Cody Parkey is back in the NFL, eight months after the double-doink heard ’round the world.
The Titans, who cut kicker Cairo Santos on Monday after he missed four field goals in Tennessee’s 14-7 loss to Buffalo, announced that they have signed the maligned ex-Bears kicker. Parkey has been out of the NFL since he was released from the Bears in March of this year.
Why should you care about just another kicker signing? Because this one is about redemption, with Parkey now starting fresh in the NFL kicker life cycle. The predictable career pattern for kickers goes something like this: Kicker finds success and earns a new contract. Then the kicker has a few misses and then a game-defining miss, followed by a very public shaming. Then the kicker get cut by team and joins the pool of familiar NFL kickers who rotate amongst teams as others get injured or cut for bad games. (See: Santos, Mike Nugent, Chandler Catanzaro, etc.)
Parkey has now completed the rinse cycle, and come out the other side with a new job. Sure, it’s probably only temporary—incumbent kicker Ryan Succop will be eligible to come of the injured reserve in the ninth game of the team—but Parkey now has a chance to reset his reputation by making his kicks in real games.
Chicago signed Parkey to a four-year deal in March 2018 after he had a successful ’17 season with the Dolphins, but he struggled during the season. He was 23-of-30 on field-goal attempts in the regular season, and he missed three extra point attempts. In one game against the Lions, he hit the uprights four times, missing two field goals and two extra points—a foreshadowing of what was to come in the Bears wild-card playoff game.
In that game against the Eagles, Parkey lined up with a last-second chance to win and move on to the divisional round, but Parkey’s 43-yard attempt hit the upright and the crossbar before bouncing out. No good. And for Bears fans out there, here’s another reminder for Parkey’s kick was in fact tipped by an Eagles defensive lineman.
Parkey handled the postgame media with grace, but then incited vitriol when he appeared on the Today Show five days after the game. The Today Show ran a banner during his five-minute interview that read, “Cody Parkey Speaks Out.”
The kicker’s own public shaming was one of the more extreme examples because of the money the Bears spent on him to be their long-term kicker—the team is paying more to have him off the roster ($3.5 million) than if he had played for them this year.
For most kickers, the public shaming would fade out after a few weeks. But that wasn’t the case for Parkey, who became the subject of the Bears unconventional search for a new kicker. Bears head coach Matt Nagy had players re-watch the missed field goal several times, and had prospective kickers attempt a 43-yarder, which kickers referred to as, “The Parkey Spot.” Though Parkey scored nine of the Bears 15 points that playoff game, he became the scapegoat for the disappointing end to the 2018 season.
When then-Bears kicker Elliott Fry made an attempt from The Parkey Spot in the preseason, he said after the game, “Obviously that number has been ingrained into my memory.”
Though Parkey’s opportunity with the Titans is likely short-lived, it’s important for him, as he deserves the chance to reset his career and move past the Double Doink.
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