I believe in miracles. Where you from? You sexy thing. I believe in miracles. Since you came along. -Hot Chocolate
Public Service Announcement: Ok, here we go! I know, I know. A day late and a dollar short, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t do this one. I’d be remiss if I didn’t pay homage to my favorite athlete of all time. As we all know, yesterday was the 25th anniversary of Doug Flutie’s Hail Mary. The most famous play in college football. There’s that play and the Stanford band play and that’s it. I hate to sound like the oldest guy in the barbershop, but it feels like yesterday. Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away. Feels like yesterday this happened:
Gino Cappeletti: Oh, he got it!!!
Dan Davis: Did he get it?
GC: He got it!!!
DD: Touchdown! Touchdown! Touchdown! Touchdown! Touchdown! Boston College! He did it! He did it! Flutie did it! He hit Phelan in the end zone. Touchdown!!!
GC: I don’t believe it!!!
DD: Oh my goodness!!!
Oh my goodness indeed. That’s how it all started. That’s how we all fell in love. That’s how our hero was born. Not really. Before this game was even played, Flutie had already won the Heisman. Before this game was even played, Flutie had already stolen a big one from Alabama in bahn burnah on national TV. Before this game was even played, Flutie had already broken Jim McMahon’s NCAA career passing record. Then that. Yowza, yowza, yowza! I was hooked. You were hooked. A nation was hooked. Here’s this scrappy, runty, local kid getting it done. He’s forty-six now, yet I still think of him as that gutsy kid from Natick. The Midget Moses.
Doug Flutie was drafted in the 11th round by the LA Rams. The 11th round? I tell ya, when I was a kid, all I knew was rejection. My yo-yo, it never came back! No respect at all. Are you kidding me?
USFL it is. NJ Generals it is. The USFL nabs its third-consecutive Heisman Trophy winner. Dougie breaks his collarbone in week fifteen. Dougie still throws for 2,109 yards. He still throws for thirteen TDs. He still scrambles for 465 yards more. He still rushes for six touchdowns. He still gets his team to the post season. I’m watching USFL games now, just because of him. All of New England was watching USFL games now, just because of him. But then, the USFL folded.
NFL. NFL strike. Flutie crosses the lines to play. You say scab? I say, finally. Finally, he made it. He played for the Bears. He played for the Patriots. Patriot fans went wild. Go crazy folks, go crazy! Strike? Who cares? We got Dougie! Hoo-rah! Steve Grogan hated him. New England loved him. We didn’t care. It was just the shot in the arm we needed. The shot in the arm we had all been waiting for. After the strike, fans clamored all over the airwaves to keep our hero in the starting line-up. Not to be. The mantra that haunted his NFL career resonated. Too short. Never make it. I never bought that. I say he was ostracized for being a scab. I was heartbroken when he left the Patriots. I never forgave Steve Grogan for that. I never will.
Flutie went to the CFL. Eh, hosehead, once you get there you can have all the free beer and sausages you want. Dougie racked up records in the CFL. Dougie racked up MVP’s in the CFL. He racked up Championships. He racked up Championship MVP’s. I remember catching a Grey Cup game on ESPN by accident. There he was, tearing apart the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the snow. When Doug Flutie left Canada, he left a legend. He left with the title of Number One CFL player of all time. Wherever Flutie landed thereafter, a nation of fans followed. A nation of fans. They stood on guard for thee!
As much success as Flutie enjoyed in the CFL, the desire to make it in the NFL was greater. When the Buffalo Bills came calling, Doug Flutie heeded that call. Heeded the call and took over an awful team. In his first start as a Bill, Flutie passed for two TDs and led a fourth-quarter comeback against the Indianapolis Colts. He didn’t stop there. He took an awful team and led them all the way to the playoffs. He earned himself Comeback Player of the Year. His reward? Rob Johnson named the starter the following season. Hey Wade Phillips, you sonnaofabitch, are you out of your godammed mind!?
I’m pissed. Flutie’s pissed: ”Anyone who would be content to be a number two doesn’t deserve to be on the field.” That’s why we loved him in the first place. Down goes Johnson. Doug Flutie to the rescue. Flutie scrambling. Flutie bootlegging. Flutie wheeling. Flutie dealing. Rumbling, stumbling. bumbling. Positioning the Bills for another winter of playoff football. Johnson comes back.
The cat came back, we thought he was a goner. But the cat came back; it just couldn’t stay away. Flutie sits for the last game of the season. Flutie sits for the Playoffs. The Music City Miracle playoffs. Disgusting. He still makes the Pro Bowl. He still was named backup to dumb old Rob Johnson the next year. It was inevitable Dougie would be moved. But know this sports fans, vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord. The Bills have not appeared in a playoff game since Phillips replaced Flutie with Johnson.
Flutie went to the West Coast and we were all watching. He came home and we were all thrilled. He didn’t play all that much. It sure was comforting just to have him around though. The dropkick was great. His last hurrah. Douglas Richard Flutie was a winner. Pure and simple. Too Short. Never make it. My ass!
Peace out homies. Six Two and Even!