Another questionable claim in Sunday NY Times ("On Language" column)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Feb 5 03:41:17 UTC 2006

In the Superbowl edition of his 2/5 "On Language" column Safire takes
"post pattern" to be the modern, "more secular" counterpart of the
"hail Mary" pass.  In fact, a post isn't necessarily a Hail Mary,
since the latter is thrown when there's nothing to lose--at the end
of a half, or of the game, hurled into the end zone when time is
running out and an interception doesn't matter.  This is not usually
the case with a post pattern pass, which can be just as easily thrown
on the first play of the game, and needn't be destined for the end
zone.  And not all Hail Marys are thrown to the post--they can be
thrown to the middle of the end zone just as easily.    (We chatted
about the origin of Hail Mary a while back; should be in the
archives.  Nothing to do with post patterns, although of course the
two can overlap.)


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