And there he was. Fresh-faced, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed. Earnest.
Who ordered Cody Perky?
It was way too early in the morning and way too soon after the Bears’ painful playoff loss for Cody Parkey to be talking again about the double-doink heard round the world.
But there he was early Friday on NBC’s “Today’’ show, chatting with new friends Hoda, Savannah and Craig. The kicker wanted the country to know that he felt awful about missing the field-goal attempt that ended the Bears’ season but that he would survive. Such was the co-hosts’ level of admiration for this declaration that, if they could have strapped themselves to the Soldier Field goalpost and deflected the errant football through the uprights last Sunday, costing them their lives in the process, they would have done so.
Whatever Friday’s appearance was – an act of contrition, a plea for redemption, a marketing campaign – it was a bad idea. Chicago is still mourning the Bears’ 16-15 loss to the Eagles, and a large number of fans are still angry at Parkey, at his missed kick and at the franchise for standing by him in the regular season when he was clanking field-goal attempts off uprights literally left and right. And if God had a hand in the missed kick last Sunday, those fans would like a word with Him, too.
I don’t want my pound of flesh out of Parkey. He missed his field-goal attempt and answered reporters’ questions after the game like a professional should. That was enough.
I don’t think the nation needs a “Today’’-approved group hug. I know Bears fans don’t.
They don’t need him to tear his garments and pour ashes on himself. After being tipped, his kick hit the left upright, bounced off the crossbar and that was that.
I’d prefer he just move along.
The definition of being estranged from reality: Believing that going on national TV five days after one of the most excruciating losses in Chicago sports history, a loss you played a huge role in, is a good idea. I know Bears fans who would rather have a romantic evening with a Packers fan’s dairy cow than look at Parkey right now.
Perhaps Friday’s appearance wasn’t his idea. Perhaps someone convinced him that it would make him seem more human. Perhaps someone told him that future employers would be able to see that he could get past the debacle against the Eagles.
It doesn’t matter. Parkey signed on to do the interview. He agreed to whatever the “Today’’ folks sold him on. Maybe they sold him on the idea that he’d be helping all those people out there who have fallen down in their daily struggles and can’t get up without the aid of hydraulics.
If you need a kicker to tell you how to deal with your problems, your life is worse than you even know. I wouldn’t settle for advice from anyone less than a fullback.
“Obviously, I’m disappointed that I let the fans, my teammates and the whole organization down,’’ Parkey said. “But I’ll continue to keep my head held high because football is what I do, it’s not who I am.’’
We all know that there’s flesh and blood behind that missed kick. We all understand that Parkey is human and that these things happen. But the football-doesn’t-define-me speech? Too soon.
Saying sorry once was enough. His apology was widely disseminated after the game. What’s the point of doubling down on the downer of the double-doink?
“I feel worse than anybody about missing that kick because I wanted to make it more than anybody, but at the end of the day, I’m just going to hold my head high,” he said. “When things aren’t going my way, I’m just going to continue to keep positive and keep swinging.’’
“You’re the classiest of class acts,’’ co-host Savannah Guthrie said to Parkey. “You went in the locker room, and you answered every question from reporters.’’
Friday’s interview looked like an attempt by Parkey to gain sympathy. There’s a chance it wasn’t. Many of his teammates speak highly of him and his character. But celebrities have so bombarded us with their redemption tours over the years that our skepticism levels are off the charts.
Chicago still hasn’t had enough time to process what happened against the Eagles, and this guy’s already sharing his coping skills with the rest of the country? That’s not how it’s done here. Maybe somewhere else, but not here.
And as for his kicking career, same thing: Maybe somewhere else, but not here.