To quote Vin Scully after Kirk Gibson's epic World Series home run, "The impossible has happened!" However, unlike that memorable Saturday night at Dodger Stadium decades ago, the aftermath at Soldier Field after Cody Parkey's improbable missed 43-yard field goal was vastly different.
While Gibson limped around the bases triumphant, Parkey and the Bears somberly limped off the field, losing to the Philadelphia Eagles, 16-15, ended their playoff run before it really gained any ground. It's not just that he missed the relatively easy field goal attempt, it's how he missed, off the uprights - again!?!
This certainly is not how or even when Matt Nagy and the Chicago Bears or their fans expected the season to end. Of course, there are plenty of fans who didn't expect a 12-4 season to begin with. But the reality is, the season was an enormous success, though it ended with an equally gigantic thud. The Bears were hosting a playoff game and featured the best defense in football led by Khalil Mack, so really, the question for most Bears' fans was not whether they'd win, but by how much.
The only lingering doubt in the back of the mind was, the kicking game. Parkey had struggled all season, even missing four kicks in one game against the Detroit Lions, hitting the uprights on all four misses, that in itself is nearly impossible. Then, Parkey hit the uprights again last week in Minnesota. Five times this season the Bears' replacement for the automatic Robbie Gould hit the uprights. Impossible. It's not like it would happen again, at least that's what all Bears' fans hoped. Besides, karma wasn't that cruel, was it? Turns out, it is. Whoever Cody Parkey upset in the universe has had their revenge, that's for sure. Either way, the season is over, just like that.
All we are left with now are what if's. What if Adrian Amos isn't flagged for a personal foul on 3rd down to keep a touchdown drive alive. What if the 2-point conversion after Allen Robinson's touchdown catch was converted to give the Bears a 17-10 lead. What if the clutch performance of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in the fourth quarter, could have netted the team just five more yards, to give kicker an easier field goal attempt, what if. We'll never have the answers.
The time for recapping the season and preparations for the offseason will be upon us soon enough, but for now, we can just sit in stunned silence and try to block out that horrible sound of the "doink" as Cris Collinsworth so eloquently described it.