Drew Pearson admits to Hail Mary push, sort of

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On a day when Vikings fans believe their favorite team was screwed by a critical non-call late in a key game the Cowboys won 17-15, the best way to forget about that may be to reflect on the time their favorite team was screwed by a critical non-call late in a key game the Cowboys won 17-14.

Former Cowboys receiver Drew Pearson, appearing earlier this week on PFT Live, spoke at length regarding the original Hail Mary play that resulted in Dallas beating the Vikings in the playoffs at Metropolitan Stadium 41 Decembers ago.

“[Quarterback Roger Staubach] wanted [receiver] Golden Richards to run a post pattern on the left side to hold [safety] Paul Krause to that side of the field,” Pearson said. “You know, the NFL’s all time interception leader. So Roger was going to pump [to] Golden then come back to me down the right side of the field, and by the time he pumped Golden and came back to me the ball was underthrown because I was way down field at that time. I saw it, came back and used my outside arm to get inside leverage on [cornerback] Nate Wright. In doing that there was contact but there was no deliberate push and I was able to catch the ball on the five yard line and back it into the end zone for the touchdown.”

So was there an inadvertent push, Drew?

“I like the way you put that,” Pearson said with a laugh. “What I’m saying is there’s contact, OK? We’re actually playing football out there; it wasn’t tennis or golf. So in doing that and making that move, there was contact on the play. But there was no deliberate push whatsoever.”

The controversial play, which ended Minnesota’s run of two straight Super Bowls and brought a swift and dramatic conclusion to a season in which the Vikings had started 10-0, has stirred passions among Vikings fans for years. An equivocal admission, sort of, that Pearson pushed Wright won’t make it any better.

The only consolation, albeit slim, for Vikings fans comes from the fact that Pearson fired the ball into the air and never saw it again. When did Pearson regret hurling the football out of the field of play?

“As soon as it left my hands,” Pearson said. “I was actually throwing it over the scoreboard and into the parking lot. The only reason I did that is because the night before the game I had this vision that if I was going to catch the winning touchdown in the game [and] I was going to throw the football into the stands. Which was kind of taboo back in the day back then because you got fined $150 and nobody wanted to pay that type of fine because we weren’t making that type of money back then. As it left my hands I realized it wasn’t going into the stands and into the parking lot and after all these years I’ve signed programs, ticket stubs, I’ve met all kinds of people that were at that game that day but no one has come up to me and said, ‘Hey I found the ball.’ Or, ‘I caught the ball.’ Or, ‘Here’s the ball that you caught the Hail Mary with.’ So it’s out there in oblivion.”

Oblivion. It’s where the ball is. It’s where the 1975 Vikings season went. And, thanks to Thursday night’s loss to the Cowboys, it’s where a Vikings campaign that started at 5-0 is headed. If it’s not already there.

27 responses to “Drew Pearson admits to Hail Mary push, sort of

  1. Seriously? Kind of soon to rub salt in our wounds, isn’t it?


    1975? i think the statute of limitations has been reached

  2. Very possibly the best team the Vikings ever had. Just goes to show that you shouldn’t expect to win a game if you’re only scoring 14 or 15 points, no matter how good your defense is.

  3. “What I’m saying is there’s contact, OK? We’re actually playing football out there; it wasn’t tennis or golf.
    Something the future generations have failed to grasp about contact sports. By design it’s more or less 11 individual wresting matches that takes place after each snap. Now it’s more like 4 wresting matches and 7 games of patty cake after each snap. And 3 of the patty cake games drew a penalty for clapping out of sequence and a 4th game of patty cake is currently under review to see if they did in fact make a cake as fast as they can.

    Whats not to love?

  4. While the 1975 Vikings might have been the best team Minnesota ever had, they still would have lost in Super Bowl X. The ’75 Steelers were improved over the ’74 version, so it would have been at least a ten point Pittsburgh victory.

  5. There is a big difference between contact and pushing off. Way to put words into Drew Pearson’s mouth to drum up more controversy. And if I remember right, a Minnesota person threw a piece of fruit at Drew Pearson as he was trying to catch the ball. Let’s just forgot about this and move on.

  6. Forget the alleged push-off. The more egregious call occurred 2 plays earlier when the ‘Boys faced 4th and 17 from their 25 yard line. Officials ruled that Pearson caught a 25-yard pass when he was clearly out of bounds, no matter that officials stated he would have been in bounds had he not been pushed out – as allowed by the old interpretation of the rule. Pearson was not close to making a legal catch in this instance, as he was already out of bounds. If the correct call had been made, the Vikings take over and run the clock out. A terrible mistake essentially forgotten by history and the hoopla surrounding the Hail Mary.

  7. Great ! Another excuse for Vike fans to cry about. One thing is for sure, after the 2017 NFL draft they will again claim to be the next super bowl champs. Hang another participation banner!

  8. Guaranteed whoever found that ball drew number 88 on it and then buried it somewhere out back. Drew, you will never find that ball.

  9. He just raised the woe-is-me Viking fan persecution complex quotient by thirty percent.

    Believe me……we’ll hear about it.

  10. I remember that play. After the game, Vikings coach Bud Grant (a former basketball player) said it was just good positioning for the ball.

    This was pre-crybaby Minnesota.

  11. If the NFL enforced the offensive pass interference rule, then the careers of Drew Pearson, Michael Irvin and Dez Bryant wouldn’t merit much mention at all.

    Of course, 345 Park Ave does enjoy some arbitrary offensive pass interference calls when the calls suit them – you know, like last night’s first quarter call against a Vikings’ receiver.

    They like any kind of calls (or no-calls) – no matter how ridiculous – if they get the outcome they want. Just ask the 2014 Lions.

  12. Some people won’t be happy unless we can go back and ruin the games in the past as well as the adulterated version of the NFL we see today.

  13. Maybe because he did push off. Geez.

    And the last few sentences in the article were a little cynical and idiotic. The Vikings that year were #1 in defense AND offense, if the team that played last night had anything close on offense to #1 in the league they easily would have won. Losing thanks to a fumble on special teams is nothing compared to a playoff loss that the refs gave to the Cowboys.

  14. Twist the dagger some more Florio . It was the best Vikes team and would have made for a great match up in the Super Bowl .

  15. riraider says:
    Dec 2, 2016 3:21 PM
    Great ! Another excuse for Vike fans to cry about. One thing is for sure, after the 2017 NFL draft they will again claim to be the next super bowl champs. Hang another participation banner!


    So, where are the Raiders playing next year? Oakland? Los Angeles? Las vegas? San Antonio? Nice ownership you got there. They care a lot about you fans…..

  16. The pass from Staubach actually got kicked up by Wright’s trail foot. It’s why Pearson caught it in his right hand one handed on a 50 yard pass in the cold. Funny no one ever engine that.

  17. Multiple offenses produced by bad calls or noncalls by the refs in 1975. The refs are just as blatant today about things. It is causing fans to move away from the NFL. The integrity of the game is gone. Refs will screw certain teams.

  18. One of the refs got knocked out by a beer bottle thrown from the stands, they had to activate a backup ref for the final plays (he got paid a full day’s work).

    Neither of these are even the worse thing that happened that day…. Fran Tarkenton’s father passed away watching the game in the third quarter. He found out over the loudspeaker.

  19. I wonder if the Cowboys would enjoy seeing the Vikings again this year, this time in the playoffs? Maybe we can get a little payback and settle that tab that has been running since 1975. Let’s just hope we get to see Romo if we do play them.

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