The Question:

What is a "Hail Mary" in football?

The Answer:

A "Hail Mary" pass is a very long forward pass into the endzone, made in the last seconds of the game. It is the sort of pass that would need a miracle to succeed, thrown at a time when there is no chance of any other play being successful.

By extension, the expression is used for any improbable effort made out of desperation.

—The Fact Monster

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