January 23, 2012

Two Games, Two Goats

By - Kris Fletcher

Championship games are usually defined by heroic play. That wasn't the case in Sunday's victories by the New England Patriots and New York Giants though.

Sure, there were standout performances on both winning sides, but what will probably be most remembered from conference championship weekend are the two goats on the losing teams.

For the Baltimore Ravens, it was veteran placekicker Billy Cundiff, who missed a chip-shot 32-yard field goal with 11 seconds remaining that would have sent the game into overtime.

Photo by: Getty Images
For the San Francisco 49ers, it was punt returner Kyle Williams, who muffed a punt in the fourth-quarter leading to a Giants touchdown, and who later fumbled in overtime which led to the game-winning field goal by Lawrence Tynes.

It didn't take long for other players from around the league to start poking fun at Sunday's unfortunate twosome. For example, Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy Tweeted: "I think it's safe to say that Kyle Williams and Billy Cundiff will be taking their talents to the unemployment line."

For me, it's hard to watch when athletes fail on the grandest of stages with so much at stake. Guys at the professional level work their entire lives to get to that one moment, that one shot at glory.

But, when there are champions, there also have to be failures.

So is the case with Cundiff and Williams, who may never live down the magnitude of their monumental mishaps. Personal embarrassment aside, they must now deal with the onslaught of hate and criticism they will receive from the loyal fan bases of Baltimore and San Francisco, who watched their Super Bowl dreams fall by the wayside.

However, it's unfair to blame either loss on these two players. For Cundiff, he would have never been in that position in the first place had Lee Evans two plays prior just secured the catch that would have been the game-winning touchdown. And for Williams, the 49ers offense had plenty of chances late in the fourth quarter and overtime to drive down the field and win the game, yet they failed to do so over and over again.

Photo by: Getty Images
Still, there's likely nothing that can be said that can console either guy at this point, which is definitely the flip-side of the old adage, "the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat."

Personally, I hope they both bounce back from this, simply because one mistake should never define who a person is.

Oh, one more thing. Hey LeSean McCoy, remind me, how did your underachieving, overpaid team do this year again?

Yeah. Exactly.

Tweet that.


  1. I thought both games were good, I just didn't like the way either ended. I feel sorry for Williams and Cundiff. Real tough way for their seasons to end.

  2. Williams was getting death threats on Twitter following the game. Fans take this stuff way too seriously. Losing isn't the end of the world for God sakes. Nice post.

  3. Williams was a way bigger goat than Cundiff. He screwed up twice, and both his screws ups cost the 49ers points. I don't even blame Cundif for missing that kick, I blame Harbaugh and the Ravens coaching staff for being so slow on getting the field goal unit out there in the first place. They had a timeout. They could have used it and set it up with no rush. Instead they run Cundiff out there and hurry him when there was no reason to do so. I know they have to do that kind of thing at the end of a game when they don't have timeouts, so they had practiced it before I'm sure, but there was still no reason to do it that way when it didn't have to be done. He ran onto the field and kicked it all in the span of about 8 seconds. That's what caused him to push it left. Being rushed.

  4. I feel for both guys. Those kind of mistakes usually follow players around the rest of their lives. They both stood up and took it like men afterwards though, which I really respect.

    1. Yeah, they both owned up to it rather than shying away from it. Pretty big on their parts.

  5. Both games were real good, but its a shame they ended the way they did. Patriots and Giants both basically backed in to the Super Bowl.