The San Francisco 49ers are officially an international sensation. The team signed Australian rugby league star Jarryd Hayne this offseason, and a great preseason earned him a spot on the roster. He was active on Monday, and while he struggled early, he did finish with some nice things late at the running back position.
His involvement with the 49ers has resulted in considerable coverage in Australia. There have been a lot of media on hand, and on Monday, it included a live blog of the 49ers-Vikings game. Matt Cleary of The Guardian tried his hand at live-blogging Monday Night Football, and it was nothing short of amazing. I'll pull out a few highlights, but I cannot urge you strongly enough to read the whole transcript.
Cleary acknowledged from the get-go that he did not know a whole lot about the NFL:
Greetings, the People, Matt Cleary here, I'll be doing my best to call the Big Game - San Francisco 49ers versus Minnesota Timberwolves (or something) - live from Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara. And it should be good. 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. So yes, there's been some hype.
Cleary quickly grasps who the players are to watch, but penalties seemed to be a bit difficult to understand. Of course, I think a lot of American fans will admit to some confusion.
Righto, Niners ball, they have a crack through Hayne Plane's roomie, Carlos "Jekkly'n" Hyde. He bashes through a few blokes, notches four yards. There's a flag for ... something. An illegal formation. And the Vikings are penalised some yards for it. Next play. More flags. What now man? False start. And ... what is doing? And the Niners are third and 14. It's not sustainable. And... that's the end of the quarter. No siren? Nothing? Just that's it. Time up. Let's go off and breathe some.
He got to enjoy a little NaVorro Bowman action:
Righto, where are we? OK. Vikings ball, they are on their ... 20-yard line. Long way to go. It's still nil-all, and we're nearly nine minutes into the second quarter. Vikings drive. McKinnon. Whacked by Bowman. Navarro Bowman. Top hit, big man. Vikings ... they run for 15 yards. First down.
One thing a lot of outside sports fans have to get used to is the large number of stoppages:
Righto. Where are we? Having another break. Is it half-time yet? Do they need it? No one's sweating. OK. Niners kick off ... and the ball sails over the endzone and into the ether. And the Vikings have the ball. And ... there's another break. Top stuff.
I loved this description of Carlos Hyde's second touchdown:
Who else but King Carlos Hyde he takes a short ball from his quarterback Kaepernick and the seas of Babylon opened up because all the blocking men did their job and a top runner like Carlos was always going to run through that sort of hole. Touchdown, 49ers.
Seriously, go over and give this live blog a read. I would just love to hear Matt Cleary describe the game on television rather than put up with Chris Berman's play-by-play. It would be absolutely perfect.