"“He had explained to me that the “motion for appropriate relief” was something the lawyers did when all the direct state court appeals were exhausted, something like a Hail Mary play.”"

Hail Mary Play

A Hail Mary play is used in football when a team is losing and the game is almost over.  The play consists of the quarterback throwing a long pass down to the end zone in hopes that one of his players will catch the ball for a touchdown.  This play has a very small chance of being successful.  It became famous when the Dallas Cowboys used it to beat the Minnesota Vikings to win a playoff game in 1975.  It got the name “Hail Mary” after the Cowboys’ quarterback, Roger Staubach, said in an after game interview that, “I closed my eyes and said a Hail Mary.”  This term is often used today to describe a last chance opportunity with little hope of being successful.


Submitted by student author, Madelon Wygand