I'll always have compassion for kickers who end up missing the big one. Gary Anderson in the 1999 NFC championship game. Stanford kicker Jordan Williamson, just a couple of weeks ago. My heart bled for Nate Kaeding in the 2010 playoffs against the Jets. Scott Norwood, of course, is their patron saint.
Today, my heart goes out to Billy Cundiff. From just 32 yards away, he lined up for a kick that could've sent the AFC championship game into overtime, and he yanked the bejeezus out of it.
And sadness washed over the Ravens.
It's such a thankless job. If Cundiff hits that kick and the Ravens go on to win, he's not eligible to be a hero, because he's still just a kicker. He misses, though, and he's more than eligible for the label of scapegoat, failure, loser ‒ take your pick.
And Cundiff certainly knows what's coming, in terms of vitriol that'll come his way. I can't really blame him for not wanting a camera in his face after the game.
Things are going to be tough for Billy Cundiff for a while.
UPDATE: Yeah, this seems about right.
Other popular content on Yahoo! Sports:
• Clint Dempsey scores first American hat trick in Premier League
• Dr. Saturday: Tough to ignore Joe Paterno's tragic final months
• NBA mascot breaks backboard on dunk, forces game to move
- Sports & Recreation
- Billy Cundiff