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The story of the atypical quarterback Doug Flutie

By Taylor McKee, January 8 2015 —

At 5’9” and less than 190 lbs, Doug Flutie was the antithesis of the typical tall, lanky, pro-football quarterback. Few would have guessed when he began his football career that he would become one of the greatest players ever in the Canadian Football League and win 37 games in the National Football League.

After only a single division-one scholarship offer, Flutie played for Boston College and became a star on the NCAA stage, known for his improvisational style and exceptional running ability.

Flutie won the Heisman trophy in 1984, a prize given to the top NCAA football player. He is perhaps best known for his ‘Hail Mary’ pass in a game versus Miami University, a football powerhouse at the time.

Flutie became a legend at Boston College and was credited with single handedly increasing applications to the school in what became known as the ‘Flutie Effect.’

After playing in the now defunct United States Football League and a short stay in the NFL, Flutie signed with the BC Lions in 1990. In 1992, the Calgary Stampeders signed Flutie. That same season ended the Stamps’ 21-year Grey Cup drought with a victory in the 80th Grey Cup in Winnipeg.

Known as a player who excelled in pressure situations, Flutie went on to win two more Grey Cups in his career, with both the Toronto Argonauts. In all three Grey Cup victories Flutie was the Grey Cup MVP, the only player with that distinction.

Flutie returned to the NFL in 1998, leading the Buffalo Bills to the playoffs and earning himself a Pro-Bowl appearance. After eight more seasons in the NFL, Flutie retired from professional football in 2006 with a career record of 37–28 as a starting quarterback.

Throughout his career, Flutie devoted himself to raising money and awareness for Autism research. This cause is close to Flutie’s heart as his own son, Doug Jr., is autistic. Flutie established the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism with the money he earned from his signing bonus from the Buffalo Bills.

One of the foundation’s most successful initiatives was a cereal, ‘Flutie Flakes,’ that was sold throughout the United States and Canada with all the proceeds going to Autism research.

Now retired, Flutie splits his time between his foundation and his career as a broadcaster for NCAA football. In 2007, Flutie was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame as the first ever non-Canadian inductee.

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