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New Film and Book Commemorating 35 Years Since the Miracle Bowl of 1980

Springville, Utah, (Oct. 2, 2014) — It has been 35 short years since the Miracle Bowl of 1980. Jim McMahon will be inducted into the BYU Hall of Fame on Oct. 2, 2014, and his No. 9 jersey will be retired during the BYU-USU game on Oct. 3, 2014. Jim McMahon was propelled into BYU Football lore when he led BYU to victory in the 1980 Holiday Bowl over Southern Methodist University (SMU).


Jim McMahon’s Hail Mary: Stories Behind the Greatest Comeback in Bowl History

Cedar Fort Publishing & Media is pleased to announce the release of “Hail Mary: Stories Behind the Greatest Comeback,” a 50-minute documentary about the historic game. We are also pleased to announce the release of “Hail Mary: The Inside Story of BYU’s 1980 Miracle Bowl Comeback,” written by Ryan Tibbitts, a member of the 1980 BYU team. The book and movie will be available to the public Dec. 9, 2014.

About the book:

It’s the win that put BYU on the map. It’s the comeback that cameout of nowhere. It’s the Miracle Bowl. Get inside the players’ heads and find out how the final minutes of this game changed the course of BYU Football history forever. This must-read book for fans of all ages will inspire you with the monumental power of preparation, heart, grit and persistence.

About Ryan Tibbitts:

Ryan was a member of the 1980 BYU football team that pulled off the greatest bowl game comeback in history. The game has become known as the Miracle Bowl and still, over thirty years later, is regularly mentioned in sports presses as one of the greatest college football games of all time, one of the greatest sports “miracles” and included one of the most spectacular “hail mary” plays in history. Over the years, as Ryan would
occasionally reminisce about that week in San Diego with his teammates, he learned some things about that comeback that he did not know — things he thought other BYU and sports fans would like to know too. At one time, Ryan assumed Holiday Bowl III would fade from the public memory enough that he could tell people he caught the hail mary pass, but, to his dismay, the allure of that game has not faded and in some respects has grown. So he has to be content with being one of the BYU players on the roster that night. Now, he can also claim that he documented the inside story of that game for others to enjoy.

About the movie:


Hail Mary: Stories Behind the Greatest Comeback in Bowl History, available on DVD

With only four minutes in the game remaining, the score was SMU 45, BYU 25. Led by soon-to-be NFL superstars Craig James and Eric Dickerson, SMU had pretty much put the last nail on the coffin for BYU in the 1980 Holiday Bowl.

This documentary tells the story of how two Catholic boys at BYU, Jim McMahon and Clay Brown, and a host of other soon-to-be BYU legends pulled off one of the most stunning comebacks in Bowl history.

Based on new insights from Ryan Tibbitts’s upcoming book and including new interviews with the coaches and players themselves, this documentary tells the amazing stories behind this unforgettable victory and the even more inspiring story of what has happened since.

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Hail Mary: The Inside Story of BYU’s 1980 Miracle Bowl Comeback


Hail Mary
The Inside Story of BYU’s 1980 Miracle Bowl Comeback
Ryan Tibbitts

Relive the Thrill of the greatest bowl comeback of all time with this play-by-play look at BYU’s unbelievable turnaround.

  • Read interviews with many of the players that let you get into their heads and find out what they were thinking during each tense moment.
  • Discover where the players are now and how this one game continues to impact them even today.
  • Learn the most important lessons the Cougars took away from their experience.
  • Find out for yourself the incredible power of persistence, teamwork, and sheer grit.

Written by a Cougar from the now-famous 1980 team, this book makes a perfect gift for longtime football fans and the newest generation of Cougar Nation. This fascinating read will remind you how miracles still happen, both on and off the field.

Coming out December 9, 2014!

Product Details
Title: Hail Mary: The Inside Story of BYU’s 1980 Miracle Bowl Comeback
Author: Ryan Tibbitts
Hardcover: 176 pages
ISBN-13: 9781462116584
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.
Imprint: Plain Sight Publishing
Publication date: 12/9/2014
Price: $18.99

LaVell Edwards, BYU Head Football Coach 1972–2000—I thoroughly enjoyed reading Hail Mary, and I’m grateful Ryan took the time to write it. I can’t overstate how important The Miracle Bowl victory was to the BYU football program—especially the dramatic way the victory was achieved. Ryan’s recap of the game was inspiring to read and reminded me of many interesting details I had forgotten about.

Matt Braga, BYU wide receiver 1979–80—I can’t think of anyone better than Ryan Tibbitts to tell the story behind the 1980 Holiday Bowl and BYU’s comeback victory over SMU. As a member of the 1980 squad, Ryan always had his finger on the pulse of the players, coaches, and trainers. This isn’t just a story about what happened on the field that night in San Diego but what happened off the field that led to the improbable comeback.

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