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Douglas Richard "Doug" Flutie (born October 23, 1962) is a retired American and Canadian football quarterback. Flutie played college football at Boston Collegemarker, and played professionally in the National Football League, Canadian Football League, and United States Football League. He first rose to prominence during his career at Boston College, where he received the prestigious Heisman Trophy and the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award in 1984. His Hail Mary touchdown pass in a game against Miami on November 23, 1984 (dubbed "Hail Flutie") is considered among the greatest moments in college football and American sports history. Selected as the 285th pick in the 11th round, Flutie is the lowest drafted Heisman Award winner among those who were drafted. Flutie played that year for the New Jersey Generals of the upstart United States Football League. In 1986 he signed with the NFL's Chicago Bears, and later played for the New England Patriots, becoming their starting quarterback in 1988.

Flutie signed with the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League in 1990, and in 1991, threw for a record 6,619 yards. He played briefly with his brother Darren, a wide receiver, before being traded to the Calgary Stampeders, whom he led to victory in the 1992 Grey Cup. In 1994, he threw a record 48 touchdown passes. Flutie played for the Stampeders until 1996, when he signed with the Toronto Argonauts, leading them to back-to-back Grey Cup victories in 1996 and 1997. Flutie was named the CFL's Most Outstanding Player a record six times, and was named the MVP in all three of his Grey Cup victories.

He returned to the NFL in 1998 with the Buffalo Bills, where he earned Pro Bowl and NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors. He played for the San Diego Chargers from 2001 to 2004, and finished his career as a member of the New England Patriots in 2005. In 2006, he was ranked #1 in a list of the top 50 CFL players. He was named to the College Football Hall of Famemarker and Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 2007. He was the first American born player to be inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. He ranks fifth among the all-time professional football passing leaders combining CFL/NFL/USFL seasons trailing only Warren Moon, Brett Favre, Damon Allen, and Dan Marino in attempts and touchdowns. He ranks sixth all-time behind those same four quarterbacks as well as Anthony Calvillo in passing completions and yards.

He is a former college football analyst for ABC and ESPN. In 2009, he joined Versus as a broadcaster for the United Football League.

Early years

Flutie was born in Catonsville, Marylandmarker to Lebanesemarker-American parents. His family moved to Melbourne Beach, Floridamarker when he was 6, where his father, Richard, worked as an engineer in the aerospace industry. After the dramatic slow-down of the space program in the mid-1970s, the Flutie family again moved in 1976 to Natick, Massachusettsmarker. His nickname was "The Wee One". The young Flutie was exceptional at arithmetic ; his mother, Joan, would take him grocery shopping and ask him to add up the prices of the items bought in his head before they got to the check-out. According to his mother, Flutie's final totals were never more than $2.00 off.

High school years

Flutie graduated from Natick High School, where he played for the "Redmen". He was an All-League performer in football, basketball and baseball.

College years

Flutie played football for Boston Collegemarker, the only Division I-A school to recruit him, from 1981 to 1984, and won the Heisman Trophy and the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award in his senior year (1984). Flutie became the first quarterback to win the Heisman since Pat Sullivan in 1971. He gained national attention in 1984 when he quarterbacked the Eagles to victory in a high-scoring, back-and-forth game against the Miami Hurricanesmarker (led by QB Bernie Kosar). The game was nationally televised on CBS the day after Thanksgiving and thus had a huge audience. Miami staged a dramatic drive to take the lead, 45-41, in the closing minute of the game. Boston College then took possession at its own 22-yard line with 28 seconds to go. After two passes moved the ball another 30 yards, only 6 seconds remained. On the last play of the game, Flutie scrambled away from the defense and threw a Hail Mary pass that was caught in the end zone by Gerard Phelan, giving BC a 47-45 win. Although many people think that play clinched the Heisman Trophy for Flutie, the voting was already completed before that game.

Flutie left school as the NCAA’s all-time passing yardage leader with 10,579 yards and was a consensus All-America as a senior. He earned Player of the Year awards from UPI, Kodak, The Sporting News and the Maxwell Football Club.

In addition to his collegiate athletic achievement, Flutie maintained a distinguished academic record at Boston College. He was a candidate for a Rhodes Scholarship, for which he was named a finalist in 1984. Upon graduating, Flutie won a National Football Foundation post-graduate scholarship. His number, 22, has been retired by the Boston College football program.

Flutie's 1984 Hail Mary pass, and the subsequent rise in applications for admission to Boston College, gave rise to the admissions phenomenon known as the "Flutie Effect." This idea essentially states that a winning sports team can increase the recognition value of a university enough to make it a more elite school.

Twenty-four years later in November 2008, Doug Flutie was honored by Boston College with a statue of his famous Hail Mary pass to Gerard Phelan to beat Miami.

USFL career

Despite winning the Heisman Trophy in his senior season, Flutie was not highly rated going into the 1985 NFL Draft because of his 5'10" stature, which many considered too short for an NFL quarterback.

Perhaps seizing on the NFL's hesitation, Flutie was selected by the USFL's New Jersey Generals (owned by Donald Trump) in the 1985 territorial draft, which took place months before the 1985 NFL Draft; Flutie was officially signed on February 4, 1985. Trump, looking to improve the Generals' passing game that floundered under the guidance of former NFL MVP Brian Sipe in 1984, reportedly signed Flutie to a 3-year, $3.1 million deal . Sipe was subsequently traded to the Jacksonville Bulls just days later. Having already signed with the USFL, Flutie was not selected in the NFL Draft until the 11th round, 285th overall pick by the Los Angeles Rams.

Flutie completed 134 of 281 passes for 2,109 yards and 13 TD's with the Generals in 1985 in 15 games. He suffered an injury late in the season that saw him turn over the reins to Donald Trump's team to reserve QB Ron Reeves. The Generals went onto sport an 11-7 record and a 2nd place finish in the USFL's Eastern Conference.

The 1985 USFL season, however, was a highlight for Flutie as he handed off to record-breaking RB Herschel Walker. Walker went on to break pro football's all-time single season rushing mark by rolling up 2,411 yards for the Generals that season.

The USFL folded in 1986, and Flutie and punter Sean Landeta were the league's last active players.

National Football League debut

Flutie, originally drafted by the L.A. Rams, on October 14, 1986 had his rights traded to the Chicago Bears in exchange for draft picks. Flutie would later make his debut on the 1986 Chicago Bears, appearing in 4 games.

Flutie was then traded to the New England Patriots at the start of the 1987 NFL season, a season which saw the NFL Players Association go on strike, and NFL games subsequently being played by replacement players. Flutie crossed the picket lines in order to play for the Patriots, and charges of being a scab dogged him thereafter. Flutie would remain with the Patriots from 1987–1989, after which he left to play in the Canadian Football League.

Canadian Football League career

Flutie played in Canadian Football League for 8 years. He is revered as one of the greatest quarterbacks ever to play Canadian football. In 1990 he signed with the BC Lions for a two-year contract reportedly worth $350,000 a season. At the time he was the highest paid player in the CFL. Flutie struggled in his first season, which would be his only losing season in the CFL. Over the next seven years he would go 99-27 as a starter. In his second season, he threw for a record 6,619 yards on 466 completions. Flutie was rewarded with a reported million-dollar salary with the Calgary Stampeders.

Flutie won his first Grey Cup in 1992 with the Stampeders. He was named the Grey Cup MVP.

During his last years in Calgary, Flutie's backup was Jeff Garcia, who later went on to start for the NFL's San Francisco 49ers. Flutie won two more Grey Cups with the Toronto Argonauts, in 1996 (The Snow Bowl) and 1997, before signing with the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League in 1998. Prior to his final two Grey Cup victories with the Argonauts, Flutie was hampered by the opinion, supported by the media, that he was a quarterback who could not win in cold weather. In both 1993 and 1994, the Stampeders had the best record in the league, but lost the Western Final each year at home in freezing conditions. After first refusing to wear gloves in freezing temperatures, in later years Flutie adapted to throwing with gloves in cold weather.

His career CFL statistics include 41,355 passing yards and 270 touchdowns. He holds the professional football record of 6,619 yards passing in a single season. He still holds four of the CFL's top five highest single-season completion marks, including a record 466 in 1991. His 48 touchdown passes in 1994 remains a CFL record. He earned three Grey Cup MVP awards, and was named the CFL's Most Outstanding Player a record six times (1991-1994, and 1996-1997).

Flutie is a figure of national pride to Canadians and Canadian expatriates (this despite having been born and raised in the United States) and has been the subject of a song by the Canadian band Moxy Früvous (sung to the tune of "Windy").

Flutie's success in the National Football League coupled with the revoking of the "marquee player" exemption in the Canadian Football League's salary cap, which allowed one player to be exempt from counting against the CFL's salary cap on each team, resulted in a string of star quarterbacks leaving the CFL and going to the NFL, such as Jeff Garcia and Dave Dickenson.On November 17, 2006, Flutie was named the greatest Canadian Football League player of all time from a top 50 list of CFL players conducted by TSN. In 2007 he was named to Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, the first non-Canadian to be inducted.

Return to the NFL

Buffalo Bills

Flutie became the Buffalo Bills' quarterback five games into the 1998 season. In his first action with the Bills, Flutie entered for an injured Rob Johnson and passed for two TDs while leading a fourth-quarter comeback against the Indianapolis Colts on October 11, 1998. The following week, Doug Flutie would make his first start since October 15, 1989, against the unbeaten Jacksonville Jaguars. The nine year gap between starts for a quarterback was an NFL record until the 2007 season. Flutie would be the hero of the Bills' victory as he scored the winning touchdown against the Jaguars by rolling out on a bootleg and into the end zone on a fourth-down play in the waning seconds. The Bills' success continued with Flutie at the helm; his record as a starter that season was 8–3. Despite this unexpected success for the team, Buffalo was eliminated in the first round by the rival Dolphins, as Flutie's fumble on the 5-yard line with 17 seconds left cost him his first, and only, loss against both Jimmy Johnson and Dan Marino. Flutie was selected to play in the 1998 Pro Bowl.

Flutie led the Bills to a 10–5 record in 1999 but, in a controversial decision, was replaced by Rob Johnson for the playoffs by coach Wade Phillips, who later said he had been ordered by Bills owner Ralph Wilson to do so. The Bills lost 22–16 to the eventual AFC Champion Tennessee Titans in a game that has become known for the Music City Miracle, where the Titans scored on the penultimate play of the game — a kickoff return following the Bills' apparent game-clinching field goal. After the season had ended, Flutie was named the Bills' backup and only played late in games or when Johnson was injured, which was often. In fact, during the season, Flutie had a 4–1 record as a starter, in comparison to Johnson's 4–7. Following the season, Bills President Tom Donahoe and head coach Gregg Williams decided to keep Johnson as the starter and cut Flutie.

The Bills have not appeared in a playoff game since Phillips replaced Flutie with Johnson and some say this began the "Flutie Curse." Of course, the team has not won a playoff game since Jim Kelly retired; a more fitting moniker may be the "Kelly Curse."

San Diego Chargers

In 2001 Flutie signed with the San Diego Chargers, who had gone 1–15 in 2000. After opening 3–0, the Chargers slumped and were 4-2 going into Week 7, when Flutie's Chargers met Rob Johnson's Bills. Johnson outdueled Flutie, passing for 310 yards with 1 TD and 1 interception, and he ran for 67 yards and 1 TD. However, Flutie prevailed as the new ex-Bill broke a sack attempt and ran 13 yards for the game-winning touchdown. It would be the last win for the Chargers in 2001, as they dropped their last nine games to finish 5-11 and cost head coach Mike Riley his job. (Buffalo, respectively, finished 3-13 with Johnson and, later, Alex Van Pelt as starters.) Flutie was Drew Brees' backup in 2002.

In 2003, Flutie replaced a struggling Brees when the Chargers were 1–7. The 41-year-old Flutie became the oldest player to score two rushing touchdowns in a game, the first player over 40 to accomplish that feat. He also became the oldest AFC Offensive Player of the Week, winning the award for the fourth time. Flutie's record as a starter that year was 2–3. Flutie was released from the Chargers on March 13, 2005.

New England Patriots

Flutie surprised many when he signed with the New England Patriots instead of the New York Giants. He became the backup behind Tom Brady and played several times at the end of games to take a few snaps. Flutie has a 37-28 record as an NFL starter, including a 22-9 record in home games.

Referring to his time in the Canadian Football League (and, presumably, to the quarterback's relatively diminutive stature), television football commentator John Madden once said, "Inch for inch, Flutie in his prime was the best QB of his generation."

In a December 26, 2005 game against the New York Jets, Flutie was sent in late in the game. The Jets also sent in their back-up quarterback, Vinny Testaverde. This was the first time in NFL history that two quarterbacks over the age of 40 competed against each other (Testaverde was 42, Flutie was 43). This was the final nationally televised Monday Night Football game on ABC before its move to ESPN.

In the Patriots' regular-season finale against the Miami Dolphins on January 1, 2006, Flutie successfully drop kicked a football for an extra point, something that had not been done in a regular-season NFL game since 1941. It was Flutie's first kick attempt in the NFL, and earned him that week's title of AFC Special Teams Player of the Week. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, known for his knowledge of the history of the game, made comments that suggested that the play was a retirement present of sorts for his veteran quarterback, although Flutie had made no comment on whether or not 2005 would be his last season.

During the 2006 offseason, Flutie's agent, Kristen Kuliga, stated he was interested in returning to the Patriots for another season; as a result he was widely expected to return, despite his age. But on May 15, 2006, Flutie announced his decision to "hang up his helmet" at the age of 43 and retire. Flutie was the second to last former USFL player to retire, behind Sean Landeta.

Near-return to the CFL

Because of injuries with the Toronto Argonauts, Flutie was contemplating a temporary comeback with the team as of July 25, 2006. Flutie did not plan to play long-term, for he had planned on doing college football commentary on ESPN in the coming season. On August 18, 2006, a story was published on examining this topic in-depth. Flutie was pondering a return to Canadian Football because of his relationship with Argonauts head coach and former running back Pinball Clemons, and the desire to "say goodbye to the CFL". According to the report, Flutie was poised to return to Toronto on July 22, after their victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the injury to backup quarterback Spergon Wynn. Wynn suffered a mild concussion on a hard hit from defensive tackle Scott Schultz, when his helmet flew off on impact. Nevertheless, Flutie chose to remain in retirement.

Personal life

Flutie is the older brother of the CFL's second all-time receptions leader, Darren Flutie. His nephew Billy Flutie is a wide recevier/punter at Boston College. Flutie is married to his high school sweetheart, Laurie, (née Fortier). They have a daughter, Alexa, and a son, Doug Jr. Their son has autism, and the Fluties established The Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism, Inc. in honor of him. He also created a cereal, Flutie Flakes, with the benefits going toward this organization. In his free time, Flutie has attended college football and basketball games at his alma mater Boston Collegemarker and was a season ticket-holder. Flutie has spent his summers in Bethany Beachmarker, Delaware, frequenting the local basketball court. Flutie also has worked with the local Massachusetts "Eastern Bank" and is a spokesman for Natick/Framingham's Metrowest Medical Center. He is a member of the Longfellow Sports Clubs at their Wayland and Natick locations. Doug plays drums and his brother Darren Flutie plays guitar in the Flutie Brothers Band. Flutie continues to live in Natickmarker and was honored in November, 2007 by being inducted into the Natick High School Wall of Achievement. A short stretch of road connecting the Natick Mallmarker and the Shoppers' World Mall in Natick / Framingham, MA is named "Flutie Pass" in honor of his historic 1984 play against Miami.

Doug also played drums for Boston at a tribute show for their late singer, Brad Delp. He and his brother also have a band called the Flutie Brothers Band in which Doug is the drummer.

Halls of Fame

On May 8, 2007, Flutie was elected to Canada's Sports Hall of Fame, becoming the first non-Canadian inductee.

On May 9, 2007, Flutie was elected to the College Football Hall of Famemarker in his first year of eligibility.

On April 2, 2008, Flutie was elected to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

Career statistics

    Passing   Rushing   Kicking
Season Team League GP Comp Att Pct Yds TD INT Att Yds TD XP XP Att FG FG Att FG Long
1985 New Jersey Generals USFL 15 134 281 47.6 2109 13 14 65 465 6 - - - - -
1986 Chicago Bears NFL 4 23 46 50.0 361 3 2 9 36 1 - - - - -
1987 Chicago Bears NFL 1 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - - - - -
1987 New England Patriots NFL 1 15 25 60.0 199 1 0 6 43 0 - - - - -
1988 New England Patriots NFL 11 92 179 51.4 1150 8 10 38 179 1 - - - - -
1989 New England Patriots NFL 5 36 91 39.6 493 2 4 16 87 0 - - - - -
1990 BC Lions CFL 16 207 392 52.8 2960 16 19 79 662 3 - - - - -
1991 BC Lions CFL 18 466 730 63.8 6619 38 24 120 610 14 - - - - -
1992 Calgary Stampeders CFL 18 396 688 57.5 5945 32 30 96 669 11 - - - - -
1993 Calgary Stampeders CFL 18 416 703 59.1 6092 44 17 74 373 11 - - - - -
1994 Calgary Stampeders CFL 18 403 659 59.1 5726 48 19 96 760 8 - - - - -
1995 Calgary Stampeders CFL 11 223 332 67.1 2788 16 5 46 288 5 - - - - -
1996 Toronto Argonauts CFL 18 434 667 65.0 5720 29 17 101 756 9 - - - - -
1997 Toronto Argonauts CFL 18 430 673 63.9 5505 47 24 92 542 5 - - - - -
1998 Buffalo Bills NFL 13 202 354 57.1 2711 20 11 48 248 1 - - - - -
1999 Buffalo Bills NFL 15 264 478 55.2 3171 19 16 88 467 1 - - - - -
2000 Buffalo Bills NFL 11 132 231 57.1 1700 8 3 36 161 1 - - - - -
2001 San Diego Chargers NFL 16 294 521 56.4 3464 15 18 53 192 1 - - - - -
2002 San Diego Chargers NFL 1 3 11 27.3 64 0 0 1 6 0 - - - - -
2003 San Diego Chargers NFL 7 91 167 54.5 1097 9 4 33 168 2 - - - - -
2004 San Diego Chargers NFL 2 20 38 52.6 276 1 0 5 39 2 0 0 - - -
2005 New England Patriots NFL 5 5 10 50.0 29 0 0 5 -1 0 1 1 - - -
1986-2005 Career NFL 91 1,177 2,151 54.7 14,715 86 68 338 1,634 10 1 1 - - -
1985 Career USFL 15 134 281 67.7 2,109 13 14 65 465 6 0 0 - - -
1990-1997 Career CFL 135 2,975 4,844 61.4 41,355 270 155 704 4,660 66 0 0 - - -
1985-2005 Career USFL, NFL, CFL 241 4,286 7,276 58.9 58,179 369 237 1,097 6,759 82 1 1 - - -

See also


  1. FOX Sports on MSN - NFL - Ten Best Damn unforgettable sports moments
  2. Weird Facts about Canadian Football, p.128, Overtime Books, First Printing 2009, ISBN 978-1-897277-26-3
  3. Early season provides flexibility for college football teams, ESPN
  4. Lebanese Americans, Sports Celebrities, Photos and Information
  5. accessed October 5, 2007
  6. [1]
  7. Boston College Magazine
  8. BC unveils life-sized tribute to Flutie, November 13, 2008
  9. CANOE - SLAM! Sports - Columnists - Simmons: Flutie over Allen?
  10. TSN : CFL - Canada's Sports Leader
  11. Cold, Hard Football Icy Issues: Curse of Flutie & Peyton Whats-it?
  12. Cassel named AFC Offensive Player of the Week
  13. ESPN - Flutie converts first drop kick since 1941 championship - NFL
  14. ESPN - Flutie retires, to work as analyst for ABC, ESPN - NFL
  15. TSN : CFL - Canada's Sports Leader
  16. Network :: Official site of the Canadian Football League
  17. Click here for image
  18. Bossy, Flutie, Walker entering Sports Hall of Fame

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