From the blog called the Sports Pig: Meet Boise State University kicker Kyle Brotzman. Brotzman single-handedly cost Boise State their chance at a national championship (2010), a BCS Bowl appearance, an undefeated season or even a WAC championship. Brotzman, who had missed just three kicks all season, missed two incredibly short field goals within two minutes. Brotzman’s misses resulted in a 34-31 overtime win for the University of Nevada over the Broncos. BSU was undefeated and ranked #3 in the human polls and fourth by the BCS. A win over nationally-ranked Nevada would have probably vaulted Boise State past TCU and into a major BCS game, like the Rose Bowl. Boise State actually led the game 17-0 and 24-7. However, Nevada stormed back in the second half and tied the game at 31-31 with just nine seconds left. At that point, Boise State quarterback/Heisman Trophy candidate Kellen Moore made what might have been the greatest play of his stellar career. Moore heaved a hail mary pass downfield which was caught by receiver Titus Young. Young not only hauled in the catch, but had the presence of mind to call timeout with just one second left (later changed to two seconds.) Brotzman then trotted on the field for a 26-yard game-winning field goal. Make that a POTENTIAL 26-yard game-winning field goal. Brotzman missed, pushing the kick to the right.
Ordinarily, that alone would have been enough to place Brotzman in the sports Hall of Shame but he wasn’t through for the evening. Brotzman missed another short kick in overtime, this time from just 29 yards. The second miss was too much for Boise State to overcome. Nevada kicker Anthony Martinez kicked a 34-yarder to put BSU into their misery and win the game for the Wolfpack.
From ESPN: It didn’t take long for angry fans to unleash their frustration on Brotzman, who grew up in the Boise area. Within hours, the Ada County Sheriff’s Department got a report about callers leaving obnoxious, harassing telephone messages with a woman thought to be related to Brotzman. Then dozens of Facebook pages emerged, some filled with ugly name-calling, jabs and taunts aimed at Brotzman. Supporters responded just as quickly, starting “Bronco Nation Loves Kyle Brotzman” or “We Still Love Kyle Brotzman” pages and posting hundreds of messages of support for the beleaguered kicker. As of Monday afternoon, more than 21,600 people had clicked on the Like button for those pages.
At the time, I was a superfan of Boise State, their coach Chris Peterson (now putting the U. Wa. Huskies back in championship contention) and their small but precocious quarterback, Kellen Moore (college record: 50 wins, 3 losses by a total of 7 points), and a super UNFAN of social media, particularly Facebook (Twitter was still relatively insignificant in 2010). I decided to perform a personal experiment. I monitored two Facebook pages that were hastily put up after that game: Bronco Nation Hates Kyle Brotzman (the 1st one up) and Bronco Nation Loves Kyle Brotzman, and for about 2 hours I kept checking each of them for “likes.” During that same time period, the “hates” page got about 300-400 likes, the “loves” page got over 12,000! Granted, Kyle was a local kid, a past hero of BSU games, the leading scorer in school history….stop here a second. Was all of that cancelled by 2 missed kicks? I guess that’s the world of sports “fans.” Now, where was I? Oh yeah, granted all that stuff in Kyle’s favor, and the fact that Boise, Idaho is NOT New York or the left coast, still it seems to me that, at least as BSU fans go, reasonable and kind people still outnumber knuckleheads. If only we could generalize these results to the world at large.
For you sports fans, note that BSU quarterback Kellen Moore played in the NFL as a backup for Detroit and Dallas, and is now quarterbacks coach for Dallas Cowboys. What about the quarterback for the Nevada Wolfpack? His name is Colin Kaepernick–you’ve no doubt heard of him. He’s the “protest coach” for a whole generation of millionaire “indentured slaves.”