In what might’ve been the most sure-fire bet at Saturday’s NFL Honors, Aaron Rodgers’ game-winning Hail Mary touchdown pass that propelled the Green Bay Packers past the Detroit Lions in Week 13 was named the NFL Play of the Year on Saturday.
Rodgers’ 61-yard heave to tight end Richard Rodgers in the end zone was one of 32 plays nominated and won by fan vote.
Here’s a refresher of the two-time MVP's heroics, courtesy of the NFL:
2015 Play of the Year? Four words: Aaron. Rodgers. Hail. Mary. #NFLHonors https://t.co/rOnDM0m4Yi2016-2-7 02:37:30
Both Rodgerses, the passer and receiver, were in attendance to accept the award Saturday, as shown by NFL public-relations representative Brian McCarthy:
Brian McCarthy @NFLprguy
.@AaronRodgers12 to Rodgers again w/ #nflhonors hardware https://t.co/W9C989XmOY2016-2-7 02:48:37
The Packers never led in the game until the go-ahead Hail Mary and trailed by as many as 17 points. Trailing 23-21 with 23 seconds remaining, the Packers took over at their own 21-yard line and appeared to be defeated. But on the would-be final play of the game with six seconds left, Lions defensive end Devin Taylor narrowly caught Aaron Rodgers’ facemask while attempting to bring him down and end the contest.
Because the flag came as time expired, the Packers were allowed one final snap and moved 15 yards closer to the end zone, setting up the incredible play, which Aaron Rodgers said he still watches during his acceptance speech, per Weston Hodkiewicz of PackersNews.com:
I still love seeing that replay. That was a special night. Exciting game. Definitely one we’ll never forget. Have to thank the fans for voting for us; our offensive line, especially Donny (Barclay) for that block there to keep me out in the clear. The receivers getting down there. I know they were exhausted. Richard for moseying around there and catching it at its highest point there. Davante for kind of misjudging the ball and taking everybody back about 6 yards deep in the end zone. Never forget that. That was a special one.
Aaron Rodgers completed a nearly identical Hail Mary in the divisional round of the playoffs against the Arizona Cardinals as time expired that pushed the game to overtime, where the Packers eventually lost, 26-20. The playoff prayer may have trumped the game-winner against Detroit if Green Bay had gone on to win.