Doug Flutie's Drop Kick

The Drop Kick is one of the rarest plays used in football. It is performed when the kicker lets the ball drop to the ground, and then kicks it when it bounces back into the air. In 1941, a successful drop kick was performed during a NFL game by Ray McLean of the Chicago Bears. Decades later, Doug Flutie kicked one in 2006 as a member of the New England Patriots. Flutie scored an extra point in a 28-26 loss at Foxborough Stadium.

Doug Flutie is best known for throwing his famous Hail Mary Pass that upset the powerhouse Miami Hurricanes while in his college days at Boston College. He is also known for being the only NFL player in the last 70+ years to successfully execute a drop.

Doug Flutie's Drop Kick
Doug Flutie's Drop Kick

On January 1, 2006, the New England Patriots were facing the Miami Dolphins. Doug Flutie was in at quarterback while starter Tom Brady was being rested for the playoffs. With 6:10 remaining in the fourth quarter, what looked like a 2-point conversion attempt turned out to be history in the making. As Flutie gathered the snap, he bounced the ball at about the ten yard line, then booted it between the uprights for the extra point. It was the first successfully executed drop kick play in an NFL game since 1941. The January 2, 2006, Boston Globe describes this historic event:

"[It turned] out the Patriots had been practicing it in recent weeks, a result of a conversation among ESPN's Chris Berman, Patriots coach Bill Belichick, and Flutie. Berman remembered seeing Flutie execute a drop kick while playing in the Canadian Football League.

'We had a couple tryouts out there and Doug shanked a couple, but he hit a couple good ones, so I thought if we had an opportunity to do it in one of these last couple of games, we'd give him a shot,' said Belichick, who smiled as Flutie hugged him after the kick. 'I think Doug deserves it. He is a guy that adds a lot to this game of football running, passing, and now kicking. I'm happy for him.'"

Tom Brady, now a legend himself, said about the play, "Doug was so nervous for three weeks because that's been in the plan. I think he was probably more worried about drop kicking than he was about quarterbacking. He was so excited when it went in. I think everyone was. He just adds to his legend."

Although Flutie did not discuss whether 2005 would be his final season, Pats' coach Bill Belichick commented about the drop kick, suggesting that the play was a retirement present of sorts for his veteran quarterback. On May 15, 2006, Doug Flutie announced his retirement from the game at age 43.

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