Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Giants Have Some Fans Down Under

Some of you may have become aware that in the last year I've developed a bizarre interest in Australian Rules Football, with particular affection being reserved for the Geelong Footy Club.

Yeah, I know, it's easy to like the team that's won two of the last three Grand Finals, but I'm willing to bet you, the reader, didn't even have the slightest clue that that's the case.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Aussie Rules or how it works, you probably will still be after watching this video of Geelong winning the 2009 Grand Final in a thriller over St. Kilda, but if not perhaps it'll spell things out. The sport is actually pretty easy to get the gist of and once you've watched it a few times, pretty damn exciting.

I bring this up to all of you because AFL is slowly but surely starting to have a fairly significant impact on American football. Some of you may recall the punter for the Arizona Cardinals is a big Aussie named Ben Graham. But you probably don't know that Graham made his bread for well more than a decade as the captain of Geelong FC. Graham isn't the only one either. This afternoon Dallas' special teams will hang heavily on the performance of former-Aussie Rules Footy player Mat McBriar. Philadelphia's punter, Sav Rocca, used to troll the ground for Collingwood FC and North Melbourne, and his brother Anthony, also a former footballer for Collingwood, is currently training to follow Sav to the NFL.

I find this pretty interesting -- at one point I thought about trying to pitch a story about AFL being a fertile ground for NFL punting prospects to anyone who will take it -- and at some point I plan on making my way to Australia to see a few matches, and in particular to catch the Cats at Skilled Stadium.

Let me know if you're interested.

I bring this up now however, because I came across this article last night on Geelong's website about Graham's journey to a second consecutive Super Bowl being derailed. His appearance last year was major fodder for the Australian press.

As you see, this picture runs with the story of Graham standing with current Geelong Cats Matthew Scarlett, whose off-the-ground soccer to Gary Ablett set up the Cats' championship-winning goal, and Corey Enright. What I find most curious about this picture though, is that while Graham is on the Cardinals, his friends and former teammates are wearing..... which jerseys? That's right. New York Giants jerseys.

I knew there was a reason I liked this team.

That's all for today. Enjoy the football, I'll have a new story up tomorrow.

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