Billy Cundiff: Baltimore Ravens' Kicker Still Endures Malice from Fans
Remember the 1994 slapstick comedy Ace Ventura Pet Detective?
For those who have never seen this iconic box-office hit, Jim Carrey plays Ace Ventura, an unorthodox, off-the-wall genius savior of all non-humans in danger.
As the story goes, Ventura received a phone call about the Miami Dolphins beloved mascot (Snowflake), who had mysteriously gone missing from its pool.
While on the case to find Snowflake, Ventura met Lois Einhorn, a female detective who did everything in her power to prevent Ventura from discovering the truth about the missing dolphin.
This was because Einhorn was really a man named Ray Finkle.
In the movie, Finkle was the Dolphins' kicker who missed a chip-shot, game-winning field goal in the 1982 Super Bowl. (For the record, the 1982 Super Bowl was actually played between the San Francisco 49ers and the Cincinnati Bengals).
Finkle ended up being so chastised for missing the field goal, he ended up being admitted to a mental institution, only to escape (and become Lois Einhorn).
To exact his revenge, Einhorn stole Snowflake just before the Dolphins were to play the biggest game of their season.
That said, flash forward to January 22, 2012, nearly 20 years after Ventura rescued Snowflake (oops, gave the ending away).
Unlike Finkle, who adamantly argued he missed his field goal because the laces were in, Cundiff made no excuse for his miss.
He took accountability for his actions before dragging his failed right leg and his broken heart from Gillette Stadium.
NFL.com summarized Cundiff's failure well.
The gaffe was out of character for Cundiff, who was 9 of 9 on field-goal tries inside the 20-yard line and 10 of 12 inside the 30 this season. It was the first kick Cundiff missed in the fourth quarter all season.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said it best after the loss.
I just told [Cundiff] it's going to be OK....Everybody has a bad day. ... Billy's going to be fine.
Since that unfortunate day for the Ravens, Cundiff has carried himself well.
Unlike Finkle, Cundiff did not change sexes. Nor was he admitted to a mental institution.
This summer, Cundiff reported to camp on time, in shape and made all of his field goals. This in the face of stiff competition from stud rookie Justin Tucker.
But thanks to social media, Cundiff is still the subject of rampant (and ridiculous) threats that began the day he missed that now-infamous field goal in New England. He gets these threats on both his official and fan-made social media sites.
While I will not post these threats here, it makes me wonder what toxicity Scott Norwood would have faced in his day (if there were social media) after the infamous Buffalo Bills kicker missed critical field goals.
And God forbid if Bill Buckner had Facebook after he booted the ball in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.
But back to Cundiff. Despite not playing in the Ravens' 48-17 win over Jacksonville Thursday, the kicker nonetheless remained resolute (in spite of the fact that Tucker has what Cundiff does not: a long-range foot).
"If they feel as if that's not good enough," Cundiff told CBSsports.com, referring to his career numbers. "Then I'll take my services elsewhere."
Well said. If the Ravens do cut ties with Cundiff, it is probable another NFL team will use his services.
I just hope he does not sign with the Dolphins.
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