Redskins' punter Sav Rocca was an Aussie Rules star down under before becoming an NFL player.
While I'm Down Under I thought I'd take advantage of this area and take a look at how the NFL is perceived overseas. As it stands I'm not sure how many looks I'll take, but I hope you enjoy.
"So, what's with Tim Tebow, is everyone obsessed with him? I don't know if he can really play"
The question took me aback when my best friend from high school asked me. It has been years since I saw him, yet his uncanny understanding of the Tebow situation shows just how far the reaches of the NFL are stretching globally. However, it goes further than a casual question about a Broncos QB over dinner. Despite being around the other side of the world I've seen posters on the walls of local pubs advertising the playoffs and Superbowl, have seen a spate of Wes Welker jerseys (who seems to resonate with the Aussie crowd), and the average sports fan over here seems to have at least a basic understanding of the sport.
This is wholly impressive given the lengths and strains one must go through to watch games in this country. First it requires cable TV, something which only 35% of Australians subscribe to, then you need to actually catch one or two of the live games that play here, and due to the time difference games play at very strange hours; the Superbowl, for example will show here at 11AM on a Monday morning. Despite all this viewership is strong, fans are knowledgeable and mannaquins in sporting goods stores are sporting Aaron Rodgers jerseys... It's bizarre to say the least. Just three days in I'm astonished to see how far the NFL is reaching, and it makes me believe it's about time the NFL sent some teams down here, at least to play a preseason game or two.
I'll be further exploring the NFL in Australia while down here. If you have any questions you'd like me to ask an Aussie NFL fan let me know in the comments and I'll flag down someone in a Welker jersey.