Cody Parkey’s job is to make kicks for the Chicago Bears, so getting criticized for missing one is part of that job. But because kicking footballs isn’t easy, sometimes players miss — and man did Parkey pick a tough way to miss a hugely important field goal try.
If Parkey managed to make a 43-yard field goal in the final seconds of a Wild Card game against the Philadelphia Eagles, it would’ve given the Bears their first playoff win since January 2011. Instead, he doinked it off both the left upright and the crossbar, and missed.
Well for one, a close look at the play appears to show Eagles defensive tackle Treyvon Hester barely getting a couple fingers on the ball to change its trajectory:
The NFL confirmed as much Monday by officially crediting the Eagles with a blocked kick. But part of a kicker’s job is getting enough air under the ball that it won’t be touched by defensive linemen.
Just before his miss, Parkey buried the field goal — but it didn’t count, because Eagles coach Doug Pederson called timeout to ice the kicker. That’s a strategy that hasn’t worked in a really long time.
The @Eagles won after "icing" Cody Parkey with a timeout before his last kick.— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) January 7, 2019
The last team to win a playoff game by successfully icing an opposing team's game-winning FG attempt in the final minute was the Steelers in the 2004 Divisional against the Jets (Doug Brien).
After the timeout, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins did his best to get in the head of Parkey:
Jenkins: “I was just talking a lot of trash to Cody Parkey.” pic.twitter.com/hHqoNeYga4— SPORTSRADIO 94WIP (@SportsRadioWIP) January 7, 2019
Earlier in the year, Parkey somehow managed to hit the uprights four times in a game against the Lions. That curse evidently followed him into the playoffs.
He’s certainly not the only reason the Bears lost. Mitchell Trubisky struggled for much of the game and led Chicago to just one touchdown. The No. 1 ranked Bears defense had a chance to ice it, but gave up a 12-play, 60-yard touchdown drive in the final minutes that gave the Eagles back the lead.
But that won’t stop fans from saying horrible things to Parkey on social media. Nor will it stop the kicker from feeling like he’s completely to blame.
“You can’t make this up. I feel terrible. I let the team down.”— 670 The Score (@670TheScore) January 7, 2019
Cody Parkey discusses his missed 43-yard field goal in the Bears’ 16-15 loss to the Eagles.
More: https://t.co/IXkXmTlkKK pic.twitter.com/eGOypaEdTc
Kicker Cody Parkey said he wants to go home see his wife and dog...knowing they don’t care what happened today #Bears— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) January 7, 2019
His teammates came to his defense, though.
Asked #Bears tackle Charles Leno what his message to people sending hate & threats to Cody Parkey would be.— JJ Stankevitz (@JJStankevitz) January 7, 2019
“What would my message be? Fuck you. You’re not in our position. You don’t know how hard this shit is.”
And for those who didn’t care whether it was the Bears or Eagles moving on to the Divisional Round, it was difficult not to feel empathetic for Parkey. Model and TV personality Chrissy Teigen was one of those people who felt for the kicker:
PARKEY IT’S OKAY MAN FUUUUUUUCK I FEEL SO BAD— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) January 7, 2019
Parkey gets paid a lot of money to make kicks. But it’s still hard not to feel bad for a player who had his kick partially blocked and is now getting threats and a stream of hate from fans as a consequence. That’s tough.