Billy Cundiff and the 5 Most Painful Missed Field Goals in NFL Playoff History

Aidan MackieSenior Analyst IJanuary 22, 2012

Billy Cundiff and the 5 Most Painful Missed Field Goals in NFL Playoff History

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    The Ravens' season ended today in one of the most heartbreaking ways imaginable.

    After putting together a terrific drive in the final seconds, the team sent out kicker Billy Cundiff to tie the game up and send it to overtime.

    However, the former Pro Bowler botched the crucial kick, pulling it well left and ending Baltimore's once-promising season.

    The Ravens are not the only team to lose in such unfortunate circumstances, though, as five other teams' seasons ended dramatically with key missed field goals. 

5. Nate Kaeding in 2010 AFC Divisional Playoffs

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    Chargers kicker Nate Kaeding is the most accurate kicker in NFL history, as he holds a record 86.5 field goal percentage.

    However, in a key Divisional Round game against the Jets in 2010, Kaeding could not hit water if he fell out of a boat.

    The former Pro Bowler missed three key field goals on the day, including a crucial 40-yarder in the closing minutes of the forth quarter.

    The weather was beautiful in San Diego that day, so Kaeding had no excuse for his struggles.

    The Chargers ended up falling to the Jets, 17-14, making Kaeding's missed kicks even more significant. 

    Make no mistake. Nate Kaeding ended the Chargers' terrific 2009 season with a horrific game at the worst possible time. 

4. Gary Anderson in 1999 NFC Championship

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    Gary Anderson is one of the greatest kickers in NFL history, as he played 23 years in the league, appeared in four Pro Bowls and made over 80 percent of his field goal attempts.

    Anderson was key to a Vikings NFC Championship berth in 1999, as he made all of his 35 attempts throughout the regular season.

    However, on the grandest stage of them all, the star kicker choked.

    With his team leading 27-20 with just over two minutes remaining, Anderson had a chance to put the game away and send the Vikings to the Super Bowl with a 38-yard field goal.

    Anderson botched the kick, though, and gave the Falcons the ball back with just a few minutes remaining.

    Atlanta then drove down the field for a game-tying touchdown in the final seconds and later won on a field goal in overtime.

    The crushing missed field goal still haunts Vikings fans, as the team is still yet to capture a Lombardi Trophy. 

3. Doug Brien in 2005 AFC Divisional Playoffs

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    Jets fans are still hating on Doug Brien today after his colossal collapse in the 2005 playoffs.

    The kicker missed two potential game-winning field goals with under two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, one from 47 yards and the other from 43 yards.

    Brien's misses kept the game alive, and the Steelers ended up taking it 20-17 in overtime. 

    New York were heavy underdogs in the contest, so it took an unbelievable effort to even compete with the 15-1 Steelers.

    This made the heartbreaking loss even more brutal. 

2. Billy Cundiff in the 2012 AFC Championship

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    The Ravens season was brought to a heartbreaking ending today, as kicker Billy Cundiff choked at the worst possible time.

    Baltimore managed to compete with the high-powered Patriots all game, and they set up a 32-yard field goal to send the game to overtime in the final moments.

    Unfortunately, Cundiff shanked it right and cost the Ravens a chance at a Super Bowl berth.

    Cundiff is highly regarded as one of the most accurate short-distance kickers in the NFL, and he appeared in the Pro Bowl just a year ago. 

    This missed opportunity adds another chapter in the painful playoff losses in the Joe Flacco era. 

Scott Norwood in Super Bowl XXV

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    The most painful missed field goal in NFL history occurred on the grandest stage of them all.

    With the Bills trailing the Giants 20-19 with a just a few minutes remaining in Super Bowl XXV, star quarterback Jim Kelly led a frantic Buffalo drive downfield.

    The drive set up a 47-yard field goal for kicker Scott Norwood with eight seconds remaining.

    Unfortunately for Bills fans, Norwood pushed the long distance attempt wide right.

    The botched kick is the most infamous moment in a saga of tough losses for the Bills, and it contributed to one of their four consecutive Super Bowl losses in the early 1990's.