When Chicago-based Goose Island brewery put out a call to fans to try to make a 43-yard field goal -- the same excruciating distance that when missed last Sunday put an untimely end to the Bears season -- they weren’t sure how many would be up for the challenge.
As it turns out, a lot.
“It became much bigger than we ever thought it would,” said Zac 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 sending shirtless videos of made field goals.
So crazy that Goose Island is limiting the number of entries to 100. So crazy that Goose Island decided not to limit the number of winners.
“If 100 people kick and 100 people nail 43-yard field goals, there will be 100 winners,” Connelly said. “It’s not limited to one.”
Anyone who makes a 43-yard field goal Saturday wins an all-expense paid trip to any NFL game next year. If they make that kick and a 65-yard kick, they will win an all-expense paid trip to the Super Bowl. The brewery had initially offered free beer for a year but changed the prize because of Illinois liquor laws.
And participants don’t even have to face an opposing defense.
“The kick was tipped,” Connelly added, for good measure.
Goose Island did reach out to Bears kicker Cody Parkey, who missed the field goal last Sunday, to gauge his interest in coming to the event. He won’t be there but the brewery will make a donation to a charity in his name.
“Being a Chicago brewery, being Chicagoans, you have to stick up for your hometown,” Connelly said. "But you also have to be able to call people out. There are a lot of people out there with some, I think, misplaced emotions as far as he goes because the kick was tipped. Had that one finger not tipped that ball, that was definitely going in."