Americans Super Confused By Aussie Way Of Kicking
Michael Dickson is an Australian punter in the NFL. The Americans are getting that much right.
But not much else.
This week, the Seattle Seahawks kicker pulled off an improbable move. Instead of restarting play by kicking off with the ball placed firmly on the traditional kicking tee, Dickson unleashed a rugby style drop kick.
And not just any drop kick. Just as Dickson intended, the ball landed right on the one yard line.
The kick's immaculate distance coupled with its impressive "hang time" -- which meant the ball travelled on a higher trajectory than a traditional kick-off -- allowed his team's defence more time to stop the opposition.
Little things like this are incredibly valuable in the NFL, a game where yardage is as valuable as Sydney real estate. Americans duly responded with awe. Well, surprise first, then awe. And a little later on, confusion.
There was some interesting banter in the commentary box as the kick happened.
"A drop-kick kick-off?" first commentary guy said. We are going to send our stats folks into overdrive here, but I’m going to put it out there. You tell me the last time you ever saw a drop-kick kick-off in the NFL?"
"I don’t know if it ever happened, Joe," second commentary guy replied.
Many fans weren't quite sure what they'd seen, but they knew they liked it.
As the excitement started to die down, people started talking about how Dickson, a 22-year-old from Sydney, learned the skill by playing rugby.
Drop-kicks are the regular way of restarting play in rugby union, and are also quite common in rugby league, as anyone who saw last weekend's NRL thriller between the Rabbitohs and Dragons would know.
But Dickson in fact played AFL as a younger man. That's pretty confusing to Americans, most of whom have no idea what Aussie Rules footy is. To make things more complicated, drop kicks are almost unheard of these days in Australian Rules football.
To help clear things up, the man himself posted this video on social media of yet another sweet, sweet, drop kick travelling just where it was intended, along with a reminder that he's never played rugby.
Dickson is one of six Australians in the NFL this season, having been brought through the ranks by former AFL player Nathan Chapman, who runs a business calls ProKick Australia which trains Australian athletes to be NFL kickers.