American football is a niche sport in Australia -- I actually talked to several players on the Australian football team at the World Championships in Ohio back in July -- but Jarryd Hayne's swap from rugby league superstar to NFL hopeful has turned a lot of eyes down under at our game. Some of them... don't exactly know what's happening.
The Guardian has Australian reporter Matt Cleary live-blogging Hayne's first game, and, well, see for yourself:
I don't admit to knowing a motherlode about American football but I do know there's a third-string punt returner and/or running back playing called Jarryd "Hayne Plane and/or Train" Hayne, wearer of the most famous No.38 in Australian sports history...
Okay, there's kick-off. The ball goes long. And everyone stops playing. The ball is with the 49ers now who do their thing. Hut-hut. No28 bumps his way through the Vikings (I know!) defence and that's a first-down, baby. Top stuff. And there's another one.
Righto, nil-all still in the Big One, 49ers vs Vikings. And there's another timeout. Vikings with the ball. They make four yards. They have to get another six to make a first down, it's the laws of the game. But Niners defence belts the running man. And then several of them head off the field. Funny game, National Football League. A sack! The Niners D-people celebrate like they've invented penicillin!
Vikings, at the 42 ... flags everywhere. Here comes the explanation. Good thing to do, tell everyone in the ground and watching on TV what's going on.
You might think I'm making fun of this commentary, but, well, I wouldn't do any better writing up a rugby league game... or a rugby union game... or Australian football, for that matter. And us here in America are listening to Chris Berman call this game, and I promise you, I would much rather be listening to Matt here calling the game. (Australians, you don't know who Chris Berman is. You are the lucky ones.) I know I'll be keeping this window open all night.
Australians, if you're watching this and it's your first introduction to the NFL, we're sorry -- this isn't the best football game ever. If you'd like a slightly more football-savvy explanation of what Hayne is doing, we're trying to help.
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