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the NFL
Peter King
October 11, 1993
LEARNING EXPERIENCE
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October 11, 1993

The Nfl

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HEAD NORTH

We're not saying that the Rams, the Bears and the Patriots all made a mistake in dumping quarterback Doug Flutie during his peripatetic NFL career, but he is enjoying remarkable success in the CFL. Since arriving in Canada in 1990, Flutie, the 1984 Heisman Trophy winner, has guided the Calgary Stampeders to two Grey Cup title games (they won last year) and a 12-1 record so far this season. He's a cinch to become the first player to win three straight CFL Most Outstanding Player awards. Here are Flutie's four-year CFL numbers (through Oct. 3) versus the numbers during the same time period for all the quarterbacks on the three NFL teams that once owned his rights.

 

Comp.

Att.

Pct.

Yards

TD

Int.

Rating

Flutie

1,392

2,347

.593

20,236

119

88

88.7

L.A. Rams

956

1,705

.561

11,278

65

63

73.7

Chicago

826

1,477

.559

9,158

50

55

70.3

New England

883

1,604

.550

8,576

42

67

61.6

LEARNING EXPERIENCE

The Jets knew what was at stake against the Eagles. "It's a measuring-stick game," wideout Rob Moore said last Friday. "This is the week a lot of people—including ourselves—will find out what this team is all about."

We, and they, found out quite a lot. We learned that though the Jets lost 35-30 at Giants Stadium, their offense is as explosive as any in the league, and they are capable of beating anyone. We also found out that they have a propensity for making costly mistakes. We found out a few things about the Eagles, too. Namely, that they are the league's most resilient team. With the Jets ahead 21-0 early in the second quarter, Fred Barnett, the Eagles' top wideout, was hit after catching his third pass of the day, tearing ligaments in his right knee. He's out for the rest of the season. Later in the quarter Philadelphia quarterback Randall Cunningham was sacked hard and carried off with a broken left leg. He's gone for two months.

So what happened? The forgettable Bubby Brister took over at the controls after Cunningham's exit and engineered what Philly coach Rich Kotite called "the best victory I've ever been associated with." That's saying something, considering that the Eagles have rebounded from deficits of 10, 11 and 21 points in their last three games. At 4-0, they are one of only two undefeated teams (the Saints are the other) in this young season.

As for the Jets, they went as far as their golden-haired, golden-armed quarterback could take them. Boomer Esiason threw four TD passes to his tight ends, including three to the emotional Johnny Mitchell. Esiason loves throwing to his tight ends, even mouthy ones like Mitchell, who don't run precise routes. In their 45-7 rout of New England a week earlier, New York was shredding the Patriot secondary, but second-year man Mitchell felt that Esiason wasn't looking his way enough. "Gotta get mine!" Mitchell said in the huddle. "C'mon, give me mine!"

So Esiason did. And Mitchell dropped the ball. Back in the huddle Mitchell, to the astonishment of many veterans, kept up the chatter. Esiason looked at wideouts Chris Burkett and Rob Moore. "Chris." Esiason said, "how long you been in the league?"

"Nine years," Burkett said.

"Rob?" Esiason said.

"Four," Moore replied.

"You guys ever beg for a ball, then drop it?" Esiason said.

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