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Interview With the 49ers' Vernon Davis: 'Hail Mary'

Interview With the 49ers' Vernon Davis: 'Hail Mary'

Date: Dec 12 2008

Themes: Interview, Sports

Grammar: Gerunds vs. Infinitives


1. Learn Vocabulary - Learn some new vocabulary before you start the lesson.

2. Read and Prepare - Read the introduction and prepare to hear the audio.

Vernon Davis is a star tight end for the San Francisco 49ers, but not too long ago, the 24-year-old was also an art student at the University of Maryland. Nowadays, in addition to painting and the NFL, Davis does a lot of work with charities. Last week, Jason talked to him on the phone about his life on and off the football field.


1. Listen and Read - Listen to the audio and read the dialog at the same time.

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2. Study - Read the dialog again to see how the vocab words are used.





Vernon:  Hey, how you doin’ man?

Jason:  Uh, good. How are you?

Vernon:  I’m pretty good.

Jason:  I hear you went to school on Tuesday.

Vernon:  Yeah, I did. So, it was a kid that was in second grade and I had to go with him to school and pretty much what we had to do was make up workouts and stuff like that for the rest of the kids.

Jason:  Oh wow. So let’s see, you majored in studio art in college. I just wondered if your background as an artist affects the way you play football and if art still plays a role in your life right now.

Vernon:  I paint or draw or whatever it may be every chance that I get. Once you start painting you probably…like me, for me…I sit there for hours and I’m looking at my painting from different angles and, you know, I just can’t stop looking at it. You know, I want to get up because I get tired…

Jason:  Yeah.

Vernon:  ...but I can’t leave the painting without pretty much finishing it, you know, so it can be perfect. I want it to be perfect. And how that translates to football or rolls over to football is that, you know, everything I do on the football field, I like to be perfect. I like to win. I don’t want to lose and it just makes you competitive, I think.

Jason:  Totally. You’re a tight end and tight ends do a lot of things, but one of the things they do is catch passes, and I wondered if you’ve ever caught a Hail Mary pass and if you could talk about what a Hail Mary pass is.

Vernon:  It’s pretty much like a bomb in the air. They also call it a bomb. The quarterback just throws the ball as hard as he can.

Jason:  Totally. And when do you use it?

Vernon:  You can use it in the fourth quarter when you have like 10 or 15 seconds on the clock.

Jason:  Have any Hail Mary passes come your way lately?

Vernon:  I actually had a Hail Mary when we played Dallas. It was 43 yards.

Jason:  But it’s pretty hard to catch a Hail Mary, right? It’s kind of a long shot?

Vernon:  Hmm…Not really. You just…I mean, if you work on it, no, it’s not hard.

Jason:  Oh cool.

Vernon:  I pretty much work on it every day.


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Vernon Davis explains that when the game is almost over, and you only have one more chance to win, you can throw a long pass all the way down the field to try to score. That’s called a Hail Mary because you’re basically praying that you win the game. You can use the phrase Hail Mary to describe any last-minute attempt to succeed.

If you ask someone who is really attractive and who you don’t really think you have a chance with on a date, that’s a Hail Mary. If you get bad grades all semester and then try to get do well on the final to pass the class that’s a Hail Mary.
A couple of weeks ago, Vernon caught a Hail Mary in a game. Jason thinks that sounds hard to do, but Vernon says he’s practiced it so much it’s not all that hard for him. Where does he get that confidence? Art, actually. Once Vernon starts painting, he won’t stop until the painting is finished. Vernon says being an artist makes him more competitive. Luckily, he does charity work to relieve the stress of being a perfectionist

When’s the last time you had to try a Hail Mary?

For more with Vernon Davis, read the rest of Jason’s interview, visit Vernon’s website or take a look at his blog.



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i always used to be a pefectionist , by time , i think it is too difficult to be good at everything  , now i just like a quterback doing the throwing , throw  some stuff i dont need  very much yards away .

09:42 AM Mar 15 2010 |



He is better than me..!!


12:23 AM Jan 12 2010 |



Saudi Arabia

ok let me share this moment with u guys

i had a hail mary when i finish my high school

because i thought that i will fail and i will not make it to the college

but i studied hard and push myself to the limit and here i am

i got something  i never dreamed of but its cool

im gonna be a pilot one day and im gonna travel around the world

that is my dream

02:05 PM Jan 07 2010 |




He is a good man.i think.Smile

02:45 PM Dec 21 2009 |




I like American football.It's the good sport.^^

02:35 PM Dec 21 2009 |



i like to have Hail Mary, but more i like to pass it by)))

07:50 AM May 20 2009 |




you have to try and try

06:19 PM Feb 15 2009 |

tigana ca


hey im tunisia

06:08 PM Dec 20 2008 |


Viet Nam

i have a problem with my speaking skill…...........

01:16 AM Dec 18 2008 |




if you have the last chance, you must do your best and use it at full scale.

07:52 PM Dec 17 2008 |



sooooooooooooooo nice

05:06 PM Dec 17 2008 |




stem the flood in chinese it might be


07:25 AM Dec 16 2008 |

Billie joe


Well, hail mary is present in my life every day specially when I get up early, I always arrived late to my work so I have to do all the things more fast than a normal person also I try to get do well my homeworks in the last time, then appears my hail mary and I get good grades lol, it´s something like a stroke of luck in the last moment, no?

03:39 PM Dec 15 2008 |



I don’t want to lose and it just makes you competitive, I also think.

01:24 AM Dec 15 2008 |




good lesson

02:14 PM Dec 14 2008 |



Hail Mary is something you win at the last minute.Hopefully Ican get my Hail Mary in the next try for my ielts.Now I 'm trying to get a Hail Mary.

12:45 PM Dec 14 2008 |


South Korea

It is the time when i'll do my best. I'm already in phlippines for progressing my English skills. 

I think the time i'm in phlippines is a hail mary. i'm majoring in english but i can't study for 3 years.

military service and my korean language teacher life in china. It is the reason. anyway before i return

tounvirsty i have to do my bestl. I have only 3month. I praying do like what i want. 

02:45 PM Dec 13 2008 |




Hail Mary is used when we are into a tight situation! hehe :D

01:56 PM Dec 13 2008 |




Hail Mary is present in my life always when I'm arriving at the end of the month without money! hahaha

01:48 PM Dec 13 2008 |




my english is very poor i am working but i am unable to understand english words..

06:15 AM Dec 13 2008 |

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