On Sunday at Soldier Field, Cody Parkey lined up for the biggest kick of his life. With the Chicago Bears trailing by a single point, Parkey had a chance to give his team the lead with just seconds left on the clock.
From 43 yards out, Parkey drilled the ball right through the uprights, but the field goal would not count because Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson called a timeout right before the snap to try to ice Parkey. What would happen next would ice Bears fans for the foreseeable future.
Parkey lined up for the attempt once again. Again he connected with the ball well. Initially it looked as if the Bears were about to celebrate their first playoff win since Obama’s first term. This time however, the ball started to veer left at the last moment. The ball hit the upright. Then, amazingly enough, the ball caromed off the crossbar as well, bouncing out instead of in. The ball and the Bears mascot, Staley, simultaneously fell to the ground. Chicago’s season came to an excruciating end while the defending Super Bowl champions punched their ticket to New Orleans.
Parkey missed the biggest kick of his life. Not quite of Scott Norwood or even Gary Anderson proportions but certainly in the realm of, and arguably worse than that of, Blair Walsh. Parkey will be known for good, for this kick being no good.
As he realized the kick had failed, Parkey hung his head. Bears tackle Bobby Massie consoled his teammate with a hug. Then it happened. Parkey pointed upward to the sky. Parkey pointed to God after missing the biggest kick of his life. We see players do this all the time after scoring a touchdown or lacing a double down the line. It’s easy to praise God when things go our way. But Parkey showed the world what he’s all about by praising God during a bad time. Parkey understands God is good all the time. Amazing.
Some fans took to social media after the game to wish death on Parkey. Like Walsh before him, Parkey will now endure sick threats and disgusting comments from the worst among us. These cretins who put football above all else, always rear their ugly heads whenever a player fails in a big spot. They are bottom feeders. They are what is wrong with society.
Even some former players took shots at Parkey and the Bears by mentioning the great stats of former Chicago kicker Robbie Gould. Blasting the Bears for dumping Gould is a valid point, but to do it in a way that suggests ill will toward Parkey, right after a heartbreaking playoff loss is low class.
Their tweets and comments looked even worse later when further review of the play seems to show Philadelphia’s Treyvon Hester getting his hand on the ball. So while Parkey did miss the kick, he didn’t miss it cleanly. Hester won the game for the Eagles more than Parkey lost it for the Bears.
Parkey showed the world what is right. After missing the biggest kick of his life, a miss that could very well cost him his job, Parkey thanked the Lord.
After the game, Parkey showed class too. He repeatedly said he felt “terrible”. He expressed how bad he felt for letting his team down. Parkey even went as far as saying “I one hundred percent take that loss on me”. Some may argue the silly decision to leave the starters in against Minnesota last week in a meaningless second half may have played a part in the loss too. Perhaps Matt Nagy’s play calling against the Eagles, particularly the head scratching number the Bears ran on their two-point conversion attempt should be examined as well if we’re playing the blame game. But Parkey owned the loss like a man. Much more of a man than any Internet troll.
One thing is for sure here. Parkey puts God first when he makes kicks or when he misses them. A man who hit the uprights multiple times this season never lost faith in what matters most.
After the Bears playoff loss, Parkey expressed interest in wanting to see his wife and dog, saying that they wouldn’t care what happened on the field. Fans of course, care about what happened on the field, as they should. But then there are those wishing death or harm to this man for simply missing a kick in a football game. No one should care that much.
Follow Kevin Scholla on Twitter @kevinscholla