Within the largest second of his profession, with the hopes of teammates, coaches and Chicago Bears followers driving on his foot, Cody Parkey as a substitute grew to become an all-time playoff goat Sunday night in Soldier Subject.
And he did it in probably the most agonizing means attainable: His first try at what would have been a game-winning, 43-yard subject objective with 10 seconds left sailed between the uprights. However Eagles Coach Doug Pederson had referred to as a timeout and Parkey’s redo clanged off the upright. Hopes in Chicago have been lifted for a nanosecond earlier than the ball then clanged off the crossbar, lifting hopes once more ever so barely earlier than falling again into the tip zone.
Doink. Double doink, as NBC’s Cris Collinsworth put it. The kick was no good. The Bears misplaced.
Such is the lifetime of a kicker. Boos rained down on Parkey, whose physique of labor this season contains the really uncommon feat of hitting the uprights 4 occasions on a windy Chicago day in November. This time, although, his extraordinary miss despatched the Bears residence for the offseason. Parkey pointed to the sky, as typical, however how on earth does a participant address such catastrophic failure on a grand stage? The 26-year-old had solutions.
“One of many worst emotions on the earth,” he mentioned after Chicago’s 16-15 wild-card loss (by way of the Chicago Tribune). “Proceed to place issues in perspective. Proceed to simply put my finest foot ahead and sleep at evening figuring out I did all the things in my energy this week to go make that kick and for no matter cause it hit the crossbar and the upright and I nonetheless couldn’t do it. I really feel horrible.”
With the miss, Parkey joins a membership of kickers that features Gary Anderson, Scott Norwood, Blair Walsh, Billy Cundiff, Doug Brien and any variety of others who didn’t convert in large, timeless moments. Like Corridor of Fame pitcher Dennis Eckersley, who refused to be damaged by giving up the mom of all walk-off residence runs to Kirk Gibson within the World Collection, they’ve usually provided a refreshing and even lofty measure of accountability.
“You possibly can’t make this up. I really feel horrible. I let the group down,” Parkey mentioned. “It’s on me. I’ve to personal it. I’ve to be a person. Sadly, that’s the best way it went at this time.”
His frank postgame efficiency gained plenty of followers, together with the Miami Warmth’s Dwyane Wade.
“Most of you don’t have any thought how onerous that is to do,” Wade tweeted in solidarity although the doink value his beloved Bears. “Cody Parkey option to face the media like a real skilled. I’m a fan!”
“We’ve all been right here Cody however if you happen to wanna win again town you gotta get again within the lab and have a historic season subsequent yr to bury this one,” Kobe Bryant tweeted. “I’m joyful for my #EaglesNation however as a fellow professional athlete you gotta grind more durable and double down.”
There have been loads of boos, however Parkey made a number of followers, too, each for proudly owning his mistake and for shaking fingers with Eagles gamers and coaches after the sport.
“It in all probability doesn’t matter to Bears followers, however the remainder of us can at the least admire that type of sportsmanship and sophistication,” wrote Newsday author Tom Rock.
And Parkey’s gesture to the sky after his miss was additionally famous.
“We will’t simply be grateful and provides honor when occasions are nice!” wrote former NFL receiver Andrew Hawkins. “My [heart] goes out to him, however the child can be simply positive!”
Parkey, who had hit three subject targets within the first half, admitted, “there’s actually no reply to it.” He thought he had “hit an awesome ball” and replays appeared to point out the kick being tipped on the line.
The 2018 common season was particularly harsh for kickers, who discovered themselves altering groups proper and left after each miss. There’s a brotherhood amongst kickers — the blokes who, amongst all those that play professional soccer, look most like bizarre human beings. Will Lutz of the Saints illustrated it completely in September, when he consoled Zane Gonzalez (then with the Browns) after a miss. “On the finish of the day,” Lutz tweeted on the time, “it’s not ‘only a recreation’ to us, that is our livelihood. Our careers depend on private efficiency, as does everybody else’s. I’ll by no means pull for somebody to fail, as I do know I’ll too.”
Regardless of the end result, Parkey has some job safety in Chicago. Spotrac figures present that Parkey, who turns 27 subsequent month, is among the many highest-paid kickers within the league and may have a $3.5 million wage subsequent season. Throughout the offseason, he signed a four-year contract value $15 million, together with $9 million assured. It might value the Bears greater than $5 million in useless cap area to half with him.
And so the world, as the previous Auburn kicker mentioned, will proceed to spin, even when he’s extra hated than Steve Bartman within the Windy Metropolis for some time.
“The solar’s gonna shine tomorrow, life’s gonna go on,” he mentioned, “and sadly it’s gonna sting for some time.”