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On This Date in History: Billy Cundiff’s Missed FG Sends the Patriots to the ‘Ship

In the whole pantheon of great Patriots moments of the 21st century, this one ranks right up there. It’s certainly near the top of the moments from non-championship seasons. This was from the 2011 defense that could never make a stop when it mattered most. They were barely able to keep Baltimore out of the Endzone on their final possession. When it came time to kick a field goal that would send the game to overtime, Billy Cundiff had to race onto the field at the last second and shanked it into the woods to send the Pats to Super Bowl 46. I remember writing a Knee Jerk the next day saying that it felt like the part in “Pulp Fiction” where the kid comes out of the back room firing a hand cannon and Jules and Vincent stand there for a second checking themselves for bullet holes before they realize they’re OK.

A couple of things came out in the days that followed. One, that Cundiff had to race onto the field because he was 60 yards away practicing with the kicking net instead of standing at the ready. Two, the John Harbaugh claimed that on the fact that the scoreboard indicated it was third down, some thing he blamed on New England. Even though the NFL operates the scoreboard. And there was a man standing right in front of him with a bright orange “4” on the top of a tall pole. And that being a football coach at times requires you to be able to count to four. And that he had a time out 30 inexplicably failed to use.

Regardless, it was an unforgettable moment. And one of the great playoff games against the Patriots most worthy rival of the Super Bowl era. Cundiff is Einhorn. Einhorn is Cundiff.