Previously, Boston College has retired the numbers of Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Doug Flutie and Outland Trophy winner Mike Ruth and the jerseys of eight other standouts: Art Donovan, Bill Flynn, Gene Goodreault, Mike Holovak, Lou Montgomery, Charles O'Rourke, Tony Thurman and Louis Urban.
Both Luke and Matt are great guys who followed great BC careers with great NFL careers. Both have given back to BC and serve as role models for the BC Football community. This honor is well deserved. However, I do have a few quibbles with the process and timing.
Retiring numbers in football is difficult logistically. The massive size of the roster necessitates recycling iconic numbers. Hence most teams use some sort of ring of honor. The eight numberless jerseys that are honored at Alumni are in the same concept. BC doesn't clarify whether or not Ryan and Kuechly's 12 and 40 will be permanently retired, yet both are out of use and seemingly reserved for retirement. I think Ryan and Kuechly should be retired, but their numbers should live on with new players. In my opinion, Flutie's 22 should be the only number not re-used. (I would argue that even Ruth's 58 was premature...but that is another subject.) While both Ryan and Kuechly were special, I don't think either deserve the ultimate honor and honoring them in that way now is a trend that glorifies the recent past (in all sports) over true history.
My second issue is that this honoring skips over too many guys who came between the Thurman-Flutie-Ruth eras and the Ryan-Kuechly ACC era. I think Herzlich and Kiwinuka were both conference players of the year and both had incredible college careers. I feel like they are not being honored like Ryan and Kuechly because their NFL careers did not reach the same heights. That shouldn't matter.
There might not be a Matt Ryan era if not for the rebound led by Glenn Foley. How is his jersey not retired? What about all the great offensive linemen who have protected BC's stars? Mike Cloud, Derrick Knight and Montel Harris all finished their respective BC careers as the school's all-time leading rusher. Some acknowledgement is deserved, not to mention what Andre Williams' accomplished. Tom Coughlin and Tom O'Brien deserved the same honor that Mike Holovak received. I could go on, but the point remains.
In the short term this will be a nice little boost of PR for the Football team. I hope it leads to clarification of what BC is honoring -- "jersey vs number" -- and a whole new group of other players getting the recognition they deserve.