Yes, you read the title right: Kyle Brotzman is still the best kicker in college football. And yes, I'm writing this after the 2010 overtime stunner when Nevada upset the Boise State Broncos, so don't get any reservations that this article came out before Brotzman's infamous missed field goals.
I'll still take Kyle Brotzman over any other kicker in college football. Heck, I'd even take him over most kickers in the pros. The guy has a golden foot, and has proven it for the past four years - and not just as a kicker. The Meridian, Idaho native also punts for the Bronco football team, and has done an amazing job there as well.
Why Kyle Brotzman Rocks
For starters, the guy has scored more points than any other player in Boise State football history. And with the school's pedigree of high-scoring offenses, that's no easy feat. He also leads the entire Western Athletic Conference in total points - a record he took from famed NFL go-to-man Jason Elam (Elam played college ball at the University of Hawaii).
Beyond the points, Brotzman has stepped up several times in his young career, helping the Broncos keep their national spotlight. Four years prior, against the very same Nevada team that edged them out in 2010, Boise and Nevada played back-and-forth overtimes, and each time the unknown Brotzman (then a walk-on freshman) calmly and cooly nailed field goal after field goal, keeping the Broncos alive until Boise linebacker Colt Brooks finally sacked Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick on fourth down, giving the Broncos the win.
Somewhere along the line, the Boise coaches noticed the Kyle Brotzman's foot was equally effective in punting situations, and Brotzman found himself serving as the team's starting punter. While most college teams (and every NFL team) use separate players at the punter and place kicker positions, the Broncos only needed one. And he excelled at both, bringing home several WAC and national special teams honors during his career.
In fact, it was Brotzman's skills on the punt team that helped his Boise State Broncos win a tight Fiesta Bowl against an impressive TCU team. On a crucial fourth and long, Boise coach Chris Petersen decided to fake the punt and instead let Brotzman pass the ball. And that's exactly what happened. The sure-footed Brotzman (who also sent a punt to the one yard line during the same game) caught the snap, started his punt wind-up, then passed across the middle of the field. A Boise tight end brought the ball in, and the Broncos marched down the field and scored the go-ahead touchdown with only a few minutes remaining.
As painful as the loss to Nevada was to Bronco fans (many were hoping the team would end up playing for the BCS championship game), the fact is that the Bronco dynasty wouldn't be what it is today had it not been for Brotzman. Had Boise lost to TCU in the Fiesta Bowl, the team never would have started the season ranked as high as it was. And if it weren't for Kyle's clutch kicks and punts throughout his four year tenure, the team wouldn't have done as well as it has.
Bronco Nation Supports Kyle Brotzman
Following Brotzman's two missed kicks during the overtime loss to the Nevada Wolf Pack in 2010, an unfortunate cluster of fair-weather fans acted like, well, complete jerks. They blamed the entire loss on Brotzman, taking their cries public. Some even threatened Brotzman personally via phone calls, texts, emails and Facebook messages. His parents - who live in the Boise area - also reported multiple callers to the police.
But let it be known that the actions of these inconsiderate jerks do not represent the whole of Bronco Nation. In fact, the vast majority of Bronco fans have offered support - either personally or through a variety of social media sites. One fan site on Facebook, "Bronco Nation Loves Kyle Brotzman" picked up more than 21,000 supporters within three days of the tough Nevada loss.
The Boise State Broncos Football Team Supports Kyle Brotzman
Not only do the vast majority of Boise fans support the kicker/punter who has propelled the school to its highest point ever, the players and coaches do as well.
Following the loss to Nevada, quarterback Kellen Moore, head coach Chris Petersen and several others publicly said "One play doesn't lose a game." And they are both correct. Those who watched the game witnessed Boise making unusual mistakes, such as missed tackles and dropped passes. Not to mention Nevada is a very fine football team, and adjusted its play calling to attack the Broncos weaknesses.
True Fans Support Teams And Players In Good Times And Bad
It's easy to jump on a bandwagon. This is especially true in sports. You see it all the time. After a Super Bowl victory or a World Series win, bandwagon fans buy jackets, shirts, hats... whatever they can find, to show support to their flavor-of-the-month team. Those same people wear different team merchandise the following year.
I'd like to think that these fans represent only a small sample of the overall sports-watching population. Hopefully I'm right.
But with Boise's national prominence, including two amazing Fiesta Bowl victories, the team has unwittingly picked up some of these fair-weather fans.
It's easy to get behind a team - and the players - when the chips are up, but the true test comes when the chips go down. The mettle is pushed to the max, and those that jump ship... well, they're not the kind of fans anybody wants anyway. Am I editorializing? Sure, but I'll go out on a limb and suggest most die-hard Boise State Bronco fans would agree with me.
Real fans thank Brotzman for his contributions to Boise's upsurge in recent years. It never would have happened without his booming kickoffs, clutch field goals and coffin-corner punts. You don't have to agree with me (but many of you who have read this far probably will), but I stand by my analysis. And I'll continue doing so as long as necessary. I've built an online reputation writing fake news stories, and generally consider even the toughest questions an opportunity for a punchline, but not this one. Like I said, I'll stand by my words until the cows come home.
Kyle Brotzman is the man.