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Sports Then and Now

Boston College’s Doug Flutie and His Hail Mary Pass

Posted on November 23, 2015 by Mike Raffone

Doug FlutieThe subject of today’s Sports Then and Now blog almost never got the chance to prove what he could do on the football field with a pig skin in his hand.

Boston College was the only Division I school to recruit the 5’9” and 175 lb. Doug Flutie and offer him an athletic scholarship.

Diminutive by big time college football quarterback standards, Doug Flutie didn’t have to wait long to prove to skeptics that he was a natural leader and an elite playmaker.

During an October 1981 game against Penn State, Flutie seized the opportunity as a fourth string freshman QB when unexpectedly called on in the fourth quarter during a blowout loss.

Flutie surprisingly passed for 135 yards in less than 15 minutes and showed uncommon cool and amazing athleticism for a freshman. Following the Penn State game, Flutie started every game as QB for Boston College for the rest of his career.

Along with Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons, Flutie ranks as the most celebrated athlete in Boston College history. The 1984 Heisman Trophy winner finished his storied career in New England as Boston College’s all-time leading passer with 10,579 yards.

But, he is probably best remembered for his improbable Hail Mary Pass 31 years ago today against the vaunted Miami Hurricanes on November 23, 1984.

During a high scoring, rain-soaked game, a scrambling Flutie threw a desperation pass more than 60 yards on the game’s final possession. Doug Flutie’s Hail Mary Pass found wide receiver Gerard Phelan in the end zone to give the Eagles a thrilling 47 – 45 victory over the favored Canes.

Flutie’s amazing pass is often remembered as one of the most incredible plays of all-time in any sport.

Boston College may have retired Doug Flutie’s #22 jersey, but the little quarterback’s legacy still looms large on the school’s campus. A bronze life-size Doug Flutie statue greets fans as they enter Boston College’s Alumni Stadium to remind them of the always improvising, highly elusive, under-sized quarterback.

Many sports fans thought that Flutie’s pass was instrumental in his winning the Heisman Trophy that year and many in the media joked that Flutie’s Hail Mary Pass was a result of some divine intervention.

However, few realize that the Heisman vote had already been tallied.

Whether Catholic or not, sports fans all understand the significance of the Hail Mary and realize that either divine intervention or a whole lot of luck, coupled with some skill, are needed for its completion.

And, skill on the football field is a quality of which Boston College’s Doug Flutie had plenty.

MIKE on Sports!


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