Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins stunned the football world with their miraculous Hail Mary touchdown to steal a win from the Buffalo Bills last Sunday. It was one of the most impressive game-winners in recent memory, but Murray and Hopkins still have nothing on the Hail Mary king — Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers spoke about the Arizona Cardinals’ game-winning bomb on Tuesday, and he revealed his secret to throwing the perfect Hail Mary.
Aaron Rodgers has completed three career Hail Marys
Most NFL quarterbacks would be lucky to complete one Hail Mary touchdown throughout their entire career. Aaron Rodgers has done it three times.
Rodgers completed maybe the most impressive of his three Hail Marys in 2015 against the Detroit Lions. With the Packers trailing by two and no time left on the clock, Rodgers scrambled around in the backfield, dodged a pass-rusher, and heaved a bomb that traveled 67 yards in the air. Amazingly, tight end Richard Rodgers outleaped the Lions defense and snagged the Hail Mary for a 61-yard, game-winning touchdown.
Rodgers accomplished the feat again just a year later, this time against the Cardinals. The Packers trailed by seven points with five seconds left in the game. Rodgers took the snap from the 41-yard-line, scrambled to his left, and chucked up an off-balanced throw from almost the same spot Murray threw his last Sunday. This time, Jeff Janis was able to come down with it in the end zone.
His third Hail Mary wasn’t as significant as the first two, but it was still impressive nonetheless. At the end of the second quarter in the Packers’ 2017 playoff game against the New York Giants, Rodgers unwinded from Green Bay’s 53-yard-line and Randall Cobb wound up with the catch in the back of the end zone for the touchdown.
What makes Rodgers so good at throwing Hail Marys?
Everyone knows Rodgers has one of the strongest arms in the NFL, but that’s not the only factor that contributes to successful Hail Marys. You also need pinpoint accuracy to hit the right spot in the end zone and the ability to throw the ball as if it’s coming down straight out of the sky.
Russell Wilson gets more credit for perfecting that throw, but Rodgers is just as capable of pulling it off.
Rodgers reveals his secret to the Hail Mary
Most Hail Mary completions are more luck than anything else, but once a player throws three of them, there’s something deeper going on. Rodgers could be considered the best Hail Mary artist in NFL history, and he revealed the secret to his wondrous ways this week.
On Tuesday, Rodgers appeared on The Pat McAfee Show and spoke about the art of the Hail Mary.
I think it just comes down to the way you throw it. If you can find a clean spot in or outside the pocket, the key for ours has always kind of been the trajectory. If you take out the Jeff Janis one, which was similar in nature to [DeAndre] Hopkins, the other two I was trying to get to a clean spot and throw it as high as possible. On both of those, I think there was a misjudgment by a majority of the players on the field as to where the ball was going to come down. The first one in Detroit most of the guys went to Davante [Adams], who at the time was the jumper on the play, and Richard Rodgers just kind of moseyed down there and looked around and looked up and made a great catch on the ball, which was about five yards from what was thought to be the apex point of the ball seven yards in the end zone. And I would say the one in the Giants game as well in the playoffs, because of the height of it, again, when it came down, most guys thought it was going to be in the middle of the end zone, and there’s [Cobb] there in the back of the end zone catching basically a free ball.Aaron Rodgers
Well, there you have it. Height and deception — that’s all there is to it. Easy enough, right?