The 43-year-old Patriots backup converted the NFL’s first successful drop kick since 1941, making an extra point in the fourth quarter of the Miami Dolphins’ mostly meaningless 28-26 victory Sunday over New England.
“I think Doug deserves it,” said usually dour Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who broke into a wide smile when his sprightly quarterback split the uprights off one bounce. “He is a guy that adds a lot to this game of football, has added a lot through his great career — running, passing and now kicking.
“He’s got a skill and we got a chance to let him use it, and I am happy for him. First time since ’41,” said Belichick, a football historian who last month brought out a leather helmet in his media session. “It might be 60 years again, too.”
According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame web site, the league’s last drop kick for points was on Dec. 21, 1941 — two weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor — when Ray “Scooter” McLean converted for the Chicago Bears to beat the New York Giants 37-9 in the NFL championship game.
“Flutie might have been there the last time it happened,” placekicker Adam Vinatieri joked.
The ball was more round until 1934, making the bounce more predictable. And the rules were changed to require the kicker to be behind the line of scrimmage, relegating the drop kick to a riskier version of a place kick or extra point.
But when ESPN broadcaster Chris Berman mentioned to Belichick that he’d seen Flutie drop kick, the coach called his quarterback into his office and asked if he could do it.
“I said, ‘I could do it,”‘ Flutie said. “‘There’s no real application for it, but I could do it.”‘
If in 13 years I still enjoy my job half as much as Flutie seems to be enjoying his, I will count myself a lucky girl.