From Sydney to San Fran, Jarryd Hayne hit the ground running during the 2015 NFL pre-season. The Hayne Plane officially took off. In his pre-season debut for the San Francisco 49ers he completed a 53-yard run with his second touch of the ball as well as a 33-yard kick return against the Houston Texans.
In his second game against the Cowboys Hayne finished as the leading rusher of the game with 54 yards on eight carries, as well as a 27-yard punt return. He was ultimately good enough to survive the final round of cuts and eventually made the 49ers roster to begin the 2015-16 season.
The Hayne Plane however came crashing back down to earth just after takeoff. During Monday Night Football infront of a live national television audience, Hayne took centre stage against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1 of the 2015 season.
‘Aussie muffed it!’ as one commentator yelped. With his first ever touch in the NFL he muffed a Viking’s punt, which ended up being turned over to the Viking’s as they recovered the ball.
Just three weeks later against the Green Bay Packers, Hayne again muffed a punt return after a team mate comically crashed into him when he attempted to catch the ball after signalling for a fair catch. The Special Teams coach criticised Hayne for not signalling for the fair catch earlier.
Only two weeks later after that against the Baltimore Ravens on another punt return, Hayne broke several tackles before the Raven’s forced a fumble. The 49ers were able to recover the ball.
After just eight games with the 49ers Hayne was waived and ultimately signed with the 49ers practice squad. Almost two months later he was again promoted to the 53-man roster however at the end of the season he decided not to pursue his NFL career any further.
Despite what appears to be a failed attempt in the NFL, there’s a lot to be proud of in Hayne as an Australian. In Australia, the only real initiation for anyone who wants to understand the game Down Under and to get regular reps is through the Madden gaming series.
Gridiron as we locally know American Football as has only 2500 players registered locally. Compare that to 400,000 registered soccer players and you can see that there isn’t much of a local competition for American football. It’s the favourite sport of 37% of Americans yet just over 1.5% of Australian’s tuned in to watch Superbowl LII.
With that said, Seahawk’s punter Michael Dickson, Broncos defensive end Adam Gotsis, Jordan Mailata’s 7th round drafting in 2018 (without ever playing American Football) and ex-NRL player Valentine Holmes at the Jets under the international pathway program are reppin’ our country strong and proving that we can mix it with the elite.
Shout out to all of those at #sportstalk. Originally posted on my Wolf Gang Sports blog, I hustle jerseys and produce content about players and their journeys with a bit of smack talk along the way. Check out the full blog and I appreciate ya for any comments.