Straight up Im a fan of the guy not because i think this guy is the next big thing, its because he believes in dreams and that to me is one of my biggest attractions to the NFL. Let’s be honest no one in the NFL is there to root spiders and very few get by on what they did yesterday. This is a game where it doesn’t take much to lose your spot forever. Anyone who follows the game knows that the NFL is one intimidating beast. Sure we have our big names but beneath them is usually thousands upon thousands who enter and leave the game with very little mention. This is not the case with Jarryd Hayne.
Jarryd Hayne is in a grey area because as a fourth tier running back no one should even really know who he is. He would have usually had the time through the college system to condition, learn the entire game (not just the running part), work out who he is then find a team where he fits into the system. However this was never to be his destiny. Hayne has taken on the other part of the NFL journey which, is the triumph over adversity story and because its such a great story it has been hyped up to something most never go through. The guy played his first competitive match actually IN the NFL. Seriously, no one does that! That’s like playing your first gig mainstage Woodstock.
Ever seen Rudy. It’s about a short kid who wants to make his working class dad proud so joins the Fighting Irish practice squad and plays with so much heart that the team runs a mutiny on the coaching staff to let him make one play so his dad could be proud (he actually makes a sack and in real life got two plays but anywayz). In the scheme of things that’s Jarryd Hayne. Sure he is a total world class athlete and a rugby league phenom but as mentioned before he went to the States but as mentioned before the NFL isn’t exactly about rooting spiders. The unlikeliness of someone who has never played the game before making a squad is very very rare indeed. Watching his first break out run in the pre season was an incredible moment much like Rudy making the sack.
What we have seen of Hayne is that he can run but doesnt seem to have that extra gear some running backs have, can’t block nor always hang on to the ball. Yes he can work on this but can he do this fast enough to fend off the hundreds of people waiting behind the fence for a shot at his job. The NFL is quick to adapt and it’s conceivable that his unique running style will be worked out and punts can be made un returnable in case he gets too good at that. He is also 27 years old. If 30 is considered old for a running back then Hayne has a very short time to actually learn this game and keep his place amongst the 24 years olds coming out of college.
Also being at the 49 ers doesn’t really help. Since ditching Jim Harbaugh the team has been in a phase of rebuild. Remember that year Kapernick played the superbowl, well Alex Smith started the year and Kapernick has not got back since. They have lost most of their key names from that era and seem kind of lost in the woods. In a smaller sport maybe Hayne would have time to be nurtured and developed but this is the NFL. These people are not here to root spiders and in reality half the organization could be looking for a job soon. There are rumours about peeps like the Seahawks wanting him but until he is in a team and finds his place in the NFL he will always be on shaky ground. I really hope he spends the off season learning to block. This is where his size will help him and that’s when I think he will start to be good. He needs time to develop. year 1 was making sure his strong points stand out and they do. Year 2 is working on the weak points. I hope he gets a chance to do it because its this next learning curve that will allow his full potential to shine.
But you know what. Despite of all this uncertain reality I still do and always will support Jarryd Hayne because it’s this kind of story that gives sport it’s magic beyond stats and W’s. Look at Tom Brady. 99th pick, kind of gangly, too good looking, there’s no way he could replace Drew Bledsloe, until he had too and the rest is history. Think of Steve Smith senior breaking 3 ribs against the Steelers and playing the following week. Think of fellow Aussie Jesse Williams and his battles with cancer. Think of Rex Ryan shedding the hamburgers. This is what NFL is about. Triumph over adversity, taking hits and playing on, being the best you can be even if it’s a slim shot. Hayne is Rudy. So what if he makes one play. He did it in the NFL. (Yes Rudy was not in the NFL but this is where the story got me and I’m sticking with it).
What has ruined the Hayne experience for me is unfortunately the media and undue hype put upon Haynes tenuous position in the team. I’d like to think that dedicated NFL fans have the sense not to buy into the hype that is obviously being aimed at a non NFL public and pretend its actual analysis. I go rock climbing and i can assure you I’m not going to analyse every incorrect use of climbing gear or lingo in Everest the film. Why? because I know the difference between media and something I’m actually passionate about. With the media comes support for Hayne from people who don’t usually follow NFL that puts more die hard fans off side. I remember when alternative music was actually alternative then jocks started listening to it and it was like “footy heads like Nirvana….wtf……..they probably dont really get it”. Guess what jocks. Same thing.
I also think that the Premier of NSW isnt really helping with his obsession to get Jarryd Hayne and HIS 49 er’s out here. Firstly it’s not his 49ers. It’s the bosses 49ers and who ever the bosses want in the team. Secondly what sort of game would it be? Firstly you would need a team that wouldn’t make the 49ers look bad (Id bring Clevland cause I support Johnny Football but that’s another story). Secondly Hayne would get a disproportionate amount of time in the game to what he does on the team compared to what he usually would and thirdly it’s an exhibition match and they are not always the best because they are not real. So I’ve got a way better idea for the premier. Why don’t you spend 10 million dollars to fly a whole bunch of aussies to the states for a real season game that counts. I’ve worked out that if its $15000 per person to do it then that’s 6666 people that can go. Imaging that 6666 Aussies in a block at Levi Stadium cheering Jarryd Hayne where it counts. Now that would be cool.
Getting annoyed about the Jarryd Hayne thing is buying into the commercial cluster that is the aussie media trying to sell you bollocks because they know you’re biting. As far as I’m concerned the Jarryd Hayne story could be a really inspirational moment in Australian sport instead of being an overhyped, tall poppy ridden angst fest when people realize he won’t be the next Le Veon Bell. Now that the initial hype has turned into sour grapes I hope that the focus will go off Hayne but he gets to stick around and concentrate on what he is there to do. Play Football.