Where I grew up in Massachusetts, college football wasn't exactly the most popular sport. But there was this guy named Doug Flutie who played for Boston College and he won the Heisman Trophy in 1984, which was my seventh-grade year. I remember watching his famous Hail Mary pass against Miami and jumping around in my room in excitement after Gerard Phelan caught it in the end zone for the winning touchdown.
That year BC beat Houston in the Cotton Bowl and finished No. 4 in the country. I guess I was somewhat hooked and since I had no natural allegiances, I always kind of kept a casual eye on what BC was doing. I really enjoyed when Tom Coughlin's bunch, led by quarterback Glenn Foley -- who, like Matt Ryan, also came from the Philadelphia area -- cost Notre Dame a shot at the national title in 1993 with a 41-39 victory over the top-ranked Irish.
When this Matt Ryan kid came around, I similarly kept an eye on BC. I was riveted to the television that night when he almost single-handedly beat Virginia Tech in the rain in 2007. Ryan rallied his Eagles to two touchdowns in the final 4 minutes 16 seconds of regulation against a typically stifling Hokies defense for a 14-10 victory in Blacksburg, Va. Ryan's touchdown pass with 11 seconds for the win is about as good of a play as you will see a quarterback make. If you haven't seen it, here it is.
When I watched the videos on YouTube, I noticed how there are some similarities -- maybe coincidences -- involving Ryan's throw to beat Virginia Tech and his throw last year to beat the Chicago Bears. The Virginia Tech play was a scramble, but the touchdown came with 11 seconds left. In that game last October against the Bears, Chicago scored the go-ahead touchdown with 11 seconds left. Ryan's throw to Michael Jenkins to set up the game-winning field goal was a timing pattern, but it's an amazing throw in its own right.
I was curious, so I asked Ryan on Wednesday which throw was better. He couldn't seem to pick. "They were both good throws," he said. "... I guess I don't know if you can pick one, but they were both good throws."
Do you have a preference?