Three years ago Boston College coach Jack Bicknell turned to his fourth-string quarterback during a rout by Penn State and said, "Flutie, see what you can do." What the 5'9¾" Doug Flutie did, starting that afternoon, was set an NCAA career record for passing yards (10,579); lead BC into three bowls, including this year's Cotton; win the 50th Heisman Trophy; and on Nov. 23, 1984 throw The Pass. With six seconds left and his Eagles trailing Miami 45-41, Flutie heaved the ball 64 yards through wind and rain, over the fingertips of a swarm of defenders and triumphantly into the clutches of his roommate. BC won the game 47-45, and Flutie won countless believers.
Martina Navratilova once maintained that no woman would ever dominate tennis. Reminded of that this year, she said, "So, I lied." Navratilova not only dominated women's tennis, she also lifted it to a higher level. She won 75 consecutive matches in '84 and extended her string of major victories to six before losing in the Australian Open early this month. The defeat ended her drive toward the traditional Grand Slam, but her victory in the French Open had given her a sequential slam. She followed with wins at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. Navratilova's game is power, but she won with grace. And when the inevitable happened, she lost with grace.