Am­a­teurs try — and fail — to make kick Parkey missed.

Am­a­teurs try — and fail — to make 43-yard field goal that em­bat­tled Bears kicker missed

Chicago Sun-Times (Sunday) - - SNEED ON SUNDAY - BY RYAN SMITH

Some say you should walk a mile in an­other man’s shoes be­fore judg­ing them. But does that maxim still ap­ply when you’re kick­ing a field goal in an NFL place­kicker’s cleats?

Goose Is­land Brew­ing Com­pany be­lieved so when they came up with the cheeky premise be­hind Sat­ur­day’s Field Goal Chal­lenge. Do you hate Cody Parkey’s guts for dou­ble-doink­ing that 43-yard kick off of the goal posts? Well, then you try it, buddy.

The con­test was the brain­child of Zachary Connelly, a Goose Is­land se­nior events man­ager who watched the game and knew that when Parkey’s miss doomed the Bears’ chances of win­ning their first play­off game since 2011, he’d be­come Chicago sports fans’ new punch­ing bag. Steve Bart­man 2.0.

“My im­me­di­ate thought af­ter the game was, ‘Oh god — Parkey is go­ing to get torn apart,’ ” Connelly said.

That pre­dic­tion came true. Many an­gry view­ers im­me­di­ately grabbed their prover­bial pitch­forks and took to so­cial me­dia to be­rate or threaten the 26-year-old Bears booter, with some claim­ing they could make the kick that was later ruled blocked by an Eagles de­fender.

I didn’t go that far, but I’ve got to ad­mit: I was among those who called for Parkey’s head — at least at first. While watch­ing the game on TV at a friend’s party, I crum­bled to the ground in agony as the now­in­fa­mous field goal at­tempt landed on the wrong side of the end zone. In the heat of the mo­ment, I mut­tered some­thing about how Parkey should be fired im­me­di­ately and led naked through the streets of the Loop to pay penance. Oops.

At Goose Is­land, cooler heads pre­vailed. Connelly texted his boss af­ter the game with a bold idea: Why not set up a faux NFL goal­post and chal­lenge the pub­lic?

The brew­ing com­pany’s brass loved the idea and so on Mon­day, their Twit­ter ac­count went on a rant call­ing out the Parkey haters (“You’re gonna sit there on your throne of potato chips and vape pens and crit­i­cize this dude’s ath­leti­cism?”) and fol­lowed up with a claim that they were go­ing to con­struct a goal post in the mid­dle of West Ful­ton Mar­ket out­side their brew­ery so “all you pro ath­letes can come out and prove us wrong.”

That sounded like an­other Twit­ter gag at first, but Goose Is­land built it, and we came.

Hun­dreds lined up in front of the Ful­ton Street tap­room in bliz­zard- like con­di­tions on Sat­ur­day to try to do what Parkey couldn’t, and win free tick­ets to an NFL game next year.

Sur­prise! Pulling off the feat wasn’t easy. The bird’s-eye an­gles of NFL broad­casts have a way of ob­scur­ing the truth: 43 yards is a very long way to kick a field goal.

It’s al­most 130 feet. That’s like boot­ing a ball over Max­imo, the 122-foot-long ti­tanosaur skele­ton that looms large in­side the Field Mu­seum, or be­yond three stan­dard 40-foot CTA buses parked end-toend. Did I re­ally think I could suc­cess­fully boot a reg­u­la­tion foot­ball that far while keep­ing it both aloft above a 10-foot-high cross­bar, and be­tween two up­rights 18.5 feet apart from each other?

Not a chance.

I watched a cou­ple of YouTube videos on field-goal kick­ing in prepa­ra­tion but it didn’t help much. My left foot hit the ball fairly straight and it cleared the fence the or­ga­niz­ers erected to sim­u­late the Eagles’ de­fen­sive line. But then it veered to the right and landed on the snowy pave­ment about 20 yards short.

It was dis­ap­point­ing un­til I watched the other would-be place­kick­ers try it them­selves. A few of them got close, es­pe­cially a burly guy dressed in a Brian Ur­lacher jersey whose at­tempt was ac­cu­rate but about 10 yards short of the cross­bar. Most con­tes­tants shanked their kicks into build­ings or trees, and some of them flailed around like Char­lie Brown — fall­ing down hard on their butts on the turf as their kicks drib­bled a few measly feet from the tee.

By the end of the af­ter­noon, 100 peo­ple plus some me­dia mem­bers failed spec­tac­u­larly. Speak­ing for my­self, I’m still not sure I’m ready to wel­come Parkey back with open arms next sea­son — af­ter all, he’s still a pro­fes­sional mak­ing lots of cash to do a high-pro­file job — but I do have a bit more sym­pa­thy for the devil.

A man wipes out while at­tempt­ing to make a 43-yard field goal Sat­ur­day out­side Goose Is­land on Ful­ton Street.

Ryan Smith takes his best shot Sat­ur­day at Goose Is­land’s field goal con­test.


Watch fans flop in their at­tempts to make a 43-yard field goal on Sat­ur­day.

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