Everything about the sequence that took place with six seconds left on the clock in the Orange Bowl on Nov. 23, 1984 is now etched permanently in college football lore.
The teams: Eventual Heisman winner Doug Flutie's Boston College Eagles versus Bernie Kosar's defending national champion Miami Hurricanes.
The importance: A nationally-televised game the day after Thanksgiving.
The score: B.C. down 45-41 with time for one last play.
And if you're of a certain age, and you're from Boston, you probably remember the below call from Dan Davis and Gino Cappalletti on WRKO as well as you remember the Pledge of Allegiance:
Dan Davis: Here's your ball game folks ... as Flutie takes the snap ... He drops straight back ... Has some time ... Now he scrambles away from one hit ... looks ... uncorks a deep one for the end zone ... Phelan is down there ...
Gino Cappalletti: Oh, he got it!
Dan: Did he get it?
Gino: He got it!
Dan: Touchdown! Touchdown! Touchdown! Touchdown! Touchdown, Boston College! He did it! He did it! Flutie did it! He hit Phelan in the end zone. Touchdown!
As you now know, Flutie, in fact, did do it, and the Miracle in Miami was born. But there are three words in that famous call that often get overlooked: Has some time ...
From the snap to the actual Hail Mary toss, Flutie had roughly five seconds to throw the ball, which, even with a defense dropping back into prevent, is an eternity on a football field. The reason he had so much time? His stellar offensive line gave it to him, as it had done all season.
"We knew we had to give him time," says Mark Bardwell, a Boston College guard on that play. "Even when there was very little time left on the clock. It was just, let's just go out there and let it rip. There was no doubt that Flutie was capable of it. We just believed. We were a bunch of local guys. Fifteen or 16 of us were from Massachusetts, and we knew throughout the whole game that whoever touched the ball last was going to win. We knew we had a shot at it. Flutie was truly a special kid."
Shawn Regent, who began his B.C. career at center but shifted to tackle, remembers it the same way.
"My responsibility on the play was to block the guy head up on me," he says. "We had six seconds left and a chance for one more play. We had a great coach and we were prepped well. We had a sense of pride. After you played with Doug for a while, you realized you had something special. The more you can do for Doug, something good is always going to happen."
The name of the now famous play is "Flood Tip" and the idea is to flood the end zone with three receivers. The first guy is supposed to jump up and tip the ball in the air and one of the other two guys is hopefully going to come down to it. As a guard, Bardwell had the job of calling the defensive front and the blocking scheme before the snap. Once he identified where Miami defenders were lined up and what gap they were headed to, Flutie started calling audibles, and Bardwell told the line what to do.
"Many people don't know it, but we ended Thursday evening's practice with that play," Bardwell says. "We practiced it and it was in the war chest. We pulled it out of the playbook once in my junior year against Rutgers, so it was a play that we would work on. It was funny because we'd end the practice with a ‘three,' 'two,' 'one’ and let it rip. We never got a chance to tip the ball. It kind of just landed and hit Gerard between the numbers and he fell down."
"I couldn't believe the damn thing got caught," Regent says, laughing. "What are the chances?"
Bardwell says that at first, he wasn't sure if Phalen made the catch.
"It was a lousy day, so the stadium was fairly empty," he says. "We finally knew he caught it when the sidelines started to clear and people started jumping up and down. The Miami players' wind was out of their sails. They really thought they were going to win the ball game. It was just great elation and happiness for us and we saw the agony of defeat of the Miami guys. Flutie didn't get the nickname Miracle Man for nothing."
Regent says that with the bulk of the play happening toward the end zone, there were very few players back at midfield, where Flutie threw the ball.
"It was just us linemen and Doug," he says. "Doug started jumping up and down so we ran down and celebrated with everyone else. After the game, the whole end zone was full of people doing interviews. I remember standing there and looking at the stands and thinking, wow, what a moment.
"Then we came back to an airport and thousands of people were there. We weren't expecting that. At the time, we were just having fun. With Doug it was like a circus all year, but it was weird to see that kind of excitement in the northeast for college football."
In the middle of all the commotion, Bardwell says he found a moment to soak it all in.
"I was just on the fifty-yard line on my knees looking up at the sky thinking that this was unbelievable," Bardwell says. "It was a hot, muggy day and we left it all on the field. Then I think it hit just about every news wire and news show and the stories just started to compound and compound. Then they started to equate it to Carlton Fisk trying to keep the ball from going foul or Bobby Orr scoring the goal where he flew across the ice. People were saying this was going to be one of the greatest Boston moments in sports.
"When you're 20 or 21 years old, you don't realize it. Now, every Thanksgiving weekend and typically every weekend prior to New Year's they start to play the greatest moments in NCAA football history and it's there."
"I think it almost grows the farther away it gets," Regent says.
-- Jon Finkel is the author of The Dadvantage: Stay In Shape On No Sleep With No Time And No Equipment. Follow him on Twitter @Jon_Finkel.