Clay Henry: Mike Burlingame Lived The Dream Everyday

By Clay Henry

The quarterback sneak has been one of the talking points in recent football seasons both in college and NFL.

The Philadelphia Eagles made it to the Super Bowl with a play dubbed the “brotherly shove.” Philadelphia is known as the city of brotherly love.

This is a story of brotherly love, but as it pertains to Razorback Nation. The quarterback sneak is part of it, because of a great and wonderful center.

There were no nicknames for the sneak in 1979 as the Arkansas Razorbacks rolled to the Sugar Bowl. Operating with quarterback Kevin Scanlon taking snaps from center Mike Burlingame, head coach Lou Holtz called 20 quarterback sneaks.

“We made it 20 straight times,” Scanlon said this week. “We were seven for seven against Texas. Mike just said follow me.”

It was a simple strategy. Scanlon took Burlingame’s snap, then found a yard or two behind the not-so-big Burlingame to the first down, all the way to the Sugar Bowl.

Burlingame, 66, passed away Nov. 11 in Tonitown. The Razorbacks lost a legend.

Scanlon’s descriptions of Burlingame drip with respect and love. He said Burlingame’s death from stomach cancer has been devastating to the extremely close senior class of 1979.

“First of all, Mike Burlingame was a great football player,” Scanlon said. “Second, he was one of the all-time great characters to play for the Razorbacks.”

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