Doug Flutie had a bumpy road in his NFL career, but no matter the destination, through hard work and determination he would always end up a winner.
It can be argued no one ever jump started the Buffalo Bills like Doug Flutie did in 1998. The journeyman started “Flutie-mania” and was named the AP Comeback Player of the Year.
Flutie, a former quarterback at Boston College, is most famous for his Hail Mary touchdown pass against the University of Miami in 1984. The amazing play is named as one of the greatest sporting moments in history. Despite his success in college, Flutie didn’t fit the NFL prototype due to his 5’10 stature. Instead, he would end up in the USFL until the league folded.
Originally drafted by the L.A. Rams, Flutie would be traded to the Chicago Bears where he would appear in four games and then traded to the New England Patriots.
Flutie left the Patriots in 89′ and spent eight of the most successful playing years in the Canadian Football League.
He struggled out of the gate, but 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. 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 and in 2007, he was named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, the first non-Canadian to be inducted.
In 1998, Doug Flutie would return to the NFL with the Buffalo Bills marking the longest absence from the game. Flutie entered the game for an injured Rob Johnson and passed for two TD’s while leading a fourth-quarter comeback against the Indianapolis Colts on October 11, 1998. The following week, Doug Flutie would make his first NFL start since October 15, 1998, against the unbeaten Jacksonville Jaguars. 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.
Doug Flutie was a magician out on the field, and no one knew it like the Buffalo Bills fans did; they enjoyed every single minute of it.
Flutie would lead Buffalo to a 10-5 record in 1999 and earn a playoff berth against the Tennessee Titans.
The former Canadian star used his popularity for his charity, the Doug Flutie Jr. foundation issued “Flutie-Flakes” a popular cereal that would help raise money for children with autism. The cereal was created in honor of his son who suffers from autism.
In a controversial move then, Head Coach Wade Phillips started Rob Johnson instead of Doug Flutie. It was later stated that owner Ralph Wilson ordered the change. The result would be disastrous as the Bills would lose the playoff game due to a fluke play entitled the “Music City Miracle.” Many still “Bill-ieve” this was a pass forward and should not have counted.
The play would lead to the dismissal of Coach Wade Phillips. Not only was this one of the worst decisions in Bills history; it was simply a joke, as Flutie had led the team all year, earning his spot in the playoffs. Many believe that the reason the Bills have not entered the playoffs is due to the “Flutie-Curse.”
Doug Flutie was the man Buffalo needed, but he never fully got his chance. Throughout his pro career, Doug was never given a chance to shine. The problem continued in Buffalo, as Flutie and Johnson would constantly fight for the starting spot. The Buffalo Bills eventually released Flutie, and Rob Johnson was penciled in as a starter. Buffalo would end up 3-13 with one of the worst seasons Buffalo had seen in over a decade.
Flutie signed with the San Diego Chargers, who played the Bills in 2001. Doug Flutie got his revenge for all the wrong doings as Bills fans were torn about who to cheer for. Fans from everywhere came to San Diego to cheer Flutie on. It was amazing because for that moment, for some Bills fans, Doug Flutie was more important than the Buffalo Bills winning.
Number seven will never be forgotten by his Buffalo Bills. He brought something to the team that they needed, and in the end we found out that it was pure magic. Doug Flutie is the ideal role model. Flutie never gave up, no matter the situation. Everyone should desire his determination and heart.
GB Bongiovanni is the owner of TPF and can be contacted at GB@GMAEnterprises.com or @GBBongiovanni