The Hail Mary Pass
1984 Heisman winner Doug Flutie
Perhaps no Heisman Trophy winner is as singularly identified with a single play as 1984 winner Doug Flutie.
On Nov. 23, 1984, Boston College trailed the Miami Hurricanes 45-41 with six seconds to play. Flutie, the Eagles' 5-foot-9 quarterback, took the snap and scrambled around to give his receivers enough time to run into the end zone. Flutie heaved a Hail Mary pass, which somehow landed in the arms of Eagles receiver Gerard Phelan for a 48-yard touchdown. Boston College won the game, 47-45.
Ironically, Flutie had already won the Heisman Trophy. Voting had ended before the Eagles and Hurricanes kicked off on the day after Thanksgiving in 1984. Eight days later, Flutie was declared a runaway winner over Ohio State running back Keith Byars and BYU quarterback Robbie Bosco.
"That play didn't win him the Heisman Trophy," said Boston Globe sports writer Mark Blaudschun, who covered the "Hail Flutie" game in Miami for The Dallas Morning News. "It only justified it."
Even though Flutie left Boston College as college football's all-time leading passer with 10,579 yards, he is most remembered for the miracle play that beat Miami. In November 2008, Boston College unveiled a life-sized bronze statue of Flutie outside Gate D of Alumni Stadium.
Fittingly, the statue shows Flutie about to release the pass to Phelan. The famous radio play-by-play call is on the back of the statue.
At the ceremony in which the statue was unveiled, Blaudschun asked Flutie what was going through his mind.
"I just smile," Flutie told him. "There's not a day that goes by without someone mentioning that play."
-- Mark Schlabach