We lost the game. Whether you like football or not, whether you watched the game or not, you certainly know by now, what I’m referring to. I’ve tossed and turned over this one but not possibly as much as Billy Cundiff and while my disappointment will shortly fade, his will last for days, weeks, months-ah heck, this is stuff for the history books. It never fades away from the one whom it’s written about. Unfortunately, this isn’t the kind of stuff a ball player wants to be remembered for now is it?
Really, I have very few thoughts when I reflect on the gut-wrenching end to Sunday’s history-making game. Though at the time, I literally fell to my knees (if I’m lying I’m dying…). When I looked up and saw we’d just missed a 32-yard field goal, thus sealing our fate and ending the game. The thrill of the Super Bowl for the Baltimore Raven’s was NO MORE.
I’m not the only one. Players stood in statuesque shock. Some mouthed words so clearly you swore you could literally hear them. Yet nothing was more haunting than the face of Billy Cundiff. Uuuggggg, I swear I could and still can… feel his heart. If you let yourself go there AND I BELIEVE WE SHOULD… it’s painful, DEVASTATING EVEN and I for one, still feel “Him;" way more than the loss itself.
Yet, when one tries to put this into “adult-like” proper perspective, we tell ourselves “ah, come on… it’s just a ball game, right?" But this wasn’t just any ball game and that wasn’t just any missed field goal, nor likened to the average missed catch, bad throw or stupid penalty. This oops, (in our eyes anyway) lost the game. More rightly put, it lost the ‘possibility’ of winning the game. It was the final play. It was the exclamation point to the end of a synergy of energy that the entire city, dare I say STATE had been flying high on for weeks. The purple lights have been snuffed out and the Raven’s flags have been folded away. If one wants to be dramatic that is.
According to the “College and Pro Football Newsletter," the average field goal attempted by the top 5 kickers in the AFC and the NFL was 36.5 yards in 2009.
Billy’s kick was a minimal 32 yards. A high school field goal kicker's level at best. Let’s face it. Pro players usually make these. Point blank. Usually that is. This 32 yarder just happened to miss the 3 points we needed to go into overtime and possibly win the game… gaining us entry to the Super Bowl, that’s all. UGGgggg there it is again.
I swear I can feel him. His disappointment is a deep, deep wound that we cannot understand. He’s a pro athlete, I’m a pro athlete. He makes these kicks ALL THE TIME. I cross the finish line in the 'top master's' ALL THE TIME and yet I’ve also NOT! It hurts. But when I miss, I’m the only one staring back at myself with disgust at my botched performance. On the contrary, I dare say Billy has millions and none of them are even capable of hurting as much, or feeling as much disappointment or disgust, when reflecting on his performance than he.
It’s not often considered, but certainly true - kickers are often the ones responsible for keep or changing the momentum of a game. FYI, field goal kickers make on average, 81.2 % of their attempts. That leaves an average of 18.8% of field goals that are missed.
But most of those don’t give you a pain in your gut.
Bottom line, Billy Cundiff has hit hundreds, even thousands of 32 yard field goals. Eventually, the odds will catch up with you.
You’ve been there. Ever drop the ball at work, (metaphorically speaking of course) and screwed up big time? Ever hit a curb and wrecked the car (though you’ve made turns like that thousands of times before, without the slightest scratch)? Gotten a ticket lately? Missed a plane? Most of the time we never do these things however, once in a while the law of averages will bite us all in the proverbial backside, just like Billy.
The more we put ourselves out there, the harder we try, the more we go for it, the faster the odds are gonna run us down. But we can’t be sidelined by our fear of failure now can we? We have to get in the game, even though we know we’re gonna make mistakes from time to time. It’s worth it.
I can’t stomach one more article ripping Billy Cundiff apart. We’re all in the same ballgame of life. We’re all gonna make mistakes, only difference is, most of the time nobody knows but us!
I really like football. But I don’t claim to know all that much about every part of the game, but there’s one thing I know for sure; NOBODY CAN FEEL AS BAD ABOUT THIS AS BILLY DOES. He’s a good man and a good player and yesterday, the law of averages caught up with him and he just couldn’t beat the odds.
Let he who is without mistakes write differently!
Until next time,
Remember, the measure to which you judge another, it will be measured back at you…