This week, we’re celebrating some of our favorite random plays and obscure moments in NFL history — those that WE will never forget, even if others have. Welcome to “Who Remembers?” Week at SB Nation NFL.
Allow me to preface all of this by saying that I’d love to see more drop kicks.
It’d actually be pretty damn awesome if an NFL team had a quarterback capable of consistently nailing drop kicks through the uprights. After every touchdown that team would be able to set up for a two-point conversion. If the defense is lined up to stop the play, the passer can just step back and make a chip shot kick for one point.
Hell, it might even be easier than an extra point, considering it’d be about 15 or so yards closer now that kickers have to try from 33 yards.
It could give teams an advantage if they found a player who could pull it off. Seahawks punter Michael Dickson can do it, but trusting him to run the offense might not be wise. Maybe one day a team will eventually be brave enough to commit to that strategy with a quarterback (and possibly even ditch their punter in the process).
That’s not what the Patriots were doing when they let Doug Flutie successfully drop kick an extra point against the Dolphins, though. On New Year’s Day in 2006, the then-43-year-old quarterback wasn’t being groomed for a role as the head of a two-point conversion package.
The Patriots were just doing it for shits and giggles.
The stakes for Flutie’s kick were as low as possible
New England entered Week 17 of the 2005 season with hardly anything to play for. The Patriots had already secured the AFC East title, while the top two seeds in the conference belonged to the Colts and Broncos. A chance at the No. 3 seed in the AFC was still alive, but Bill Belichick decided it was a better idea to rest the starters.
Tom Brady played only three offensive series, and other stars like Tedy Bruschi, Asante Samuel, and Corey Dillon were declared inactive.
It didn’t matter much that the Patriots were in a 25-13 hole in the fourth quarter. It mattered even less when it was time for an extra point following backup quarterback Matt Cassel‘s touchdown with 6:10 left in the game. A successful try would’ve cut the lead to 25-20 and a miss would’ve made it 25-19. Either way, the Patriots needed another touchdown to get the win.
So it wasn’t strategic genius by Belichick to send out third-stringer Doug Flutie for a drop kick. It was just a perfect time to try something entirely inconsequential on — what was presumed to be and what turned out to be — Flutie’s last ever regular-season game.
Flutie didn’t even pretend he might be a quarterback on the play. He dropped 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage and was protected by every player on the offense except receiver Bam Childress, who was split out wide to the left. Then, slowly and deliberately, Flutie bounced the ball off the turf and booted it through the uprights for one point.
In a way, the play was a Patriots brand of disrespect.
The Patriots couldn’t care less about the Dolphins
New England was only in the beginning stages of its two-decade reign of terror at the time. But that kick by Flutie serves as a microcosm of what the Patriots still are today.
They’re not a team that’s outright rude to opponents, at least not in the brash trash-talking kind of way. The Patriots are just so unbothered by challengers that they can do something as silly as a pointless drop kick for laughs.
The sheer disregard for the Dolphins in that small moment from 2006 is some grade-A trolling, and it made sense considering the Patriots had won three of the previous four Super Bowls. Meanwhile, the Dolphins were wrapping up a fourth straight season without a trip to the postseason. Belichick and New England probably wouldn’t be yukking it up on the sideline if it had been a game against their then-archrival Indianapolis Colts.
The Patriots let Flutie give a drop kick a shot because they didn’t care one bit about the Dolphins. More than 13 years later, that’s still very on brand for New England.