Five days after missing a field goal that would have pushed the Bears into the second round of the NFC playoffs, Bears kicker Cody Parkey made an appearance on NBC's "Today." In a five-minute interview Friday morning with hosts Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Craig Melvin, Parkey discussed his failed 43-yard kick, the support he received from teammates afterward and his approach to processing the disappointment.
"I'll continue to keep my head held high," Parkey said. "Because football is what I do. It's not who I am."
Predictably, Parkey's appearance became a lightning rod for those who saw the veteran kicker as a noble pro owning up to his error and those wondering just what exactly he was trying to accomplish by reliving the "Double Doink" in the national spotlight.
Bears writers Dan Wiederer and Rich Campbell have plenty to say on the appearance in an emergency session of "Real Talk."
-- Wiederer: Forgive me, Rich, if I seem a bit out of sorts. My scalp is a wee bit raw from scratching it so hard this morning. I still have no idea what Parkey was trying to accomplish with that. If it was a play for sympathy from suburban moms nationwide, then perhaps he hit the bull's-eye. Otherwise? Whoa.
As I said on Twitter even before the interview started, the whole idea of making a morning-show appearance so soon after such a devastating loss felt incredibly tone-deaf to me. We're not even a week removed from the Bears' 16-15 loss to the Eagles that abruptly demolished their legitimate Super Bowl hopes. That's far, far, far too early to be taking a "handling failure well" victory lap.
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How about just handling failure well?
-- Campbell: Your scalp is raw, and I have whiplash from shaking my head. Each second of Parkey's appearance was more unbelievable and astonishing than the last.
Let's make one thing very clear: The Bears did nothing to facilitate this national TV appearance. This was an independent look-at-me move arranged by Parkey and his representatives. Parkey was not alone in losing Sunday's game. But the other 42 players who played in that mega-failure seem to have a much better clue about the deference and humility appropriate following such a colossal disappointment.
Now let's make a second point clear: Sorry, Savannah, you weren't in that postgame locker room like we were. Parkey did not answer every question. He sat slumped at his locker and was more than happy to get out of Dodge when a team PR representative cut off his interview as reporters were shouting more questions.