Saskatchewan's Paul McCallum has joined Scott Norwood and Bill Buckner on the list of athletes who have paid a nasty price for a costly mistake on the playing field. The Roughriders' kicker missed two field goals, including the potential winner in overtime, in a 27-25 loss to the B.C. Lions in the Canadian Football League West Division final Sunday in Vancouver. Within hours, eggs had been thrown at his home, manure dumped on his lawn and he had been the target of threats. "We're taking it very seriously," Regina police spokeswoman Elizabeth Popowich said. "I think everyone is really dismayed by this sort of event." Popowich said the first call reporting that the kicker's house had been pelted with eggs came in about an hour after the game was over. While McCallum's wife was out cleaning up the mess, a second vehicle used a neighbour's driveway to pull up and dump the manure. Shortly after that, another vehicle passed by and the people inside allegedly uttered "threats against the property of the homeowner," Popowich said. She would not elaborate on the threats. Regina police subsequently charged Mark Conrad Lehmond, 31, with uttering threats. He is scheduled to appear in court Dec. 15. The investigation continues.
McCallum is the latest in a line of athletes to pay the price for a costly error. Norwood missed a 47-yard field goal with seconds remaining that would have given the Buffalo Bills the win over the New York Giants in the National Football League's Super Bowl in 1991. The ball went wide right and Norwood, despite a fine record with the Bills, became a championship goat. McCallum's overtime miss was from just 18 yards out, compounding the disappointment. "I didn't do my job," said McCallum, who crumpled to the turf and lay flat on his back holding his helmet with his hands after missing the kick. "I pulled it. I was trying to hit it straight. I mishit it. I let a lot of people down, especially the guys in this locker room."
After the game, Saskatchewan general manager Roy Shivers came down hard on McCallum. "It's fair to blame [McCallum]" Shivers said, as quoted in the Leader-Post in Regina. "It's a team game, you're supposed to do your job. All I ask is for everybody to do their jobs. He didn't do his job today. There was nothing wrong with the snap, nothing wrong with the hold, I don't want to hear that," Shivers continued. "We had 39 other guys busting their asses off and we get let down."
But head coach Danny Barrett offered support. "Let's make this perfectly clear: It didn't come down to [McCallum] We had more than one opportunity."
Buckner was the Boston Red Sox' first basemen who let a ground ball roll between his legs in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series against the New York Mets. A run scored on the play, the Mets won the game and the Red Sox went on to lose the championship in Game 7.