For all the grief Chicago Bears kicker Cody Parkey received for missing what would have been a winning 43-yard field goal in the playoffs last week, many others in the Windy City might express some sympathy after knowing what it feels like.
Among the 101 contestants who tried the kick from the same yardage in tough, wintery conditions in Chicago on Saturday, not one put it through the uprights in what was called the Cody Parkey challenge. And none faced a rush trying to block their attempts — Eagles defensive tackle Treyvon Hester nicked Parkey’s kick last week.
Chicago brewery Goose Island Beer Co. put on the contest outside its taproom at 1800 W. Fulton St. less than a week after the Bears lost to the Philadelphia Eagles 16-15 in the NFL wild-card game last Sunday.
“It became much bigger than we ever thought it would,” said Zac Connelly, an employee who came up with the idea. “The last couple days have been crazy.”
Patrons 21 or older were given one chance to kick a 43-yard field goal. A successful kick would have led to a shot to be the grand-prize winner by hitting a 65-yard field goal, thereby breaking the NFL record set by Matt Prater, who made a 64-yarder for the Denver Broncos on Dec. 8, 2013.
Two first-place finishers also would have received two tickets to any 2019 regular-season game of their choosing, plus round-trip airfare and hotel accommodations for two consecutive nights.
The incredible response forced the brewery initially to limit the number of entrants, then the policy was changed when only 101 decided to compete in the snowy, cold, windy weather.
Kicking contestant Phil Cozzi of Elmhurst, Ill., said, “It’s way different, everyone’s slipping all over the place.”
He was comforted by the fact that the only Eagles fan wiped out during his attempt.
“OK, good,” Cozzi said.
Without a grand prize to award, the brewery is donating $20,000 to the Lurie Children’s Hospital, the charity chosen by Parkey.
—Field Level Media