Kyle Brotzman is a professional. He may not be a professional football player – that would be a violation of NCAA rules. But the Boise State kicker is a professional at setting a good example.
With a spot in the national championship possibly on the line, Brotzman pushed a 26-yard field goal to the right that would have won the game. And then in overtime, after Boise’s drive stalled, Brotzman had a shot at redemption. But Brotzman, unable to shake off the previous kick, pulled the 29-nine yard kick left.
He missed them both. I was at the bar at the time, and everyone watching was stunned. In the span of 10 minutes, the leading scorer in Boise State history missed two kicks that he could consistently make with his non-kicking foot.
Following the loss, Brotzman’s teammates rallied around him. But some in the Boise community – and many more from around the country – did not. He was mocked, taunted, even threatened.
Hibernation from the public may have seemed like the ideal thing to do. That’s what Bill Buckner did. Buckner left Boston at the end of his career for an obscure town in an obscure state in this country’s Northwest – Boise, Idaho.
Brotzman chose a different route. Just days after the defeat, Brotzman found the courage to sit down with ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi to discuss a night most of us would suppress. Brotzman did not hide. He took the blame, and told the world how much it hurt.
Derek Anderson is an amateur. Don’t let Anderson’s $7.5 million contract and 42 career starts in the National Football League fool you. He is an amateur at setting a good example.
Trailing the San Francisco 49ers by 18 points in the fourth quarter, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Derek Anderson sat there. Laughing. He played a large role in creating that deficit – one interception, no touchdown drives to that point.
Anderson was asked why he was laughing on the bench in the fourth quarter against a division rival that could have left his team one game out of first place. “You think this is funny, I take this sh*t serious,” Anderson screamed.
Anderson walked out of the press-room enrage. He had just missed the opportunity to take full responsibility for what he did not only on the field but on the bench..
Instantly, Anderson became the topic of sports talk across the country. Here he is, a professional athlete acting like an 8-year-old, laughing at his sister as he pushes her off the swing and proceeds to yell at his mother as if he did nothing wrong.
In reality, no, Derek Anderson is not an amateur. And no, Kyle Brotzman is not a professional. But in terms of displaying proper character and setting a good example, he just signed a million dollar contract.