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Need a Hail Mary? Make sure Bicknell is around!

1984: DOUG FLUTIE Quaterback, Boston College His 3,454

Quaterback, Boston College
His 3,454 yards and 27 touchdown passes helped his cause almost as much as his famous "Hail Mary" pass to beat Miami during the regular season at the Orange Bowl in the final seconds. Credit: AP

Giants assistant offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr. did not get to see the Hail Mary pass from Eli Manning to Hakeem Nicks just before halftime of the Packers game. But that’s ok. You’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

Bicknell was the center for Boston College on one of the most famous types of those plays, the Dough Flutie pass to Gerard Phelan that beat Miami in the Orange Bowl in 1984.

“Those are two pretty good ones that I’ve been a part of,” he said today.

Of course, for the Manning one last month, he wasn’t actually there. He coaches from up in the press box and in order to get to the locker room for halftime he and his fellow coaches need to scurry down through the stadium a few minutes before the final whistle. So he was actually on a golf cart in the bowels of Lambeau Field when Nicks jumped up and caught that pass.

“I remember thinking to myself ‘It feels like something just happened,’” he said of that ride. “I bet you that’s when it happened. I don’t know for sure. But there was either like a groan or a gasp or something from the stadium. I just had the feeling that something happened and sure enough it did.”

By the time he got to the locker room he was able to see the replay on TV while the broadcast went to commercial.

Bicknell said that was actually the THIRD time he’s been a part of a desperation pass that was caught for a touchdown. He said Flutie actually threw on against Temple earlier in his career. It was, like Eli’s, a pass that ended the first half so it never received much acclaim.

Bicknell still shakes his head that those plays work.

“It’s amazing that they don’t get somebody in front of those balls,” he said of the defenders. “Both passes there was really nobody in front. In Flutie’s case it went over his head but you’d think you’d have somebody plastered right up against (the receiver).”

Bicknell said that he actually prefers the Manning one, just because of what it meant in terms of winning a playoff game and giving the Giants so much momentum heading into the second half. Of course, he’ll still have a special place for the Flutie play too.

“I think Eli learned some good lessons from Flutie for sure,” he said.


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