CHICAGO — How many would-be Cody Parkeys does it take to make a 43-yard field goal?
As it turns out, a lot.
Out of 100 entrants who came and tried their luck at the same kick that brought the Chicago Bears‘ season to an untimely end last Sunday, exactly zero were able to get the job done — in conditions that were, well, sub-optimal. Thirty degrees and wind and snow.
“In the snow? Yeah, it’s way different, everyone’s slipping all over the place,” said kicker Phil Cozzi of Elmhurst, Illinois. When informed that the lone Philadelphia Eagles fan contestant wiped out, “OK good,” Cozzi said.
Goose Island Brewery’s Fulton Street location put out the call to fans the day after the Eagles-Bears game — and the response to the #fieldgoalchallenge was overwhelming.
“It became much bigger than we ever thought it would,” said Zach Connelly, a Goose Island employee who came up with the concept. “The last couple days have been crazy.”
So crazy that the brewery asked fans to stop DM’ing shirtless videos of made field goals.
So crazy that Goose Island limited the number of entries to 100, which were completely filled 2½ hours before the event. So crazy that Goose Island decided NOT to limit the number of winners. Not that that was a problem Saturday.
In lieu of any prizes being won (which would have been an all-expense paid trip to any NFL game next season), the brewery is donating $20,000 to the charity of Parkey’s choosing — the Lurie Children’s Hospital.
“I would say that Chicago Bears fans were in need of therapy and we held a successful session. There are a lot of smiles around the streets right now,” said Todd Ahsmann, president of Goose Island Brewery. “It was really cool to see Chicagoans just being lighthearted about everything.”
“We may have had a month of depression if it wasn’t for this event.”
To be sure, one of the most devastating playoff losses in recent Chicago sports memory was still fresh in the minds of the participants — but frustration had shifted, in the minds of some, to sympathy.
“It’s his job to make that kick, it’s a real bummer that he didn’t,” said Zach Laszkiewicz, from Westchester, Illinois. “But I think we let him work out his kinks in the off season and bring him back for a little bit of redemption next year. Maybe me and him get together.”
For good measure, Goose Island’s Connelly had the last word on Parkey: “The kick was tipped.”