It wasn’t just that Cody Parkey failed to convert what would have been a game-winning field goal for the Bears in their NFC first-round playoff matchup Sunday against the visiting Eagles. It was how it all happened. Parkey’s attempt from 43 yards with 10 seconds left not only hit the left upright — the sixth time since November that Parkey hit a goal post, including, incredibly, four times in one game — but it also bonked off the crossbar before bouncing back onto the field, sealing Chicago’s doom.
Turns out, it was also blocked. The NFL on Monday officially changed the missed field goal to a blocked kick by Philadelphia’s Treyvon Hester, after nearly a full day of reaction to what had seemed like a devastating miss.
Not surprisingly, the play elicited plenty of reactions from NFL figures watching from afar and, in even less of a shocker, a torrent of memes online. The result also left observers agog, particularly those with ties to Chicago. “Just devastating,” tweeted former Bears wide receiver Eddie Royal.
“I’m still in disbelief,” former Bears running back Matt Forte said a short time later.
Taking a more profane approach was free agent defensive end Robert Ayers, who dropped an f-bomb and added a face-palm emoji while tweeting, “[Expletive] kickers.”
Meanwhile, 49ers wide receiver Pierre Garcon brought up Robbie Gould, a longtime Bears kicker who became the franchise’s all-time leading scorer only to be released shortly before the 2016 season. A teammate of Garcon’s in San Francisco for the past two seasons, Gould was (to answer Garcon’s question below) in attendance at Soldier Field.
Even Eagles defensive end Chris Long, who played in the game, was moved to tweet (presumably once he reached his locker), “Wow.”
But was the kick tipped? Turns out it was. Hester claimed after the game that he got a piece of the ball, and there was video evidence to bolster his case.
Parkey certainly seemed surprised at what happened, saying after the game: “There’s really no answer to it. I thought I hit a good ball.”
“It’s one of the worst feelings in the world to let your team down,” added the 26-year-old, who’s in his fifth NFL season and first with Chicago. “I feel terrible. Continue to put things into perspective, continue to just put my best foot forward and just sleep at night knowing that I did everything in my power this week to make that kick, and for whatever reason it hit the crossbar and the upright.”
It remains to be seen whether Parkey, who made his first three field goal attempts in the game, gets any sort of image rehabilitation because of Hester’s involvement. Unfortunately for Parkey, the Internet was already off and running, with even noted Eagles fan Kobe Bryant getting involved.
Some used the stunned reaction of Bears Coach Matt Nagy as a jumping-off point.
Others saw fit to invoke classic moments from “The Simpsons.”
Of course, the “Bird Box” meme simply had to make an appearance or two.
And is any earthshaking sports moment complete without the Spanish-language call? ¡No señor!
Coming to Parkey’s defense was Bears teammate Charles Leno, who was asked what message he would have for those letting the kicker know of their displeasure. “What would my message be? [Expletive] you,” Leno said. “You’re not in our position. You don’t know how hard this [expletive] is.”
Feeling less sympathetic, though, was Lions cornerback Darius Slay, who was shown in a video clip cackling with glee at his division rival’s misfortune. Tipped ball or no, Slay’s teammate T.J. Lang had a tip of his own for Parkey.
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