Former Sun Devil, current 49er Kyle Williams gives lesson on facing adversity
Browsing the internet Monday I came across a photo of Kyle Williams that was snapped shortly after his fumble in overtime that led to the 49ers losing to the Giants and missing out on a chance at the Super Bowl.
Standing on the field, Williams' hands were on the back of his helmet, with the player looking down. I knew I had seen that pose before and, as a Wildcats fan with a dislike for the 49ers, couldn't resist putting this together.
As a friend later told me, "You sir are off of Kenny Williams Sr.'s Christmas card list."
But you know what? While I was admittedly poking fun at a rival's misfortune, I came to realize something that is just a little more important than what transpired on the football field:
Kyle Williams is a standup guy.
Though he is not the 49ers' starting punt returner, Williams was the guy Sunday. And while his team's offense was horrific and didn't exactly help themselves in the game, the team's defense was great, forcing the Giants to punt a ridiculous 12 times.
Twelve times Williams was back to receive a punt, and 10 times he did so without incident. But it's the other two he'll be remembered for because he messed up. In fact, if there was ever a time when you could reasonably say a single player lost his team the game, this is it.
And yet there Williams was answering questions, owning up to what happened on the field just hours before.
Just hours before that, even, the Ravens' Billy Cundiff was doing the same after badly missing a short field goal that would have sent the AFC Championship into overtime.
"Throughout my career, I've had challenging situations and I'm still standing here today,"Cundiff said. "It's something that is going to be tough for a while, but I've got two kids and there are some lessons I need to teach them.
"First and foremost is to stand up and face the music and move on."
Cundiff and Williams will do just that - they almost have to. There is no doubt that each player is his harshest critic right now, because even while their teammates have supported them there is zero chance they don't feel like they let everyone down.
Which they did.
But as Christopher Nolan's Batman franchise has so eloquently explained, these things happen.
"Why do we fall sir," Alfred asked Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins. "So we might learn to pick ourselves up."
Then, in The Dark Knight, Harvey Dent proclaimed "The night is darkest just before the dawn. And I promise you, the dawn is coming."
Where the respective careers of both Williams and Cundiff will go from here is anyone's guess. A kicker, Cundiff is unfamiliar with the term "job security" and could be out of a job soon.
Williams, though, should be fine. At just 23, chances are good this won't be the last we hear from the former Sun Devil - even if things don't go so well.