Any Green Bay Packers fans who tuned out during the fourth quarter of the Thursday, Dec. 3, game at Ford Field in Detroit are regretting their loss of faith in their team.
As in life, it’s never over ’till it’s over in football, and, with no time left on the clock — having taken advantage of a second chance provided by a Detroit Lions penalty — a madly scrambling QB Aaron Rodgers let the ultimate air ball fly downfield, landing in the sturdy arms of tight end Richard Rodgers in the end zone.
In one magnificent throw and unlikely catch, the Packers sealed a victory. Have a look (bigger version here):
— NFL (@NFL) December 4, 2015
Also called “The Miracle in Motown,” the throw may be greater than it even looked at the time. From Yahoo! Sports:
However, we can clearly see Rodgers releasing the ball from his own 36-yard line, and it lands roughly 3 yards into the end zone — which would’ve been further had his tight end not snatched it out of the air — so by any conservative estimate the ball was caught 67 yards from where he threw it. Except, once we account for the height of the throw, that distance increases significantly. The dome at Ford Field is 128 feet — or 42.67 yards — high. Conservatively speaking, the ball launched 26 yards in the air. Subtracting Rodgers’ height (6-foot-2, or a little over 2 yards), the ball traveled a total of 85.6 yards along that arc. That math checks out, according to our resident Ramanujan Eric Edholm. I actually think the ball went higher than 26 yards, so let’s just say he threw a ball 100 yards, confirming what we all knew already — Aaron Rodgers is armed with a cannon.
A fan video shows that it almost hit the rafters.
A video posted by Brandon Movitz (@brandicle) on
The throw is what’s called in football a “‘Hail Mary’ Play,” which originated in a Dallas Cowboys victory over the Minnesota Vikings in 1975, when, with 24 seconds left on the clock, devoutly Catholic QB Roger Staubach, in desperation, launched a successful 50-yard throw to Drew Pearson that won the NFL divisional playoff.
Interviewed for NFL Network’s “A Football Life,” Staubach, whose nickname was Captain America, said:
Well, I closed my eyes and said a “Hail Mary.” I’m a Catholic kid from Cincinnati. … The Blessed Virgin thinks a lot of me, anyway, I got her on the map. There’s always a time in our life when we need a “Hail Mary.”
Aaron Rodgers is a Christian, but I have no idea if he said a prayer when he made the throw (and Rodgers is not especially outspoken about his faith). But when you listen to the whole story of the original “Hail Mary” play, what comes through is that God and Our Lady are faithful and, in some way, they will come through when you need them most.
It won’t necessarily be in a spectacular fashion, and it won’t always be apparent at the time — as the answer to a prayer is sometimes “No” — but:
We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Enjoy (to the tune of “Ave Maria”):
Image: Roger Staubach, from Wikimedia Commons