The last of three consecutive winners of the coveted Heisman Trophy to sign a contract to play in the USFL, Douglas Richard Flutie was a legend in New England.  Despite being short for a quarterback at 5 feet 10 inches (note the picture at right, where he's a full head shorter than both teammates and opponents), Flutie overcame this perceived shortcoming in a big way playing for Boston College, where in 1984 he guided the team to a celebrated 47-45 win over Miami via a Hail Mary pass to Gerard Phelan that is perhaps the most replayed highlight in college football history.

Signed by Donald Trump and his New Jersey Generals in 1985, Flutie's USFL career consisted of a single season with the Gen, in which his performance was less than spectacular, even by rookie standards:  134 of 281 (47.7 completion percentage) for 2,109 yards, 13 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.  Despite his performance he remained wildly popular, and after the USFL closed up shop he joined the NFL's Chicago Bears for 1986.  Traded to the hometown New England Patriots in 1987, Flutie played with the Pats for three years as a back-up, never able to overcome the "height challenged" stereotype.

Flutie's next career move took him north, to the British Columbia Lions of the Canadian Football League - and to superstardom in the Great White North.  Over the next eight seasons, Flutie averaged over 5,000 yards passing per year - 41,355 in all with the Lions, the Calgary Stampeders and the Toronto Argonauts.  He won the CFL's Most Outstanding Player award six times in a seven-year span (1991-94 and 1996-97), and was MVP of the CFL's Grey Cup championship game three times (1992, 1996 and 1997).

In 1998, Flutie returned to the NFL with the Buffalo Bills, this time as the team's starter.  The Bills record on the field with Flutie starting was 8-3-0, and the team made the playoffs with Flutie going on to the Pro Bowl.  Flutie returned in 1999 but was relegated to a back-up role through the 2000 season.  In 2001 he signed with the San Diego Chargers, staying with the team through 2003 mostly in a back-up role.  At age 42 Flutie surprised many by signing with the New England Patriots, returning to the Pats to serve as Tom Brady's back-up.  In his final regular season game as a pro, Flutie successfully drop-kicked an extra point, something that hadn't been done in 65 years.  On May 15, 2006, Flutie announced his retirement at the age of 43, the last USFL player to retire from pro football.


New Jersey Generals


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