North of the 400

North of Toronto, South of a championship

The Flutie Question

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On Monday, as I’m sure you already know, Doug Flutie retired from the New England Patriots, officially ending the career of a man whose career had spanned three decades, who had played in three leagues and who Jim McMahon once referred to as “Bambi” – not to mention at least two ESPN Classic moments (The 1984 Hail Mary pass to Phelan and the 1992 Grey Cup, where he scrambled in the game winning TD minus a shoe) and more SportsCentury moments then he had any right to do.

When everything is all said and done he had, the stats say that he had a fantastic career – 58,179 total yards, 369 Touchdowns, three CFL Championships and six MVP awards. That’s more yards then Jim Kelly (45,309 yards), more TD’s then Steve Young (248) and more CFL titles then, well, pretty much anybody enshrined in Canton who isn’t named “Warren Moon”. For a player who was generally considered to be ‘too small’ (he was only recruited by one Division 1 school) for pro football, those are phenomenal numbers.

After rattling off one of the most memorable careers in the history of the CFL – one that I remember all too well – Flutie went off to play in the NFL, winning another award (comeback player of the year, 1998) and getting himself locked into the NFL film vaults while he was at it – oldest player to score two TD in a single game, the drop-kick of 2005. In an age where bigger is better, Doug was the consummate underdog – he was too small, he worked too hard and the odds were almost always stacked against him when it mattered most. He was someone who was often at his best at the very edge of the play, when the pocket was collapsing around him, when the defence was closing in, when the receivers were covered and when he had to run for it… it was in times like these that we saw the real Doug Flutie, the one who could throw the last-second long bomb or the one who could run it in at the last second… The Doug Flutie that was, looking back, almost like was the prototype for the modern scrambling QB like Michael Vick.

So, if that other CFL legend – Warren Moon – can make it into Canton, Ohio, then why is there much debate over Doug Flutie? Sure, Moon’s career is almost like a flip of Flutie’s (while his best seasons were in the CFL, he has better numbers in the NFL), but it is, after all, the Professional Football Hall of Fame – not the NFL Hall of Fame, the Football Players who only played in the US Hall of Fame or the No-CFL Hall of Fame. And if the other Hall of Fames can accept players who never played in their main leagues – like how Cooperstown has elected players from the Negro Leagues or how the Hockey Hall of fame elected Valeri Kharlamov – then why shouldn’t a player who was fantastic in a non-NFL league be excluded?

To put it simply – it shouldn’t be; Doug Flutie is a bona-fide Hall of Famer.

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Written by M.

May 18, 2006 at 4:20 am

Posted in cfl, football, NFL, predictions

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