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Fact Files: Doug Flutie

By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.

He may not have been the greatest QB in the history of football, but Doug Flutie may be the most inspiring. What he lacked in physical stature – he was 5-9 and 175 lbs. – he more than made up for his resourcefulness and sheer guts. The great John Madden himself called Flutie “pound for pound, the best quarterback of his generation.” It’s no wonder that Flutie is in both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. Here are a cool dozen more facts about Doug Flutie:

♦ Doug Flutie was born on Oct. 23, 1963 in Manchester, Maryland. He and his family moved to Florida when he was six. Later, at Natick High School in Massachusetts, he was an all-league performer in football, baseball and basketball.

♦ Despite his stellar prep career, Flutie was considered too small (5-foot-9) to be a major college QB. In fact, he received a scholarship offer from only one Division I-A school, Boston College, and that was with their last remaining scholarship.

♦ Flutie was listed as BC’s No. 5 QB in fall camp, but quickly rose up the depth chart. He was named the starting QB midway through his freshman season, finishing the 1981 campaign with 1,652 passing yards, 10 TDs and 8 interceptions.

♦ He wore jersey #22 in honor of his first sports hero, Hall of Fame baseball pitcher Jim Palmer.

♦ Flutie is most known for his miraculous game-winning 48-yard TD pass to B.C. receiver Gerald Phelan to beat Bernie Kosar and the Miami Hurricanes, 47-45, in 1984. The play has become known as “Hail Flutie.”

♦ Flutie capped his senior year at BC by winning the 1984 Heisman Trophy, beating out Ohio State RB Keith Byers and BYU QB Robbie Bosco. He became the first QB to win the award since Auburn’s Pat Sullivan in 1971. Earlier in the season, Flutie became the first major college QB to surpass 10,000 passing yards.

♦ The Los Angeles Rams selected Flutie in the 11th round of the 1985 NFL Draft. By that time, however, Flutie had already signed a five-year, $7-million contract with the USFL’s New Jersey Generals – making him the highest-paid football player in either league at the time.

♦ In 1986, after the USFL’s demise, Flutie joined the Chicago Bears, who had acquired his rights from the Rams. Flutie appeared in just four games that season, starting one as a replacement for the injured Jim McMahon. He started in Chicago’s 27-13 divisional playoff loss to Washington. In that game, Flutie threw a 50-yard TD pass to Willie Gault for the Bears’ lane TD.

♦ After the 1986 season, the Bears traded Flutie to the New England Patriots, where he played three seasons before joining the Canadian Football League. It was in the CFL where Flutie had his greatest success. He won three Grey Cup championships (one with the Calgary Stampeders and two with the Toronto Argonauts) and was named the game’s MVP on all three occasions. He was also named the league’s Most Outstanding Player six times. In 2006, a TSN ranking named Flutie “the greatest Canadian Football League player of all time.”

♦ In 1998, Flutie returned to the NFL and led the Buffalo Bills to the playoffs. That season, he was named the league’s Comeback Player of the Year. Later, he played for the San Diego Chargers (where he became the first player over the age of 40 to score two rushing TDs), and then, in 1985, as a backup to Tom Brady with the New England Patriots.

♦ Flutie’s final play as a pro football player was a successful drop-kick for a Patriots’ extra point. It was the NFL’s first drop-kick in a regular-season game since 1941. For that feat, he was named the AFC’s Special Team’s Player of the Week.

♦ Flutie’s combined USFL, NFL and CFL stats: 241 games; 4,286 pass completions; 58,179 passing yards and 369 TDs. Not bad for a guy who was considered too short to play quarterback!

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