DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Dallas Cowboys weren’t expected to be a factor in the 1975 season. Dallas was in rebuilding mode as 12 rookies — known as the ‘Dirty Dozen’ — made the roster. But when the man known as ‘Captain Comeback’ is on the roster, it’s not called rebuilding… it’s called reloading.
Roger Staubach helped Dallas earn a wild card berth into the playoffs in 1975. The Cowboys reward: travel to Minnesota for a playoff showdown against the top seeded Vikings.
Minnesota grabbed a 14-10 lead late in the game, and it looked like the clock was about the wind down for the Cowboys and their Cinderella season. With 34 seconds left in the game, the Cowboys trailed by four points and they were half a football field away from the end zone.
That’s when Staubach threw a pass and a prayer. Drew Pearson answered the prayer, when he caught the pass.
“When I turned and threw it, I actually underthrew Drew,” Staubach recounted in an interview with CBS 11 Sports.
Pearson agreed. “When he threw it, and I looked back, I saw it was underthrown. I did the swim move to get inside position.”
Pearson caught the pass on his hip after battling for position with Vikings defender Nate Wright. Critics have argued over the years that Pearson was guilty of offensive pass interference on the play. “Contact, yes.” Pearson admitted. “Deliberate push? No!”
“He didn’t push off,” Staubach agreed. “I mean, Minnesota fans still think he pushed off.”
Staubach told reporters after the game that he closed his eyes and said a “Hail Mary” when he threw the ball, coining a new term for such passes. The miracle 50-yard touchdown in the final seconds of the game gave the Cowboys a 17-14 victory.