I remember the day that gave us the play that will forever be known as “Hail Flutie.” It was Friday, November 23, 1984 – the day after Thanksgiving. Our family was doing what we usually did every year – stuffing our faces with leftovers and spending quality family time around the TV that evening. I was only eight years old.
What transpired that evening has often been called one of the greatest moments in the history of sports – not just college football. The setup was perfect: Two nationally ranked teams in Boston College and the University of Miami, and two star quarterbacks (Doug Flutie and Miami’s Bernie Kosar) poised for an offensive shootout on national television. And the biggest difference from today: BC-Miami was the only game on TV that day.
And what a game America got to see that evening, with both QB’s throwing for over 400 yards in a back-and-forth battle that ultimately came down to that one fateful play.
With 28 seconds left, Boston College trailed 45-41. Three quick plays took the Eagles to the Miami 48-yard line. Flutie called the “55 Flood Tip” play, in which the receivers were to run straight routes to the end zone, look up for the ball and tip the football to another receiver.
Flutie took the snap and scrambled to his right, narrowly averting a sack that would’ve ended the game. Several of his lineman executed perfect blocks on Miami’s heralded defensive line that allowed Flutie the necessary 4-6 seconds needed to get the throw off. To top that off, after already throwing the ball 40+ times during the game, he had to throw it from his own 37-yard line, 63 yards in the air, against 30mph winds.
The Miami defensive backs doubted Flutie’s ability to throw the ball into the end zone so they paid no attention to Gerard Phelan as he ran behind them. The ball came straight down, over the mass of much taller Miami players, untouched into Phelan’s arms for the 47-45 win. Perfect delivery. Perfect execution.
Watch Kirk Herbstreit and Desmond Howard talk about the logistics of the play.
Why UPS chose this play for our new campaign
Contrary to popular belief, it’s a play that requires preparation, focus, teamwork and perfect execution. The “Hail Mary” pass is a play that every team rehearses every day at practice in some form or fashion, all to prepare for the few times in any given season that you actually have to use it. If one of those lineman doesn’t make a block, if Doug Flutie doesn’t take the angle he does to get outside of the pocket to make the throw, if Gerard Phelan can’t get to the right place at the right time – the ball falls harmlessly to the ground or Flutie is sacked…and in this case, history is forever changed.
Perfect delivery and execution is what we strive for every day in the delivery of 15.8 million packages. Logistics is almost 400,000 employees working hard as a team to get your package to the right place, at the right time, using pinpoint accuracy, just when you need it most.
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