I can remember it like it was yesterday. Well, it was last April, but the memories associated are quite vivid. There I was in the 49ers locker room on my way to interview a player when I came across a very frazzled, un-Joe Nedney like, Joe Nedney.
The 49ers veteran place kicker was not himself that day, initially at least. The 15-year pro was asked to take part in the Robo Games, specifically to compete in a field goal kicking contest against a robot named Ziggy.
Having no idea on what he had gotten himself into, Nedney braced for the unknown. But hours later, his demeanor changed quite a bit.
“I was concerned up until I watched him kick the ball and then I felt the confidence come back,” Nedney joked to a group of reporters after easily winning the competition.
His impressive feat was quite popular from then on. To this day, Nedney’s demolition of Ziggy has been viewed more than 32,000 times on YouTube.
It’ll probably earn a few more clicks this week now that Nedney’s triumph was recognized when Time Magazine listed its Top 10 Man vs. Machine moments. The 49ers kicker took the ninth spot on the list.
In true Nedney form, he enjoyed the process of helping those out in need by bringing more attention to an event, had fun throughout (telling Ziggy at the end, “no hard feelings buddy,”) and competed diligently when asked to kick.
You could tell that day that Nedney wanted to represent the team, himself and all red-blooded kickers to the fullest. He certainly did, had fun in doing so and made a pretty impressive list amongst names like Garry Kasparov and the Terminator.
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