My old colleague at Sporting News Radio, Tim Brando, used to say that the best thing about college football is the fans, and the worst thing about college football is also the fans. Never has there been a better example of that maxim than the treatment of Kyle Brotzman.
Brotzman is Boise State’s kicker who missed a short field goal at the end of regulation at Nevada and another field goal in overtime that helped result in Boise State’s only loss of the season. The missed field goals weren’t Boise State’s only mistakes in the game, but they were the most prominent and high profile, and they played a major role in the Broncos missing out on a chance to reach the National Championship Game. While I thought Brotzman would become the loneliest person in Idaho, the Broncos fans have shocked me with their outstanding display of community and support.
In a matter of a day, over 9,000 people joined “The Bronco Nation Loves Kyle Brotzman” Facebook Group. The page has been filled with positive comments from fans who all want Brotzman to feel their support. This is quite the divergence from the typical treatment of kickers who have cost their teams with missed kicks. Here’s what it says in the group’s description:
“Boise State’s Kyle Brotzman is the all-time leading scorer for Bronco Football. A walk-on in 2006 and a local Idaho boy from Meridian High School, Kyle has been a key part of the Broncos’ success during an incredible four-year run. In the 2010 Fiesta Bowl, Kyle was at the center of the most memorable play, “The Riddler,” in which he took a snap on a fake punt on 4th down and threw a pass to Kyle Efaw, setting up the touchdown that would win the game for the Broncos.
True Bronco fans love Kyle and appreciate all that he has brought to this incredible team and program. Thanks, Kyle. We can’t wait to cheer for you and your team in your final two games. GO BRONCOS !!!”
That is a model display of support and understanding that I really did not expect to see. Hopefully this will help Broztman get past the difficult time in his life where his self-esteem is undoubtedly low. And you know what, I now hold Boise State fans in the highest regard. I already knew they were fervent supporters of the team, but now I know they place compassion above winning in their value system. They have it right.
UPDATE: Over 20,000 people have joined the group as of 2:00pm PT 11/29/10Google+