Saving Cody Parkey
The internet is cruel. After Bears’ kicker Cody Parkey missed Sunday’s game-winning 43-yard field goal off the left post, then the crossbar, Chicago – and the world – was speechless.
Then they weren’t. They weren’t speechless at all.
The last 48 hours brought out the ugliest, darkest and most disappointing side of sports. Parkey’s Twitter mentions showcase that ugliness. Eagles fans sent him donations as a thank you. Bears fans started campaigns to raise money and buy out the rest of his contract. It was painful. And through it all, Parkey was a true professional.
This Underdog section is where we go to highlight the good, the uplifting, and the beautiful in sports. So, we’ll attempt to give you the good and maybe, just maybe, try to save Cody Parkey…
Appreciate the Drama
Parkey’s miss was historic, no doubt, but the high level of drama on the playoff stage was as good as sports can get. After eight years of missing the playoffs, the “double doink” crushed the spirit of Bears fans. Others watched with appreciation for the magnitude of the moment; that feeling of disbelief in what we just witnessed.
The Kick Was Tipped, Officially
On Monday, the NFL officially changed the stat from Sunday’s game to a blocked kick by Eagles’ defensive lineman Treyvon Hester instead of a missed field goal by Parkey. After all the hatred aimed at this young kicker, it wasn’t just a shank.
Parkey's Post Game
After that moment… After being booed off the field in Chicago. After fearing the end of his career. After all of it, Cody Parkey put his face in front of the media, in front of the cameras, in front of the world, and answered questions. He didn’t make excuses. He didn’t hide his face. He took it on the chin, and there's nobility in that.
Did you know Cody Parkey spent his rookie year with the Eagles in 2014? And he made the darn Pro Bowl. In that 2014 season, the guy set an NFL rookie record with 150 points. He’s no scrub. That's why the Bears gave him a four-year deal that paid him like a top ten kicker in the league.
Parkey is 26 years old. He’s from Jupiter, Florida. He has a wife – his high school sweetheart – and a dog named Marlin. He went to Auburn and studied communications. He’s a human being, just like you, and he just had a bad night.
Hear Us Out, Chicago
We know the hopes of your city were destroyed by a matter of inches, even centimeters, but don’t make Cody Parkey your next Steve Bartman – the Cubs fan who robbed Moises Alou’s catch at the wall in left field. He’s not your villain. He’s a victim; a victim of sports, just like you.
So don't ruin Cody Parkey. Save him. Welcome him back and he'll bring you redemption. When he does, it'll be one great underdog story.