Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Infamous Missed Field Goals NFL History

Rob Joyce
January 09, 2019 - 12:19 pm

The life of a kicker is a brittle one. A kicker and punter aren’t prototypical NFL athletes – they can’t run nearly as fast, jump nearly as high and generally aren’t on the same level of strength – but more times than not a game will come down to their foot. And in those scenarios there are two options: hero or goat, with no in between.

Alas Cody Parkey was the latter in Sunday’s NFC Wild Card Round against the Eagles. Trailing 16-15 with seconds left, the Bears’ kicker saw his 43-yard field goal tipped at the line, causing the ball to hit the left upright, then the crossbar, before bouncing back into the end zone.

It ended Chicago’s season in heartbreak, and it will certainly join this list of the most painful missed field goals in NFL history.

6) John Carney:

Carney spent over two decades in the NFL – even for a kicker, that’s not easy to do. In his time with the Saints he kicked some memorable field goals, including a game-winner against the Panthers in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. However, one extra point proved costly for New Orleans in 2003, who entered a Week 16 game against Jacksonville needing to win out to make the playoffs.

Trailing 20-13 with seven seconds left against the Jaguars and needing to go 75 yards, the Saints pulled off a four-lateral miracle called the “River City Relay” as time expired. An extra point would have forced overtime and kept the Saints’ playoff hopes alive… but Carney pushed it to the right. The bright side? Even if New Orleans had won, they wouldn’t have made the playoffs anyways.


5) Tony Romo:

Thus began the tortured postseason career of Tony Romo. In the regular season he came off the bench for an injured Drew Bledsoe and led Dallas to the playoffs in 2006, where they faced Seattle. Down 21-20 with 1:19 left, the Cowboys lined up for a 19-yard field goal, with Romo (the usual holder) setting up for the glorified extra point. He fumbled the snap, tried to run it into the end zone himself, got tackled and the Seahawks won.

4) Mike Vanderjagt:

The most accurate kicker in NFL history when he retired, Vanderjagt might be most remembered by Colts fans for his miss in the 2005 Divisional Round. The top-seed in the AFC after a 14-2 regular season, Indy trailed the sixth-seeded Steelers 21-18 late in the fourth quarter at home. Needing a 46-yard field goal to tie, Vanderjagt missed horribly to the right in a domed setting, Pittsburgh advanced, ultimately winning the Super Bowl.

3) Blair Walsh:

On a bitterly cold day in Minnesota in the 2016 NFC Wild Card game Seattle led Minnesota 10-9 on the final minute. The Vikings were driving and, after having Walsh score their first nine points of the day, needed him to convert a 27-yard field goal for the win. Instead, he hooked it left and the Seahawks moved on.


2) Gary Anderson:

A member of both the 1980s and 1990s All-Decade Teams, Anderson’s 1998 regular season with the Vikings was historic: he became the first kicker in NFL history to not miss once. His 35-for-35 performance over those 16 games, though, only made the NFC Championship Game that much harder to swallow. After going 15-1 in the regular season and setting the league record for points scored, Minnesota led Atlanta 27-20 when Anderson missed a 39-yard try.

Instead of being down 10 with 2:11 left, the Falcons were given new life. They marched down the field, scored the tying touchdown to force overtime, kicked a field goal in the extra session and went on to the Super Bowl.

1) Scott Norwood:

All of the kicks above came in the postseason (or, in Carney’s case, would have clinched a postseason spot), but none of them cost a team a Super Bowl. Poor Scott Norwood, who could have been one of the biggest sports heroes in Buffalo history. Instead, he had “The Miss”. The Giants led Super Bowl XXV 20-19 with nine second left when the Bills lined up for a 47-yard field goal. It went wide right, giving New York its second Lombardi Trophy. Thus began a stretch of four Super Bowl losses in four years for the Bills.