The Philadelphia Eagles get to continue their defense of the Lombardi Trophy. The Chicago Bears will not win their first Super Bowl in more than 30 years this season.
That all came about in dramatic fashion Sunday as Bears kicker Cody Parkey missed on a 43-yard field goal attempt at the end of the teams’ NFC wild card playoff game to preserve a 16-15 Eagles victory.
Here’s what we know about that play: Parkey’s kick hit off the left upright and then the crossbar before falling to the turf in front of the goal post.
Here’s what matters about that play: The Eagles move on to face the New Orleans Saints in the divisional round of the playoffs, while the Bears’ season is over.
Here’s what is unclear about the play (and apparently matters to some people): Was the ball tipped by Eagles defender Treyvon Hester after leaving Parkey’s foot?
In real time, it didn’t look like a block, just a missed kick.
But then people started slowing the play down, and some think they see evidence of Hester’s middle finger playing a role in the miss.
Parkey took full responsibility for the unsuccessful attempt.
“That’s one of the worst feelings in the world to let your team down, so I feel terrible,” Parkey said. “I’m going to continue to put things into perspective. Continue to put my best foot forward and sleep at night knowing that I did everything in my power this week to make that kick. For whatever reason, it still hit the crossbar and the upright.
“I still couldn’t do it.”
But some members of the Eagles organization are making sure Hester gets credit for the team’s biggest moment of the season. Here’s some samples from outspoken teammate Chris Long’s Twitter account.
Martin Frank of the Delaware News Journal reported that several Eagles players, including Malcolm Jenkins and LaRoy Reynolds, also said Hester had tipped the ball.
"He blocked it. I heard a little nub. I was like, ‘Man,’" Reynolds said. Hester “chipped it a little bit. We all heard it. We knew."
Eagles coach Doug Pederson said Monday during a radio interview:
"I credit Treyvon Hester. I went back and looked at it this morning, he got a fingertip on the ball. Might’ve redirected the ball so a lot of credit to him on that play.”
After the game, Hester said he got a piece of the kick, but didn’t think it would be enough to change the final outcome.