NFL Playoffs Goat Turns Hero After Epic Failure

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The National Football League playoffs are two days old, and yet the most impressive thing you’re likely to see has already occurred.

With 10 seconds left in the first-round playoff game on Sunday, January 6, the Chicago Bears, down by one point, drove down to the 26-yard-line of the Philadelphia Eagles, setting up a 43-yard field goal attempt to win the game. It’s the sort of situation NFL kickers encounter all the time, and neither the distance, nor the angle, nor the weather were particularly challenging.

Bears placekicker Cody Parkey, already under siege from Bears fans for misses earlier in the season, kicked the ball high enough and far enough … but it hit the left upright, bounced down onto the crossbar, and bounced back into the endzone – meaning it was no good. Had the ball hit the upright maybe two inches to the right, or had it come down on the crossbar at a different angle, it probably would have fallen on the far side of the crossbar and counted for a game-winning three points.

Instead, the Bears lost the game, and their season is over. Parkey’s job with the Bears is probably over, and his career in the NFL – which players say stands for “Not For Long” – may be over, too.

So what’s the impressive part?

After being consoled by his teammates, Parkey pointed to the sky, the way some professional players do after hitting a home run or scoring a touchdown. It’s a gesture meaning the player is giving the glory to God.

In this case, though, it’s not earthly glory. It’s pain. On national television, in front of angry fans who booed him as he left the stadium, Parkey gave praise to God in what is possibly one of the most difficult moments of his life.

One of those fans quickly posted this to Parkey’s Wikipedia page:

Parkey’s pointing to the sky under such circumstances is incomprehensible to the worldly, who imagine only happy occurrences as worthy of thanks and sad occurrences as worthy only of sorrow, anger, or self-pity.

Yet the author of the Book of Job, written some 2,500 years ago, would have understood. As he wrote in Job 1:21:

“Naked came I from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither. The Lord gave, the Lord hath taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”