Man vs. machine: 49ers kicker gives robot competition the boot 

Know why machine will never be superior to man? Because it is man that creates the machine.

At least, that was 49ers kicker Joe Nedney’s assessment Monday after beating Ziggy the 340-pound robot in a kicking contest at Kezar Stadium, according to a report on 49ers.com.

Nedney beat the robot said to have near-perfect accuracy after booting a 50-yard field goal. Ziggy’s best kick was a 45-yarder.

The event was held to promote the upcoming RoboGames at the San Mateo County Fairgrounds.

Nedney said he was nervous before the contest but felt better when he witnessed the 14-inch-tall robot miss a few kicks during warm-ups, the report said.

“There’s still a human element to the robot,” Nedney told 49ers.com. “There’s still a team of guys trying to adjust and move it around.”

Of course, there is a backstory to Ziggy’s loss.

The robot’s creators, who work on Ziggy out of a home in Campbell, told The Examiner that the bot can kick 60-plus yards, but had to be adjusted down to the 45-yard limit because they were afraid the robot’s flying footballs would break their neighbors’ windows.

That’s OK. After the contest, Nedney said he felt his job with the 49ers was more secure for winning, and hometown fans certainly want their field-goal kicker to feel confident before the start of next season. After all, the NFL draft is this week.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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