The Bears lost to the Eagles in the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs on Sunday, 16-15. There’s no way to have a one-point playoff loss that isn’t excruciatingly painful, but it’s possible that the Bears just set a new standard for devastation.
How? By having a game-winning field goal attempt from 43 yards doink not just off the left upright, but off the crossbar, too, before falling short of the goalposts:
The kicker whose name will now go down in Chicago sports lore (and probably Philly sports lore, too) is Cody Parkey. The Eagles called a timeout before he made a kick seconds earlier, and their icing worked (or at least it worked out by coincidence), as he missed his own sequel.
But even that wasn’t completely his fault. A really close look at the play shows that the Eagles’ Treyvon Hester just barely got a pair of fingers on the ball to change its trajectory toward the left upright:
Watch this video in slow-mo...Treyvon Hester comes up with a huge block off the tip of the fingers forcing the change of trajectory in the kick...wow. #CodyParkey #FLyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/e3jBT3VazL— Z (@KingZouric) January 7, 2019
The NFL confirmed as much Monday:
The NFL has officially changed Cody Parkey's missed field goal yesterday to a blocked kick by Treyvon Hester.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 7, 2019
If Parkey made the field goal, he’d have been a hero for at least one week, or maybe for a few weeks longer if the Bears made it to the Super Bowl. Then he’d have been replaced in everyone’s minds by whoever the heroes were later on. Instead, fans will almost certainly harass him and his family, and he might need to hire private security.
A 43-yarder isn’t a gimme, but you’re supposed to make it. NFL kickers make 76 percent of their field goals from between 40 and 49 yards, and 43’s firmly on the easier side of that spectrum. Even in the January cold in Chicago, a professional’s supposed to convert from that distance. But the partially blocked field goal didn’t go through, and now the Bears’ season is over.