Doug Flutie is a cool dude. He gave me the best piece of advice on the phone Thursday after contacting him to ask a few questions about the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism and his thoughts about his recent visit to Buffalo.
After shedding my fangirl nerves, I admitted to proudly displaying my box of Flutie Flakes from 20 years ago on our kitchen shelf. His words of wisdom? Don’t eat those flakes. To be honest, I shudder to think what might be hiding in that box on the shelf.
Those Flutie Flakes were sent to me by my father shortly before he died so those flakes ain’t going nowhere.
If you missed out two decades ago, the good news is you can get a new box of Flutie Flakes. They may or may not contain actual cereal because it was a rush job to get the boxes ready in time for the 20th anniversary celebration. But that’s not really why we want our Flutie Flakes anyway.
My biggest takeaway from our conversation? I completely get why Doug Flutie will always be beloved by BillsMafia. He gets us because he is one of us.
For a guy whose mile long list of accomplishments on Wikipedia could distance himself from the ‘common man’, Mr. Flutie is engaging and authentic reflecting on his time in Buffalo. He seemed impressed with how much, and yet how little, has changed since he left Buffalo over two decades ago.
For example, it clearly seemed important to Mr. Flutie to return to Uncle Joe’s Diner to visit with the OGs who still work there. Of BillsMafia as a whole, he says we “haven’t changed one lick”.
What has changed is team ownership and with it the investment made in players with the ADPRO Training Center and other resources made available to the team today. Flutie said he was “jealous of what the players have available to them today” and wished he had those resources available when he played in Buffalo.
And since we’re on the subject of resources, one of the things that impressed me most about Mr. Flutie is his dedication to providing resources for families facing the challenges of autism spectrum disorders.
The Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism celebrated their 20th anniversary last year. They continue to prosper thanks to donations and it is their focus on providing unique supportive services for families that makes their organization so special.
In the earlier years of the organization, Mr. Flutie said they directed more funding for autism research and development. It obviously helped facilitate the incredible growth in our understanding of the etiology and ability to form appropriate treatment plans for families affected by autism.
Now days Flutie says more of their funding is “directed toward supportive services because we feel that’s where the resources will be put to the best use”… and I couldn’t agree more. With increasing numbers of people being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, the continued strain on costs for care and safety measures will continue to rise.
It is his tireless devotion to his son and the challenges other families face that reminds me how relentless Doug Flutie was on the field when he set his mind to winning a football game. His passion and love for the game are what made him so beloved while he played in Buffalo.
We spoke a bit about the Bills and what the future holds for the franchise. It’s clear to me if there ever was a ‘Flutie curse’ it’s long gone because he sees nothing but good things ahead for the Bills.
Flutie spoke glowingly about Josh Allen. Big, athletic, fearless. He openly said “I love him”! He spoke of Allen’s leadership skills and if anyone would know about having IT, IT would be Doug Flutie.
His only critique of Josh at this time is learning to get the ball out faster, but he acknowledged more experience will help a lot in that regard. Flutie raved about the Bills defense and believes they are a team on the rise.
One of the other subjects we briefly discussed were rule changes that he might recommend having played in both CFL and NFL for a long time (he also played in the USFL as well). I found his response very interesting.
Flutie, a quarterback by trade, would oddly like to see elimination of the blindside block rules. He believes that it’s unfair to defensive lineman who already have a small target area as it is to tackle a quarterback.
How many quarterbacks do you know who stick up for the defensive linemen and want to make the game easier for them to tackle quarterbacks? This is exactly why he is beloved by BillsMafia.
Editor’s babble: Thanks to Del Reid for arranging the interview. It’s amazing what you can learn about a person in 15 minutes. Doug Flutie is a good dude. If you don’t believe me, you can find me on Twitter @RobynMundyWYO. And don’t forget to getcha some Flutie Flakes.