Well if there's one thing we Aussies love to do, it's not watching American Football.
Sure there are niches of pumped-up dudes wearing shoulder pads who act like the game should be our national sport (which will never happen), but for the most part Australians have been blissfully unaware of it, instead focusing the entirety of their attention on numerous variations of rugby, a game in which people can get properly injured. Because that's what being an Aussie is all about.
However, the inclusion of Parramatta Eels star fullback Jarryd Hayne in the 49ers' season opener against the Minnesota Vikings on September 14 was enough to turn all eyes towards the screens, both States-side, where Hayne's No. 38 jersey is the highest selling in NFL stores, and in Australia where the good people of Minto shed a tear of pride and joy at their boy running in the big leagues now.
Hayne's first game was less stellar than his preseason games, which had prompted praise from the Prime Minister as well as many terribly-accented yet enthusiastic calls of "G'day mate" from American sports commentators who still don't seem to understand the correct usage of the phrase. He did, however, manage to accrue an offensive gain of 20 yards and at least three new nicknames, mainly consisting of various forms of transport tacked to the end of his surname.
Of almost equal enjoyment to Hayne's performance on Monday night, and garnering almost as much media attention, was an Australian commentator's live blog of the game. Meshing Australian-isms with a vague, extremely general understanding of the NFL, Matt Clearly's running commentary on The Guardian was the stuff of legends, with examples below.
Fair catch by a Viking. Means you can catch it and don't have to run. Seems to be a fair few rules in American football. It's quite a long way from games at Parramatta Stadium.
Updated at 3.47am BST
Righto. Someone might score soon. There's seven minutes left in the second quarter. Teddy Bridgewater flings a pass wide by Aaron Lynch, a giant human, swamps the wide man like a giant wet blanket with arms.
Updated at 4.21am BST
Field goal Vikings: Minnesota 3-10 San Francisco
Bridgewater goes deeeep ... and bad, the ball lobs into the nothingness of the end zone. And the Vikings will ... punt? No, a field goal. He's 30-odd yards out ... and it's good. The kicker's like a little Hobbit! A tiny little man! He's a jockey! Ha. Top stuff, Walshy.
Updated at 5.37am BST
Fans of Cleary's style are responding to him in droves, with examples below:
@JournoMatCleary You are a hero of mine. I hope that you'll live blog the birth of my child and/or my funeral. Greetings from a disciple.
— Thomas Levac (@thom8712) September 15, 2015
— Jay Busbee (@jaybusbee) September 15, 2015
With Australians starring in America's favourite sport, both on and off-field, it looks like we may have found a nice patch of common ground to share with our North American counterparts. Well, if the shoe fits...
Grace Mathew is a Sydney-based writer who makes a solid effort to avoid sports, unless she has to write about them. For contact, email email@example.com .
Grace Mathew's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/grace-mathew.html