Chicago Bears kicker Cody Parkey had a chance to win the game with a 43-yard goal, but he doinked it off the upright and crossbar. The immediate narrative is that he choked. The guy who hit the upright four times against the Detroit Lions in November hit the upright again when it mattered most. That he is getting absolutely pilloried is no surprise.
But there may be more to this straightforward story. Parkey’s kick, which came so close to going in, may have been tipped at the line by Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman Treyvon Hester.
The frame-by-frame replays aren’t entirely conclusive. The ball does appear to slide a bit after coming near Hester’s hand, but not in a major way. This would be enough to impact the flight, obviously, it’s just not definitive.
This would seem to be an odd thing for Hester and his teammates to make up out of whole cloth. For that reason, and based on the replays, I believe Hester did make contact with the ball.
If that’s true, consider how much unwarranted vitriol has and will be directed in Parkey’s direction. It’s almost as if flying off the handle at a professional athlete is something a person could regret with some time, hindsight, and additional facts.