The following is a transcript of Baltimore Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff’s interview with the media. Cundiff missed a 32-yard field goal with 15 seconds left that could have tied the game for the Ravens.
What happened with the kick?
Billy Cundiff: I think we can just keep things simple. It?s a kick I?ve kicked a thousand times in my career. I just went out there and didn?t convert. That?s the way things go. There?s really no excuse for it.
Was there any reason not to kick to the 50-yarder before?
BC: You have to look at it as a statistical decision and take the emotion out of it. If you look at my stats this year at 50-plus, I didn?t really give coach a lot of confidence that I?d make that play. Because he?s going to look at his sheet and say, ?What are the percentages and how are they going to work in our favor?? This year, I wasn?t as successful as I?d like to be in that range, so I probably made the decision for him pretty easy.
Any of your teammates come and say anything to you after?
BC: There was a lot of encouragement. I feel like this team is a team that ? when you first arrive, it?s a tough group to get into because obviously you have to earn respect. And to earn respect on this team, you play well. I felt like up to this point, I really have given these guys a lot of reason to believe in me and that things would come through. So, I think if anything, the disappointment is letting my teammates down. This is a team game. You know that Ray [Lewis] has poured his heart out, and he?s had a long career, and you don?t know how many years he has left, and to let him down is pretty tough.
When a game ends like that, do you take it personally?
BC: When you?re at this level, and if you?re going to be a professional and it?s your job, I think you have to take it personally. I get paid to make field goals. We?ll move on from this. It?s one of those things that will strengthen me in the end. Throughout my career, I?ve had challenging situations and I?m still standing here today, so it?s something that will be tough for a little while. But, I?ve got two kids; there are some lessons I need to teach them. First and foremost is to stand up and face the music and move on.
Have you been in this position before?
BC: I?ve never been in an AFC Championship game, but if you look throughout this game I think someone would tell me this is the first kick I?ve missed in the fourth quarter all year. It?s something I take a lot of pride in, regardless of what happens early in the game, I feel like my teammates can look at me and know they can trust me. So, it?s tough not to convert, but as you heard Joe [Flacco] say, someone?s got to lose this game and most football players would tell you, this is a team sport and you generally you don?t lose a game off of one play. There are a lot of things happening throughout the course of the game; you?ve just got to take it for what it is.
Did John Harbaugh say anything to you?
BC: I really respect this organization because of how they operate. Coach Harbaugh believes in me, he knows that I?ll make it, that?s exactly what he told me. He said ?You?ll be fine. You have broad shoulders. You?ll be able to move on from this.? For me, this means there will be a lot more fuel for the fire.
I imagine this is a situation you think about all of your life, how much pressure did you feel as you jog on the field with 15 seconds left?
BC: To be honest with you, I was just really focused on what was going on. I didn?t really think about any ramifications of the kick. Just like we had that turnover and we were up by one, and we needed the field goal to make sure they needed to score a touchdown instead of the field goal. You just don?t think about ?We need this kick.? Those aren?t thoughts coming to your head. For me, I just went out there, the timing seemed a little bit off, and I just didn?t convert. It?s just that simple. It?s a 32-yard field goal, something that, over the course of training camp and the regular season, I probably make a couple thousand of those.
Did you say anything to Ray Lewis or your teammates afterward?
BC: No, I haven?t. To be honest with you, I don?t think they want to hear an apology. They laid it all out there [and] I laid all out there; sometimes it?s just not good enough. When you play long enough, you?re going to have games where things just don?t go your way. And that?s the reason you play this game. You want to lay it all out there ? and you don?t get this kind of adrenaline rush sitting behind a desk ? with this kind of pressure. It?s what comes with the territory.