No matter what happened it was a magical play in Cowboys History. I asked Nate Wright if he would ever autograph a copy of “The Hail Mary” for me. He said he would only do that if Pearson signed it first. Like I said though he is a true gentleman who was part of one of the biggest plays in the NFL. That game was the 3rd of 7 meetings in the post season for the Cowboys and Vikings, a post season series the Cowboys lead all time 4-3.
In the regular season series the Vikings lead all time 11-10. In the regular season the two teams once again combined for one of the iconic plays of NFL History. The game was the finale of the 1982 season. It was also the first regular season game the Cowboys had ever played in the month of January. It was Monday Night Football. The 1982 season was a strike shortened season. 7 games were wiped out by the strike and teams only played 9 regular season games that year. I was home for the Christmas holidays and we were watching the game in the living room of my childhood home.
In the 4th quarter the Vikings picked off a Danny White pass and returned it for a score to go up 24-13. The teams traded possessions and after a Vikings punt pinned the Cowboys inside their own 1 yard line things looked bleak. I was sitting in a chair in my Mom’s living room. In my lap I had a big bowl of homemade buttered popcorn. Above the chair was my Mom’s favorite house plant, a beautiful potted fern in a macrame hanger. My Mom was not a Cowboys fan. In fact she kind of liked the Vikings because of Fran Tarkenton, but he was no longer the Vikings QB. Mostly she was a St. Louis Cardinals fan because she grew up near St. Louis.
At any rate after the Cowboys got pinned deep she noted that things looked bad for the Cowboys. I said, “No worries, Tony Dorsett is going to break one here and break the NFL record for the longest rushing Touchdown in History.” I didn’t know at the time, but Tony’s lead blocker, Ron Springs, failed to report into the game. The Cowboys had only 10 men on the field. Then Tony did something absolutely magical. Tony took the handoff from Danny White about 3 yards into the Cowboys own endzone. He hit the gap between the Center Tom Rafferty and the Left Guard Herb Scott who stunted. At about the 15 yard line Tony made a hard cut to his right and broke the first potential tackle.