Marcus Cooper is Lucky Chicago Bears Won

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 24: Vance McDonald
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 24: Vance McDonald /

We saw a lot of positives for the Chicago Bears in Week 3. Their running game finally took off, gaining over 200 yards on the ground. Chicago’s defense was rigid enough to contain the Pittsburgh Steelers’ explosive offense. And, most importantly, the Bears came away with their first win of the 2017 season. However, among all of those good things, it was the bonehead play by Marcus Cooper Sr. that left an unpleasant taste in the mouths of fans, even after a victory.

During the final seconds of the first half, the Steelers were lined up to attempt a 35-yard field goal to cut the Bears’ lead to four points going into halftime. Chicago’s special teams ace Sherrick McManis blocked the attempt, and the ball ricocheted right into the hands of Cooper. There was nothing but green grass between Cooper and the end zone. But, for some reason that’s out of this world, Cooper decided to stop shy of the goal line. Before you know it, Steelers tight end Vance McDonald knocked the ball out of Cooper’s grasp. The ball rolled into the end zone, and was illegally knocked out of the back of the end zone by Steelers punter Jordan Berry.

After a long deliberation, the referees decided that the Bears will have the ball at the Steelers’ one-yard line for one untimed play before halftime. Unfortunately, a false start by left tackle Charles Leno Jr. pushed Chicago back, and they had to settle for a field goal.

Some thought that maybe he was trying to decide what kind of celebration to do before he scored. Well, this is what Cooper told the media after the game: “I thought I was in, but obviously I wasn’t.”

There you have it. Regardless of what was going on through his head, something of this magnitude should never happen—especially from a professional player in the NFL. Luckily, this stupid display didn’t cost the Bears the game. Had Cooper scored the touchdown, an overtime period more than likely wouldn’t have been necessary. Furthermore, momentum would’ve swung greatly in the Bears’ favor going into halftime, while getting the ball to start the third quarter.

In the midst of that embarrassing moment for Cooper, I do commend his teammates and coaches for not showing him up and making a scene in front of the cameras. I’m sure that some sound advice (to put it nicely) was given to him in the locker room though. However, one teammate in particular could relate to what Cooper did.

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In 2013, Danny Trevathan did a similar thing during the opening game of the season while with the Denver Broncos. Trevathan was on his way to scoring a defensive touchdown during a blowout against the Baltimore Ravens, and dropped the ball before crossing the goal line. Ironically, the head coach of this Broncos team was none other than John Fox. Ten years ago, wide receiver DeSean Jackson did the same thing during his rookie year with the Philadelphia Eagles. And who can forget Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Leon Lett getting caught from behind by Buffalo Bills wide receiver Don Beebe in Super Bowl XXVII while holding the ball out before breaking the plane.

Of all of these similar instances, Cooper’s had to be the worst by far. At least in the case of Trevathan and Lett (which I’m not condoning) their team was up by a significant margin. Not only did Cooper commit this act in a close game, but he did it on a team that was 0-2, trying to get a much-needed win.

Some may say that some disciplinary action should take place to give Cooper a clear message that things like this won’t be accepted. I agree. I don’t think that a suspension of any kind should take place—especially with the Bears working a short week with Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers on the horizon. What should suffice is a hefty fine given by the team. All in all, what happened with Cooper is something that you won’t even see in Pop Warner. You shouldn’t see it in high school, or on the collegiate levels, and you definitely shouldn’t see it in the NFL.