a joke about having to use the name “Al Smith” whenever he came to Minnesota. This was nothing more than a light-hearted b.s. session, which if you should decide to listen to it on the link Florio provided, I think you will come away with the same thought that most did……Pearson does not vehemontly deny that he pushed off on the play in question, in fact, if anything he leaves the listener “wondering” if he did or didn’t push off. At the very most, a listener could possibly interpret that Pearson the contact between him and the defender didn’t deserve a penalty to be called but yet J. Tunney who was head of officiating at the time still states that the officials missed the call……so when it is all said and done, the debate will continue as with any pass interference penalty, it is subjective and in the eyes of the beholder.

  5. Oh lord. Here we go. The most b!tched about non-call of all time. For all you out there who though Pack fans are complaining about the Adams facemask on Rodgers, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Have at it Vike “fans”.

  6. They also missed an even more blatant hold call in the backfield on that last play. But water under the bridge. They should have still defended the pass.

  7. It was the 4th and 16 play before the Hail Mary when Pearson was out of bounds that was the real lousy call. But geez, this was a million years ago, who cares?

  8. Wow the security guard kicking him when he was down…. pretty f’ing low. Should have been a 15 yd unsportsmanlike conduct against the Vikes.

  9. The Vikings fans don’t need whiskey at the games anymore since they are total pansies and play indoors.

  10. Ah, the good old days of the NFL when fans made refs pay for their mistakes in stitches.
    This should happen more often.

  11. The NFL Network just replayed the game, and I watched it. Staubach sucked, and Pearson certainly pushed off.

  12. Why is there is not mention of the Vikes fans throwing things and hitting a ref with a bottle. The ref suffered a gash and was knocked unconsious. No, lets not mention that, but lets bring up OVER AND OVER that Philyl fans threw freaking snowballs at a drunk kid in a santa suit. Pathetic. The Vikes fans incident happened in the 75-76 season, the Eagles fans snowball incident was in the 1960’s. So, what’s the deal. Just Philly haters, everybody. At least Philly fans didn’t knock out a ref. Unbelievable.

  13. I saw an interview with Pearson where he wouldn’t admit to the push, but laughed and said if he were Wright he would have been PO’d at the ref.
    I also read were Foreman claims Pearson has on more than one occassion admitted he pushed him. In another article Pearson says he may have made contact with Wright when he tried to bring his arm around to catch the ball, but it wasn’t an intentinal push.
    The 4th & 16 catch was out of bounds! I’m not sure, but I think the ruling was he was pushed out. But look at the clip and you can see the contact to Pearson’s back had no bearing on his feet and came at about the same time his feet touched the ground – out of bounds.
    Both plays had obsolutely atrocious holding by the Dallas O-line that wasn’t called. Look at the RDE on the 4th & 16 play and watch him get tackled. On the Hail Mary play watch #75 of the Vikings bust immediately up the middle only to be pulled to the ground right in front of the ref.
    Four blown calls on two plays in your home stadium. At the time I was furious (I won’t admit how I felt about that flying bottle) but now I look back and say the Vikings should never have let the game stay that close.

  14. @ mmdd1111: beat me to the punch, pun intended….
    there’s your proof, albeit from an unlikely source (Florio) that there are, in fact, worse fans the Philly.
    One more loss, one more loss, one more loss = offseason for your, 1 win in 10 years, playoff Cowboys……

  15. mmdd1111, that is a weekly occurrence in any Philly game. That’s why you guys get a bad rap. I went to a Phillies v Braves game there last year (not even a fan of either team, just taking in a game since i was in philly) and the fans were complete assholes. Even going out later to the bars, i ran into numerous asshole fans. That same trip I made it to Cleveland for a game, NY for a Yanks game and a Mets game, and to Baltimore for a game. Ran into a few people and did some trash-talking but no one anywhere near as big of assholes as Philly fans.

  16. Love_Boat_Scandal says:
    January 15, 2010 12:23 PM
    Oh lord. Here we go. The most b!tched about non-call of all time. For all you out there who though Pack fans are complaining about the Adams facemask on Rodgers, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Have at it Vike “fans”.
    ===========================
    No Scandal, you turds took that #1 over last sun/mon.
    Im betting this gets less hits than any of those Packer “screw job” threads.
    That couldn’t have happened to a better franchise than you packer pansies.

  17. I remember the game and I felt sorry for the ref when the bottle hit him. I don’t care if you feel that you got screwed, you shouldn’t be throwing something at the guys. Hurting him didn’t change the result and it showed a lack of class and I’d say that if a Cowboys fan would have done the same thing (A friend of mine became one of the first to buy a Cowboy “brick” when it came out because she actually threw her remote control at the TV and blew it up after someone on the Cowboys blew a play. She almost did it to mine but I managed to get between her and the TV before she could launch. She wasn’t allowed to watch them at my place unless she brought her brick and cleared off the table in front of her so that there wasn’t anything else for her to throw).

  18. “there’s your proof, albeit from an unlikely source (Florio) that there are, in fact, worse fans the Philly.”
    Don’t think the Vikes or any other team in the NFL ever needed a jail in their stadium. Only Philly. You will alway reign as the scummiest, nastiest, most disgusting fans of the NFL.
    But hey, at least you’re good at what you do.
    And for anyone who hates the Eagles fans, you will enjoy this article by the Brushback –
    Veterans Stadium Imploded With Fans Still In It
    http://www.thebrushback.com/Archives/veteransstadium_full.htm

  19. @ normnailz: no, it’s not a normal occurrence. For definition purposes: can you tell me your definition between numerous and a few?
    I’ve been to games in several cities. Cleveland during their run was not a fun place to root for the opponent……
    Atlanta is by far the best. Good mix, friendly folk, playful banter, and stadium is awesome!

  20. “Pearson also talked about another compelling moment that occurred earlier in the drive, a pass on fourth down and 16, which was punctuated by a security guard kicking Pearson on the sideline. (And Pearson is accurate — check out the video.)”
    ——————–
    Well, no, Mr. Florio. The video does not show someone kicking Pearson. It shows Pearson falling into a person on the sidelines, who then struggles to keep his feet but looks to fall on Pearson. His legs are near Pearson’s head, but he is only trying step over him and regain his balance. The contact is initiated by Pearson. I can’t say that this is exactly what happened, but that is what it looked like to me. But you can’t state that Pearson is accurate by virtue of this video either. I don’t think NBC will be expanding your role to booth reviews anytime soon.

  21. In my 45 years of playing many sports, from youth leagues all the way up to college and a few seasons of semi-pro, one thing remains constant: losers will always whine and find a reason for why they lost; and they’ll bring up the same, tired loser argument until the day they die. If you were so much better than the other team, you would never have put yourself in the position to lose and make excuses for the rest of your life.
    When you lose, accept the defeat gracefully. Moaning about it for more than the remainder of the day won’t change anything except how others view your manhood.

  22. The one thing I remember about Drrew Pearson was the MNF game where they caught him puking on the bench. I watched that game in a USAF dayroom and we were all rotflmao. Spent the whole week Shouting “puke on three”

  23. I think drew Pearson is an asshat!
    He knows he pused off in that game. We would have a trophy maybe if it wasn’t for him
    Now all we have is a whole bunch of nothing
    Pervy? Are you around?
    I am a very gay man
    SKOL VIKINGS!

  24. purpleguy,
    You called it.
    Of all the Viking games I watched in my youth this is the game that has lingered in my memory. I can recall specifics of that day that rival my recall from just a few weeks ago. The out of bounds non-call was always the call that bothered me most. Simply because I had the feeling that the game wasn’t going to end favorably for the Vikes. And it didn’t. Although I feel nothing more than apathetic towards the Cowboys now. At the time it became the start of my contempt towards “Americas Team”.
    And on reflection it had nothing to do with the Cowboys or the state of Texas. It was the officiating slant towards Cowboy favoritism. The outcome felt orchestrated.

  25. “One more loss, one more loss, one more loss = offseason for your, 1 win in 10 years, playoff Cowboys…… ”
    One more playoff loss = an all-time losing playoff record for the 0-3gles. Again.

  26. Funny, Viking fans are all over the Packer blogs saying get over the 2 missed personal foul penalties to end the Packers vs. Cardinals game, that happened last week. And they can’t get over something that happened decades ago.

  27. Just like MJ against Utah, Pearson definitely pushed off in my book. The Vikings were hosed there.
    I agree with someone saying the Philly fans are bad. They are horrible and deserve their reputation. I know first hand and other people told me horror stories as well.
    The video clearly shows the security guy kicking Pearson. I am not sure how anyone can dispute that.

  28. That catch was a heartbreaker, but one that most of us real Viking fans over came with time. Congrats to Drew and the ‘boys. It was a catch within the rules and norms of the day. HOWEVER, that catch was NOTHING compared to the 1998 collapse during the NFC Championship game against the Falcons! We are not over that yet!
    Alabama Viking

  29. I’m old enough to remember it, tho I had just become a fan.
    That was a loooong time ago.
    That was so long ago the Eagles still hadn’t won a Super Bowl title!
    Oh….wait….

  30. Like I’m going to click on your crackhead website, Opie. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware has blocked that site as a malicious IP.
    Your 0-3gles are 19-19 in the playoffs. One more playoff loss and it’s back to the losing record that they were able to climb out of just last year.
    http://www.philadelphiaeagles.com/eagles_files/html/PlayoffRecords-1.html
    Overall Record……………………19-19
    “One more loss and it’s off season time “again” for your Cowboys”
    It’s going to be the off-season pretty soon for all teams. You’re a really smart guy, Opie.

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