Today is the 27th anniversary of Doug Flutie's Hail Mary Pass. Considered by many to be one of the most iconic plays in college sports history, Flutie put BC football on the map on November 23, 1984.
We all know the story by heart at this point. Undersized quarterback from Natick comes to Boston College, takes a struggling program and brings them into the national spotlight. Miami and Bernie Kosar were seconds away from knocking BC back into obscurity on national television, but Flutie and Gerard Phelan lifted the Eagles to an improbable win.
Even 27 years later I get chills watching the pass, but it raises an interesting question. Is Flutie's pass the greatest moment ever in BC sports history?
It all depends on what you factors you consider. For some alumni, they may point to one of Boston College hockey's national championships. Definitely great moments -- ones that solidified the Eagles as a national powerhouse and showcased NHL-ready talent. Probably helped recruiting tremendously as well.
But how many people actually watched it? College hockey games are shown on ESPNU and ESPN3 with only the championship shown on ESPN. For those of us that follow hockey those moments could be the biggest moment in BC sports, but college hockey doesn't raise the profile of the school. The year after Flutie's pass, applications to BC rose 16%. I can't imagine BC hockey ticket sales rose that much the year after a championship.
What about the Matt Ryan pass to Andre Callender against Virginia Tech? This play could be considered as one of the greatest BC sports moments, but the loss shortly after to Florida State dampened the impact of that play on the football programs success. Or maybe BC's upset over North Carolina in the NCAA tournament in 1994? Or an older play I just can't come up with?
But I argue the Flutie pass is the greatest moment for this Eagle up to this date. College football is the biggest sport at BC -- whether we want to admit it or not -- and it's what puts our college in the national spotlight. This play not only capped a spectacular final drive, but put the exclamation point on a historic season for the Eagles. Just six years removed from an 0-11 season, BC was packing Alumni Stadium, everyone in Boston was talking about the Eagles and the program was getting respect. Isn't that what all BC fans pray our program will return to?
Even if it wasn't the greatest moment in Boston College history, Flutie's pass to Phelan is a moment we can all be proud of. So even if the basketball and football team struggle, there is always history to smile upon.
Here we go...here's your ballgame, folks, as Flutie takes the snap. He drops straight back...has some time, now scrambles away from one hit...looks...uncorks a deep one to the endzone, Phelan is down there...OH HE GOT! HE GET IT? HE GOT IT! TOUCHDOWN!! TOUCHDOWN!! TOUCHDOWN!! TOUCHDOWN!! TOUCHDOWN BOSTON COLLEGE!! HE DID IT!! HE DID IT!! FLUTIE DID IT!! HE GOT PHELAN IN THE ENDZONE!! TOUCHDOWN!! OH MY GOODNESS...WHAT A PLAY!! FLUTIE TO GERARD PHELAN!! 48 YARDS!! NO TIME ON THE CLOCK, IT'S ALL OVER!!
-- Dan Davis calling the final play.