“A Miracle in Miami: 65 Yards, BC, Flutie Get Storybook Victory”
The idea does not go away that Doug Flutie simply willed the ball into the end zone. Thought it there.
He threw the ball—sure, he threw it 48 yards on the scoresheet and maybe 65 yards in the air—but that does not begin to explain exactly what happened. Zero seconds left? National television? Forty-eight yards on the last play of the game. To win the game?
. . .
“What were you thinking when he ran that play?” coach Bicknell was asked.
“Tell the truth, I’m thinking about what I’m going to say to the kids after the loss,” Bicknell said. “I’m thinking about how I’m going to get ‘em up for Holy Cross. I mean, you always say you’re never out of it, but really…”
How to describe what happened next? Flutie dancing. Flutie Throwing. The ball cutting through the rain. Phelan behind three Miami defensive backs. Phelan catching the ball.
“I landed,” Gerard Phelan said, “and I saw that there was writing on the ground underneath me. I knew that I was in the end zone. I jumped up fast to show the referee I had the ball.”
“I couldn’t exactly see what happened,” Macdonald said. “I thought I saw the ball hit the ground. I turned to shake the hand of the guy I’d been playing against. To congratulate him. Then I saw him just slump over. I turned back to see what happened.”
“I was numb,” Bicknell said. “I ran across the field to shake (Miami coach) Jimmy Johnson’s hand. His face . . . his face was the way I suppose my face would have been if something like that happened to me. I actually felt sorry for him.”
Flutie could not see the catch. He worried that he might have thrown the ball too far. The referee’s upturned arms were the signal that he had not.
He began to run toward Gerard Phelan and the end zone.
“I was under control,” he said. “It’s funny, but while it was all taking place I was pretty good. I wasn’t very emotional at all. It was after it all happened, as I ran down the field, that got emotional.”
The idea now was to celebrate.
“A Miracle in Miami: 65 Yards, BC, Flutie Get Storybook Victory,” by Leigh Montville. Boston Globe, November 24, 1984.