LostLettermen.com, the college sports fan site and player database, regularly contributes to Shutdown Corner. Here's a look at rookie New England Patriots cheerleader Alexa Flutie, daughter of Doug Flutie.
There will once again be a Flutie on the New England Patriots sideline this season. No, Doug Flutie isn't coming out of retirement at the age of 48.
Instead, the former NFL quarterback's daughter, Alexa, will be making her debut as a rookie cheerleader for the Pats.
Just like her father, Alexa took the long road to make it in the NFL. After just four years in the league, the Patriots released Doug after the 1989 season. He then spent eight years in Canada and won three Canadian Football League titles before getting another job stateside. Doug eventually proved he belonged in the NFL, leading the Bills to two playoff appearances and finishing his career after the '05 season with the Pats.
For her part, the 23-year-old Alexa is trying to prove she belongs after previously being turned down four times by the Patriots' cheerleading squad. This spring, she finally landed a spot with her dad's old team.
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Alexa can relate to the grueling process that her dad went through of making an NFL roster. Cheerleading tryouts for the Patriots started with approximately 300 girls and was whittled down to 31 members after three rounds that included a two-week boot camp at the end.
"It was very hard, very draining, but [I'm] very excited to get through everything," Alexa said.
Those that don't realize Alexa had been turned down four previous times have made claims of nepotism, but she brushes off the criticism like any good NFL quarterback.
"I've heard a couple people — maybe comments online or people just talking about [how] I got it because of my dad," Alexa said. "…The cheerleaders have been absolutely great, they don't judge me in any way whatsoever."
Alexa has big shoes to fill. To this day, her dad is a demigod in Boston for winning the 1984 Heisman despite his 5-foot-10, 180-pound frame, and connecting on "Hail Flutie," a Hail Mary pass that enabled Boston College to defeat Miami (Fla.) in November of '84.
Need proof of Flutie's larger-than-life status in Beantown?
Check out the statue of him in mid-heave outside B.C.'s Alumni Stadium from one of the most famous plays in college football history.
Alexa likes to keep her relation to the Boston sports icon low-key and is determined to achieve everything she wants on her own.
"I didn't want to bring attention to my last name [during tryouts] because when I do audition, I want it to be about me and my goals and my career… I want people to know me for me, not my dad," Alexa said.
While that's admirable, the father-daughter relationship caused the news of her making the squad to spread like wildfire on countless sports blogs this past May.
"I have to say, it was kind of crazy," Alexa said of the coverage. "I didn't expect it to blow up. I thought it would be more of a local thing, but it was just kind of funny. I had friends in California calling me like, 'I saw you on the Internet, congrats on being a Patriots cheerleader. Why couldn't you call me and tell me?'"
Of course, being an NFL cheerleader has also raised concerns from her father. NFL games aren't known as the most family-friendly atmospheres; who would like the idea of alcohol-fueled, testosterone-charged NFL fans drooling over their little girl?
In the end, Doug wasn't going to stop Alexa from pursuing her dream.
"I mean, yes, that has gone through my dad's head and he does understand that, but he knows that it is a professional atmosphere and people will be people," Alexa said. "… He knows that I'm doing this because I want to perform and that I love it."
So Doug — who will be serving as a college football studio analyst for Versus this season after years in the same role at ABC/ESPN — will be cheering on his daughter and old team with his wife, Laurie, in the seats allotted to Alexa for the season.
Alexa certainly looks and sounds the part of a cheerleader. She is 5-foot-2 with long brown hair and tan skin, a high-pitched voice and perky attitude.
And although she hasn't performed in front of nearly 70,000 people before, Alexa is no stranger to performing under pressure. She was very active in beauty pageants as a teenager growing up in nearby Natick, Mass., and even won the title of Miss Massachusetts United States 2010 (it is not associated with the Miss USA pageant most people are familiar with).
Graduating from nearby Dean College last year, Alexa now splits her time as a Patriots cheerleader with teaching dance classes as well as coaching high school and Pop Warner cheerleaders.
And while there are both advantages and disadvantages to being Doug Flutie's daughter, one downside can't be disputed: Lots of "Flutie Flakes" jokes. If you recall, that was the cereal of the same name that hit supermarket shelves in 1998 while the quarterback was starring for the Buffalo Bills.
And Alexa is all the more susceptible to the jokes because she is a cheerleader, prompting puns that she herself is a "Flutie Flake."
"I've had to deal with a lot [of jokes]," Alexa said. "It's kind of funny. I just take it as a joke. I don't take anything personally."
All joking aside, Alexa has big dreams that extend well beyond being an NFL cheerleader. Having attended part of high school in La Jolla, Calif., while her dad played for the San Diego Chargers, Alexa hopes to return to Southern California in the near future to become a professional dancer in Los Angeles. Alexa has thought about a move out West as soon as next year, but she might stick around Boston a little bit longer since she is able to cheer for the Patriots for three seasons.
"My main goal is to perform and go on tour with some kind of pop star or something along those lines," Alexa said. "I would love to perform with Britney Spears or Justin Timberlake or Janet Jackson."
Becoming a Britney Spears back-up dancer may sound like a pipe dream, but Alexa has already made it this far against the odds.
And keep in mind: Fluties have a knack for pulling off miracles.
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