The best football commentary of the NFL’s opening weekend didn’t come from Peter King, Mike Florio, Adam Schefter or any of the other league, er, “National Football League” mouth pieces. Nope, it came from over 9,000 miles away from a bloke who referred to the football as a “hamburger.”
Jarryd Hayne made his NFL debut last night for the 49ers. This was a big deal for Jarryd, and a big deal for his homeland of Australia. Hayne’s attempt at transitioning from the National Rugby League (Australia’s top league) to the NFL drew lots of national attention this preseason, and that attention was amplified by the fact that he actually produced several highlight reel plays on punt returns and at running back which led to him unexpectedly cracking the 49ers regular season roster.
All this attention resulted in Australian native Matt Cleary being assigned by The Guardian to live blog the Vikings/49ers game last night. Cleary’s account of the game was one of the most honest appraisals of pro football I’ve ever read, as the innocence and humor of Cleary’s stranger in a strange land bit yielded hilarious takes on America’s most popular sport.
Cleary’s live blog became the highlight of the game (besides Carlos Hyde pummeling the Vikings defense) and it drew lots of attention nationally due to Cleary’s quirky lingo and bewildered accounts of the action on the field. While I found all of that entertaining, I was also intrigued by his outsiders view of the NFL.
Sure, the game was a 20-3 dud that almost went to halftime in a scoreless tie, but Cleary took some good natured shots at all the stoppages and penalty flags in the American version of football. Stoppages in play are prevalent in every NFL game — regardless of score — and are making a single game tougher to watch from start to finish. There’s a reason the RedZone Channel is so popular.
Lots have already posted about Cleary and have suggested he should be called upon to live blog more NFL games. That act could wear thin, but his voice last night was definitely a welcome change from the typical NFL coverage that takes itself way too seriously.
I’ll let you judge for yourself…
Here’s the link to the entire live blog. It’s well worth a read. Righto!
Below are some of my favorite comments from Cleary:
You had me at “Hut-hut”.
“Falls onto his tummy lest anyone hurt him” is the most delicate way of saying the NFL rules are softer than Drake’s music.
Something tells me that “resuscitate” is not a word that the NFL wants their announcers using when a player is knocked out.
Where to start? Calling a week one game between the 49ers and Vikings the “Big One” is so delicious I can’t tell if he’s being sarcastic or not. Also, I’m absolutely crestfallen that I didn’t think of “celebrate like they’ve invented penicillin” first. Then, Hayne got his first shot at a punt return but unfortunately muffed the kick. “He grassed it”, Cleary dejectedly informs his readers. Can we get Cleary to do the highlights of Jackie Smith in Super Bowl XIII?
“Roger, tosses the hamburger towards the goal line, there’s a huge Cowboy open, massive human being! And…he grassed it! Oh my, he grassed it! He’s got to be the sickest bloke in all of America!”
I don’t even know, but I love it.
The whole bit about the playbook and Tomsula calling a timeout needs to be engraved on the side of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Also, onion sandwich? Yep, onion sandwich.
Slogan idea: “Pro football — it’s not paintball, baby”
Calling kickers “hobbits” should be an accepted practice in NFL press boxes.
Biting sarcasm, followed by the perfect description of life as an NFL kicker? Bravo, mate.
Matt Cleary you are my hero.