By Josh Langenbacher
Doug Flutie has what he calls two bookend plays in his career, but an affinity for central Pennsylvania developed before either of his bookend plays.
As a 168-pound true freshman for Boston College, Flutie walked in wide-eyed to Beaver Stadium in 1981 and engineered the first scoring drive in three games in Beaver Stadium by completing his first five passes. During his keynote speech Saturday night before 900 at the Blair County Convention Center for the 2022 Blair County Sports Hall of Fame induction, Flutie recalled he didn’t even know the plays he was running.
The fourth-string quarterback was on the trip as a punt returner, and only because the primary punt returner was injured. Still, with the game well in hand, Flutie entered and began a legendary football career.
“It’s got a soft spot in my heart,” Flutie said before beginning his speech in which he called the two bookend plays his iconic 1982 Hail Mary to defeat the Miami Hurricanes and a 2006 drop kicked extra point against the Miami Dolphins.
“I played 40 years ago, and Penn State fans still talk about games that are important to them,” Flutie said. “It’s a big part of their life here, their heritage and what they’re all about. They love Penn State football, and it’s a big part of their lives. I don’t even think Boston College people can talk about those games, so it’s really fun someone else actually knows about them.”
Still, despite his status as one of college football’s most legendary players, Flutie said he’s “very frustrated” with the direction of the college model.
Although Flutie was sympathetic to players being paid — he said Saturday night he came from such minimal upbringings that he and his mother would spread the family’s trash out among different neighbors because the family couldn’t afford to pay a trash bill — Flutie laments the business aspect of college football.
Those sentiments have only been amplified with name, image and likeness (NIL), which allows players to be paid but gives people like Flutie serious reservations about the direction of the game.
“I honestly believe there will be two sections,” he said. “Over here will be the haves like the SEC and the programs that are going to be able to pay for kids, and they can all compete, and then over here is going to be the other programs where they’ll play real college football. They’ll play with kids who want to get an education and represent their school and don’t want to hit the transfer portal tomorrow.”