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Pat McAfee Says He Had Suicidal Thoughts After Missing FGs in 2007 Backyard Brawl

Adam WellsSeptember 1, 2022

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Former NFL punter Pat McAfee, who has carved out a niche for himself as a star in the podcasting world and in professional wrestling as a WWE announcer, recently discussed the aftermath of West Virginia's loss to Pittsburgh in the 2007 Backyard Brawl.

In an interview with Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated, McAfee talked about having suicidal thoughts after missing two field goals for WVU in a 13-9 loss to Pitt in the final regular-season game of the 2007 season.

"I didn’t know if I wanted to live anymore," McAfee said. "My life changed immediately that day. It was a terrible f------ night, to be honest with you. It was like something out of a movie. I just drove. I got all the way to Virginia through Maryland. I was gone for a couple days. I drove, parked, slept and kept driving. I didn’t know where I was. I didn’t know where I was headed. I didn’t know what was coming next."

McAfee also noted angry fans vandalized his car, destroyed his yard and made death threats against him.

The Mountaineers entered the Backyard Brawl with a 10-1 record, ranked No. 2 in the BCS standings and likely would have played for the national title with a win over their rival. They scored at least 28 points in each of their 10 victories up to that point.

Pitt was 4-7 and coming off back-to-back losses to Rutgers and South Florida.

McAfee missed two field-goal attempts from 20 and 32 yards in the first half. He did make his only extra-point attempt after backup quarterback Jarrett Brown's six-yard touchdown run gave West Virginia a 7-0 lead late in the second quarter.

Pittsburgh got 13 points in the second half to earn a 13-9 upset win. The Mountaineers fell to ninth in the final BCS standings, but they were able to salvage the season with an impressive 48-28 victory over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.

McAfee finished his career at West Virginia in 2008, was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in 2009 and had a successful eight-year NFL career as a punter. He was named to the Pro Bowl twice and All-Pro first team in 2014.

The Backyard Brawl is being revived this year for the first time since 2011. The Panthers will host West Virginia at Acrisure Stadium on Thursday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.

If you or someone you know is in immediate crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 for 24/7 access to a trained counselor. You can also contact the Crisis Text Line by texting "HOME" to 741741. For more information about ongoing support and mental health resources, contact the HelpLine at the National Alliance on Mental Illness by calling 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or emailing info@nami.org.

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