A Game of Inches Turns on Treyvon Hester’s Fingertips
(973espn.com) - A distraught Cody Parkey though he "hit a good ball," a kick that would send the Chicago Bears off to Los Angeles and the divisional round of the NFL playoffs.
Instead the 43-yard potential game-winner went doink and then doink, first off the left upright and then the crossbar before launching itself back toward the field of play, a miscue that will send the reigning Super Bowl champion Eagles to New Orleans after a 16-15 win.
It was Parkey's 11th missed kick of the season, the most in the NFL, and sent too many in Chicago into a rage blaming a class act who did his best to win a football game.
"I feel terrible," Parkey said after the game. "There's really no answer to it. I thought I hit a good ball."
The worst part for Parkey, once an Eagle himself, is that he probably did hit a good ball but Eagles defensive tackle Treyvon Hester got his left hand on it, changing the trajectory of the kick ever so slightly, a butterfly effect that turned the Bears from winners to losers and Parkey from hero to goat.
“Me and Haloti [Ngata] got penetration, got the hand up like coach [Dave Fipp] always says," Hester explained to reporters. "... Tipped off my fingertips."
The television broadcast didn't even pick up that Hester was the difference in the game of inches and Parkey didn't realize it as well.
Only after Hester alerted people did observers go back to the film and realize the Pittsburgh native did indeed get his hand on the football turning that double doink into a triple one and explaining why a "good ball" went south for Parkey.
"I let the team down," a dejected Parkey said. I"t’s on me. I have to own it. I have to be a man. Unfortunately, that’s the way it went today.”
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen