NFL Playoffs: Billy Cundiff Missed FG Sends New England Patriots to Superbowl

Steven BaldassariContributor IIIJanuary 22, 2012

Thirty-Two teams, one common goal: the Super Bowl. This is what it is all about! Only one team can be crowned champion and by nights end, only two teams will remain. 

It has been well documented that Tim Tebow seems to be God's "Man of the Year" as that title pertains to the National Football League. And rightfully so. One miraculous comeback after another seemed to prove that the Bible is right in Romans 31 where it says: "What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?"

After beating Tebow and the Denver Broncos last weekend, the Patriots seemed to steal the God factor away from Tebow and in a big way. The Patriots defeated the mile-high riding Broncos 45 - 10 to move on to the AFC Championship. They had earned the right to play the defensive aggressor Baltimore Ravens.

If Tebow is that one player under God, indivisible, pursuing championships and justice for all, then the Patriots most certainly are the one team blessed by and under God pursuing the same. The red, white and blue jerseys of New England and the organization behind them have been smiled upon by God for the last decade more than any other NFL franchise. During that time, they have been the Winningest franchise in the NFL.

The Patriots and their fans have watched miracle after miracle occur just as Tebow and the Broncos saw this year. Just when it looked like all was lost, we saw the Brady tuck rule come into play. Also, in the past when the game was on the line an "angel" by the name of Adam Vinatieri descended from heaven and guided the Patriots to stardom. Great play from the various squads over the years has also contributed to the recent success of the Patriots.

Whether the Patriots really did take Tebow's blessings with them as they advanced to the AFC Championship or not is debatable. However, there is one thing that is not questionable and that is that the Patriots have proven themselves year in and year out to be one of the elite teams in the NFL. However, with a defense like Baltimore has and well, with a defense like New England doesn't have, it seemed as though the Patriots would need all the help they could get to advance to the Superbowl and beat the Ravens.




With less than one minute remaining in the AFC Championship, the Patriots found themselves on top of the Ravens 23- 20 in a nail-biter. Baltimore, in the process of marching down the field having just picked up a big gain on a Joe Flacco completion to Anquan Boldin, seemed to be in a position to strike and take the lead. A big third down stand by the Patriots defense forced fourth down. In comes Billy Cundiff.

Known over his lengthy career as a mostly reliable kicker, Cundiff would finally have a chance to prove his worth and take his star to the next level of shine. This was his opportunity to cement himself in the minds and memories of all football fans everywhere for years to come.

Less than one minute remained in the crucial and decisive AFC Championship match-up between the New England Patriots and the Baltimore Ravens. Fourth down...the chance to tie the game and send the Ravens into overtime to continue a grueling battle in the trenches of Gillette Stadium was in reach. The snap is a good one, the ball is down, the kick is up and OHHH...Wide left! Wide left! The game is over! The game is over! Cundiff misses the field goal! Cundiff misses the field goal and the Patriots are AFC Champions once again.

One can't help but to wonder if Cundiff's missed field goal will generate as much hate mail as Bill Buckner received after his epic error as a member of the Boston Red Sox versus. the New York Mets in the 1986 World Series.

For his and his families sake I certainly hope not but 32 yards come on Billy boy! Your teammates were relying on you. Baltimore was relying on you. All of Maryland was relying on you. Ravens fans: "We were flying so high and you snipped our wings from us and brought us to a screeching crash." How could you?

Any time you get the opportunity to play in a big game it is a blessing, but we are not just talking about any big game here. No, We are taking about the Super Bowl! The Super Bowl Bill and now all is lost.

Unless you are a Patriots fan of course. As Vince Wilfork put it during his post game interview, "Every yard was tough to come by, every player played and left all of their hearts on the field." Vince Wilfork, a little bigger than most players, had that much extra to leave on the field.

He did just that having a stellar game and leading the Patriots and their storied Quarterback Tom Brady back to the Super Bowl after an exciting victory over the feisty Baltimore Ravens.