College football is incredibly important to a great many people. And football fans (as in fanatics) become even more passionate when their teams are winning.
Much of the Pacific Northwest was, well, gaga for Boise State this season as the Broncos were on a roll, ranked No. 3 in the nation and -- with a little luck -- on the cusp of playing for the national championship.
Well, as we all know, Boise State ran out of luck. Its star kicker, Kyle Brotzman, missed two easy field goals -- both of which would have won Boise State the game against Nevada. The victory over Nevada, a ranked opponent, would have set the table for either the national championship game or the Rose Bowl.
Boise State fans were stunned. It didn't take long for some angry folks to unleash their frustration on Brotzman, The Associated Press reported.
Within hours, there were reports of harassing telephone messages. Dozens of Facebook pages emerged, some filled with nasty name calling, jabs and taunts -- all aimed at Brotzman.
What's wrong with some people?
Yes, Boise State fans really wanted to win that game. So, too, did Brotzman.
It is pathetic for people to lash out in such an ugly fashion.
This, of course, is not the first time sports fans have gotten a bit out of control when a player fails to come through in the clutch.
But what is a little different about this story -- refreshingly different -- is that even more people reached out to comfort Brotzman. Immediately there were "Bronco Nation Loves Kyle Brotzman" and "We Still Love Kyle Brotzman" pages with hundreds of messages of support posted for the senior kicker.
As of Thursday 43,000 people had clicked on the "Like" button for those pages as opposed to 52 who "Like" to be "haters" of Brotzman.
"I think the fans have been great," Bronco coach Chris Petersen said. "You're always going to have the other side, the other third, that can't do it the way you'd like them to. I don't know if those are BSU fans to tell you the truth."
It's great to see that, by a wide, wide margin, compassion and common decency prevailed.
And let's hope those good feelings spread to Arizona. Thursday night University of Arizona kicker Alex Zendejas had an extra point blocked in double overtime that gave arch rival Arizona State a 21-20 victory. Zendejas had an extra-point blocked earlier to send the game to overtime.
The life of college kickers isn't easy -- they need all support they can get.