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Many of the recent innovations in spectator sports have tended to make them more repetitious, such as baseball’s emphasis on homers, walks, or strikeouts, and basketball’s focus on three-point shooting. One of the more entertaining recent trends, however, is that American football teams are increasingly importing Australian Rules football players to do their punting for them. Australian Rules is a punting-centered species of the genus that includes soccer, rugby, and American football, so Australian football players tend to be both outstanding athletes and creative, which is not true of traditional American punters.

Five years ago, I wrote at vast length about the opportunities Aussie punters offer American football teams. And here’s a new ESPN article about how far the Australian pipeline to American football has progressed since then. (This is one of the rare occasions I’ve been ahead of the curve on sports, so I’m tooting my own horn here.)

My guess is that in the long run, Americans will figure out how to teach their own kids these superior techniques, so in a few decades, Americans will once again dominate the ranks of NFL punters, just as the soccer-style kicker revolution in American football in the 1960s-1970s wound up with an influx of foreign Garo Yepremian-style kickers, but now is back to being predominately American kickers using the once foreign style.

It’s an interesting topic in immigration studies: how many foreign experts do you need to import? The current conventional wisdom is, for example, that Americans would be eating nothing but meatloaf in 2019 if not for never-ending mass immigration, because only a MesoAmerican can do sushi right. But the history of soccer-style kicking in American football suggests you just need a small amount of elite immigration to introduce a new technique and then Americans can carry on from there.

 
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  1. Pete Gogolak, who started with the Bills in the old AFL (and later went to the NFL’s Giants in one of the early intra-league “raids” which hastened the merger) I believe was the first soccer-style kicker. Yepremian followed a few years later with the Dolphins. His brother Charley also played in the NFL.

  2. Anon[255] • Disclaimer says:

    So, this is some kind of new college admissisons scam to get admitted and avoid non-resident tuition to American universities?

    By the way, is the punting position one that will keep you from having concussions? If so, this Prokick outfit, or some outfit like it, could branch out and start teaching kids, who would then be able to participate in football safely. That is unless the coaches require everyone to bang their heads during practice.

    • Replies: @bomag
  3. I always liked it when John Madden used to say “An interception’s as good as a punt.” Just throw the frickin’ ball downfield and take a shot.

    NFL football has become far, far too repetitive and boring in general. The worst offender in this regard has got to be the checkdown pass. I absolutely hate the checkdown pass, which for accuracy’s sake ought to be renamed the “cop-out pass” and thereafter disallowed as unsportsmanlike. Yet today this cowardly maneuver reigns supreme, seemingly accounting for every other, and indeed more than every other, NFL down played.

    Furthermore, I fundamentally disagree with the whole philosophy of relying on yards after the catch to move the football. If you’re going to throw it anyway, just throw it past the line to gain. That way a reception is automatically a conversion. What a more dynamic game it would be if receivers didn’t become eligible until after they had passed the first down marker.

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @Alec Leamas
    , @Marty
  4. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:

    Hey, Travis! What are these “recent innovations” in baseball?

  5. Anon[990] • Disclaimer says:

    Aussie men are very fun loving guys. Life of the party. In general, when Aussie blokes show up, everyone has a wild time.

    They have quite the reputation in the international traveling circuit. Go to Thailand sometime.

  6. Anon[990] • Disclaimer says:
    @Intelligent Dasein

    If you don’t get an interception or reception on 4th down, they could start on your 20th yard line.

    That’s worse than punting.

    There’s a reason why everyone thinks Madden is an idiot. The man got hit in the head too many times.

    • Troll: ScarletNumber
    • Replies: @Desiderius
  7. Travis says:

    The emphasis on Home runs was clear back in 1993 when MLB introduced the first Juiced ball and home runs exploded from 3,000 per year to 4,000 per year. it is quite clear that the “emphasis” on home runs resulted in MLB introducing a juiced ball in 1993. http://owlbb.com/juiced-ball.php

    The steroid era further boosted Home runs. Then the MLB started testing for PEDs in 2008. The number of home runs fell down to 4,000 in 2014 and MLB decide to introduce an even more juiced ball, which is also more aerodynamic. The improved juiced ball had an immediate effect, resulting in a new Home run record in 2016 when players hit 6,100 home runs, a new record. An increase of 20% from 2014.

    the evidence is overwhelming , even MLB admits it in their report. The change in the ball, which was introduced after the 2015 all-star break , resulted in more home runs. The MLB’s own analysis indicates the increase in Home runs was not due to any changes in players swing style, or other player modifications. The MLB a task force of scientists commissioned by Major League Baseball released their report and confirmed that the ball itself is responsible for the increased number of home runs. https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/40170/prospectus-feature-mlb-commission-confirms-baseball-changed/

    The so-called emphasis on Home runs did not start in 1993 or 2016. Baseball has always emphasized home runs and rewarded players who hit home runs. The reason for the increase in home runs starting in 1993 was due to the new juiced ball. They made further changes to the ball in 2015 to increase home runs. This is the primary reason baseball has become all about home runs. It is far easier to hit hok runs today thanks to the changes MLB made to the balls.

    If MLB start using the pre-2015 balls the number of home runs will fall back to 4,200 per year from the current average of 6,000 we have observed since 2016. If they revert back to the pre-1993 ball home runs will fall back below 4,000 per year. But it is more likely that MLB will introduce an even more juiced ball in a few years to get even more Home runs.

    • Replies: @anonymous
  8. Danny White and Tom Tupa were both QB punters that could present challenges for opposing defenses on 4th down. Tebow should have learned to punt.

  9. Anonymous[122] • Disclaimer says:

    You might have been ahead of that ESPN writer, but I remember discussion of Aussie style punting well before your article. For one thing, Sav Rocca. Go Skins! Also, the announcers for the college game you showed 5 years ago were familiar with it. So it was already sort of a bubbling thing.

  10. @Ron Mexico

    Tebow should have learned to punt.

    Good idea.

  11. @Ron Mexico

    You left out Randall Cunningham, who uncorked a 91-yard wind-aided punt at Giants Stadium. The amazing part is that it was on 4th down, not a quick kick. This led directly to the game winning TD for the Eagles.

    • Replies: @Ron Mexico
    , @Travis
  12. @ScarletNumber

    It seems that the NY football Giants have troubles closing out games with the Eagles.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJPf4h9GZvg

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
  13. anon[825] • Disclaimer says:

    Karate was brought to this country by GI’s stationed in Japan returning to the US, and by Japanese karate masters immigrating to the US to teach. Their is an extensive history of these Japanese and especially Okinawan karate masters moving to places as far-flung as Spokane and New Orleans and spending their lives teaching karate to Americans.
    It has now been a few generations since that day, and we have many home-grown American karate experts, but you will find that Americans still look to Japanese masters to instruct them. I know several 6th and 7th degree black belts who get their training from the Japanese. Okinawans who practice karate give their lives to it and still set the gold standard.

  14. @Anon

    No one thinks Madden is an idiot.

  15. Travis says:
    @ScarletNumber

    thanks for bringing back the memories. Cunningham did a lot of quick kicks on third down, which often caught the teams off guard. I forgot that this was a fourth down kick. He was fun to watch. Amazing he was cut by the Eagles and did not play football for 2 years then had his best year ever with the Vikings when he was an old man.

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
  16. @Ron Mexico

    And then there’s Pat McInally, the most intelligent man ever to play in the NFL, and a good enough athlete to be consistently productive at wide receiver.

    • Replies: @FPD72
  17. If Australia is anything like the mother country, then punting takes place on placid rivers and in casinos.

  18. @Ron Mexico

    For those wondering, Miracle I was called by Don Criqui and Sonny Jurgensen who are both still alive at 79 and 84.

    I thought that the Giants cut Matt Dodge immediately after Miracle II, but it turns out they had one game left and they gave him a chance the following season, but didn’t survive final cuts. He never played in the NFL again. This loss cost the Giants the NFC East and a playoff spot. Of course they made up for it by winning the Super Bowl the following season.

  19. @Travis

    If you notice he completely caught Dave Meggett off guard. For those wondering what became of Meggett, he is currently serving a 30-year stretch in SC for burglary and criminal sexual conduct.

    • Replies: @Dtbb
  20. @Reg Cæsar

    We also use ‘punt’ to describe a long kick, eg ‘Punt it downfield’, ‘He really punted it’.

  21. My theory to make all field sports more exciting and less defence-dominated is to reduce the number of players on the field.

    Think about soccer, it’s so hard to score because it’s so hard to get through the mass of players protecting the goal. So you end up with the absurd result of a game being decided by penalty shoot-out. But if you reduced each side by just one player you logically create more space. More space helps the creative, attacking players but makes defence harder.

    Australian Rules football, a game I used to love but can no longer bear to watch, has been totally ruined by congestion. Australian rules football has EIGHTEEN players on the field for each side! That means there is a total of THIRTY SIX (!) players on the playing area at once. Modern defensive techniques (basically zone defence) have turned the game into an unwatchable, congested mess. The obvious solution is to reduce the number of players on the field by two or three for each side and create more space. But whenever this is suggested it is decried as an assault on ‘tradition’.

    What about American football? Does defence dominate too much? How would it play if you only had ten players per side rather than eleven?

  22. Anon[222] • Disclaimer says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    punting takes place on placid rivers and in casinos.

    ‘on the punt’ = having a bet on the neddies or dishlickers.

  23. Anon7 says:

    How many foreign experts do you need to import?

    How many $billions does a billionaire like Zuckerberg or Gates or Page need?

    H1B: The Program That Keeps On Giving… just not to regular American guys.

  24. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:

    Legends Football League only has 7 on a side.

    https://lflus.com/lfl-101

  25. And here I thought you were going to cover the merits of sports gambling.

  26. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    Tokyo dominates Michelin star rankings without much immigration.

    • Replies: @Alec Leamas
  27. bomag says:
    @Anon

    this Prokick outfit, or some outfit like it, could branch out and start teaching kids, who would then be able to participate in football safely

    But there is no need for more punters.

  28. bomag says:
    @Emblematic

    Small high school towns in my area field eight man or six man teams.

    I don’t know enough to comment, but I’m told that in six man, the team with the fastest single player wins.

    • Replies: @Forbes
  29. @anon

    Real Karate seems somewhat hard to come by these days. What is advertised as “Karate” is 9 times out of 10 Korean Tae Kwon Do. Koreans have for the most part taken over the martial arts niche from the Japanese in the US. Which is too bad, because I’ve never liked the overemphasis on kicking in Tae Kwon Do. Genuine Karate has more emphasis on punching and even has a few grappling techniques.

    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
  30. The techniques used by Australian background punters clearly work well compared to spirals and “hang time” but a lot of the willingness to make this change is down to coaching philosophy too – the Rams for example seem to generate more from 4th down than many teams by taking more risks in fakes and running to the side yet using a conventional US raised punter.

    There are also moments when Australian punters – having been raised as utility athletes – simply don’t have specialist enough skills. The Seahawks punter mentioned in the article attempted a drop kick onside kick in a playoff game (the kicker was injured) which didn’t work at a crucial time. An Australian punter for Michigan also famously messed up in a game against Michigan state by not instinctively diving on a fumbled ball.

    • Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard
  31. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Hapalong Cassidy

    There was a Tae Kwon Do teacher around here who added Ninjutsu to his Yellow Pages ad when ninjas were popular in the ‘80s. When students asked when they’d learn to be ninjas, he’d say, “First, learn Tae Kwon Do”.

  32. Anon[483] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anon

    Like black folks Aussie guys are situationally tone deaf. They both seem to think that if the people around them are quiet, it’s because they have some sort of social pathology that the interlopers will help them cure. No, sometimes it’s just because we enjoy peace and quiet and we want you to SHUT THE FUCK UP. Australians in the claustrophobic economy class of long international plane flights are the worst, and I have come close to being a Boeing Becky and complaining to the captain.

    • Replies: @Paleognath
    , @Cowboy shaw
  33. Anon[222] • Disclaimer says:

    I have come close to being a Boeing Becky and complaining to the captain.

    Yes. Next time you need to bang on the cockpit doors shouting ” Ah know mah rights!”.

  34. Cortes says:
    @anon

    Wasn’t it Spencer Tracy who popularised karate?

  35. @Anon

    Reminiscing on all the drunken times my friends and I have successfully trolled Americans and Brits on planes, in airports, on the bus or any other place where there is a captive audience – I can assure you that the pleasure was all ours.

    Kiwis by the way are far, far worse (or better, depending on perspective).

  36. Orangeman says:

    Been an Aussie punter in the CFL for 10 years. Moderately successful.

  37. Jim Harbaugh, University of Michigan football coach and Fanatic Hilary supporter, imported a rugby punter and let him play

    The rugby player promptly lost one of the two biggest games of the year for the team, by getting stupid and trying to do a rugby end around run against US division 1 football payers, and losing the ball

  38. @Anon

    The sun in Australia is not something a white man should be living in. What has happened over the course of several generations is that the heat has fried the prefrontal cortex of Australians and they are now a sort of man-lizard creature. It is a nation gone troppo. Very interesting people, if one could say that they are still ‘people’.

  39. anonymous[340] • Disclaimer says:
    @Travis

    Thank you, sir. (See #4, upthread.)

    The owners have intentionally altered the game, witlessly driving much of it (and me, along with many other fans) out of the park.

    Another effect of the low-seamed ball: off-speed pitches do not break as sharply, making pitching-to-contact an even less viable strategy.

    Those who walk, or happen to otherwise reach base, now have less incentive to steal or run aggressively. Getting to second or third isn’t worth the risk if the likely outcome for the next batter is K, W, or HR. And bunting? Pffft.

    Hey, if people find this worthwhile to watch, that’s fine. What irks me is the prevarication, like attributing this Home Run Derby to better pitching, or defensive alignments that admittedly do snag more line drives when the batter didn’t quite achieve his “launch angle.” And so then — speaking of secondary effects — the Science Fairies come up with goofy ideas like changing basepaths, moving back the mound, etc.

    Boycott Ba$hball!

  40. dearieme says:

    Elite immigrants: when I was a lad archaeologists didn’t believe in movements of people: it was “pots” that moved. Naturally, they had no evidence for their beliefs. Meantime, historians romanced on about movement of Celtic tribes conquering their way across Europe.

    Ancient DNA tells a more interesting story. The Bronze Age probably arrived in Western Europe with terror and slaughter. Men with origins in the steppes of Ukraine and Russia seem to have replaced Neolithic males almost entirely.

    On the other hand ancient DNA shows no sign of the Iron Age being a repeat performance. Presumably tiny numbers of smiths introduced iron-working, missionaries introduced Druidism, and merchants spread the Celtic languages.

    So the Iron Age would be a model for tradesmen from the more civilised football codes introducing their skills to the NFL.

  41. @Dave Pinsen

    ” When students asked when they’d learn to be ninjas, he’d say, “First, learn Tae Kwon Do”.”

    But before the TKD they would wax his car, paint his fence, and sand the deck floor.

  42. Dtbb says:
    @ScarletNumber

    That Meggett can fly! My contribution to football commentary.

  43. Anonymous[774] • Disclaimer says:

    Geez! You mean we can learn from books?

  44. @Intelligent Dasein

    That way a reception is automatically a conversion. What a more dynamic game it would be if receivers didn’t become eligible until after they had passed the first down marker.

    Well, this would totally reorient football and probably greatly increase the proportion of incomplete passes and 3-and-out possessions. Part of the reason would be that there would be no need to cover receivers before the line to gain.

  45. @Emblematic

    This is the idea of Rugby Sevens. Instead of the fifteen a side of Rugby Union, the teams are limited to seven players a side and play matches in two seven minute halfs on a full sized pitch. There is vastly more open space to create – in many ways, however, it approaches being an utterly different game. Sevens loses a lot of the drama of the rucking and try line battle of wills.

    To improve Football, I’d suggest broadening the field of play and deepening the end zones rather than altering the number of players.

    I’d also suggest that the NHL adopt the international sized ice surface to open the game up and improve the display of skills – the congestion leads to turning the puck over at or near the opponent’s blue line without generating a scoring opportunity, and vice versa. The issue here however would be removing numerous high-priced seats in every arena, but the product is suffering for it.

    In all cases, you’re really just returning the game to its original balance to compensate for bigger and faster players.

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
  46. Anonymous[337] • Disclaimer says:

    I thought the trend for a while would be to punters who looked like real players and could participate in coverage, but the league has attempted to eliminate the runback as much as possible and tackling is a shell of its former emphasis so thats largely over.

  47. @Dave Pinsen

    Tokyo dominates Michelin star rankings without much immigration.

    I’ll use Mars as a placeholder here.

    Are you contending that people from one ethnicity can travel to Mars, immerse themselves in Martian cuisine for several years, and later return to their home nations and credibly reproduce Martian cuisine?

    The counterargument I’ve heard that seems plausible is that a locale needs a critical mass of Martians in order to economically justify the maintenance of markets for produce and other ingredients used in Martian cuisine. You could have a restaurant which charges exorbitant fine dining prices for Martian cuisine because it specially imports and sources the Martian ingredients, but without a critical mass of Martians home cooking their own foods you’re not going to have Martian restaurants accessible to average Americans.

    That said, I think Douglas Murray made the point that you could get 98% of the benefits of cultural diversity (really, just the restaurants and little else) from a discrete community of 1,500-3,000 people from Mars in a large cosmopolitan capitals like London or San Francisco. You don’t need mass immigration to achieve the benefits of exotic food, and the cultural friction that immigration produces would be mitigated since most people could decide when and to what degree they want to encounter Martians and Martian cultural practices.

  48. FPD72 says:
    @Desiderius

    McInally is smart, but I think a better candidate for smartest NFL player is Dr. Frank Ryan, who played college ball at Steve’s alma mater Rice and then was a starting QB for the Rams, Browns, and Redskins. He completed his PhD in math at Rice, where he also taught math. He was also an assistant professor of math at Case Western.

    After retiring from the NFL, Ryan was the Director of Information Services for the US House of Representatives. He left that position to become the athletic director and lecturer in mathematics at Yale.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  49. Forbes says:
    @bomag

    I attended a prep school that played 8-man football. Well, they had to, as all the upper class boys were on the team, having only 280 (m&f) students, K-12.

    Let’s just say, the plays develop more quickly–you’re either stuffed, or it’s a big gain. Speed counts rather than size. It’s a bit like the Ivies used to play (decades ago) 150 lb football–now Sprint football with a 178 lb limit. Only Penn and Cornell remain playing.

    • Replies: @The Wild Geese Howard
  50. Marty says:
    @Intelligent Dasein

    Disagree. For me the most interesting thing about football was watching defensive backs try to tackle John Mackey or T.O. Then again, I don’t watch it anymore, so have it your way.

  51. @Anon

    Aussies are seriously over-rated at punting and partying.

    Now the Welshmen, those guys can *drink*.

  52. @Alec Leamas

    To improve Football, I’d suggest broadening the field of play and deepening the end zones rather than altering the number of players.

    A Canadian football is 35 feet wider and has endzones that are twice as deep. The issue is that American football stadiums may not be able to accommodate this, especially the endzones. An American football stadium that was built to accommodate FIFA a la Giants stadium can handle the Canadian width but not the Canadian depth.

  53. @Anonymous55uu

    Here’s the Aussie punter F up for Michigan:

    I give Michigan State credit for understanding the situation and playing to win.

    I give overpaid, tough-talking moron Harbaugh no credit at all.

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
  54. @Dave Pinsen

    Rery, rery smavt use of marketing Shaolinigans.

    Y’all should first try some Ameri-Do-Te:

  55. @Forbes

    I would simply like to point out that in big time college football and the NFL there really aren’t any, “slow,” players anymore. Not when you’ve got linebackers and safeties who can cover receivers and 280+linemen that can run sub-5 second 40 yard dashes.

  56. @anon

    Karate doesn’t work against MMA, so it is a waste of time, other than as a hobby or for exercise.

    • Replies: @anon
    , @Hapalong Cassidy
  57. Anonymous[337] • Disclaimer says:
    @FPD72

    Id forgotten about McInally though he was prominent in the league for that position in those days.

    Id the impression that Fitzpatrick, whose still active, had the highest score ever, but he was thought to be 48-50 to McInally’s perfect score. Presumably Ryan predated the test, and candidly Id not heard of him. As he became a tenure track prof I think its safe in assuming him the most learned player in pro football post merger history.

    My favorite incorrect wonderlic answer was Vince Young who mistakenly thought September to be the 10th month of the year.

    Its an easy as hell test, but the time limitation is a factor.

  58. @Reg Cæsar

    [Hat tip to some ancient posts on The New English Review which referenced the tongue-twister below. There might have also been discussion of “cuneiform” and “See You Next Tuesday.”]

    “Mrs Puggy Wuggy has a square cut punt.
    Not a punt cut square,
    Just a square cut punt.
    It’s round in the stern and blunt in the front.
    Mrs Puggy Wuggy has a square cut punt.”

    See Also: Football, Flying Wedge

  59. @The Wild Geese Howard

    I give Sean McDonough credit on the call.

  60. Here is the story of talent flowing from the USA to Aussie Rules. When Mason Cox is starring you can hear the half the Melbourne stadium of 100000 chanting USA,USA.
    https://www.collingwoodfc.com.au/video/2019-03-12/mason-cox-the-story-thats-hard-to-believe

    • Replies: @sb
  61. Logan says:
    @Emblematic

    Many moons ago we used to play sand lot tackle football after church.

    Sometimes 20 guys on a side.

    Congestion is right. Too many people made it very difficult to get any offense going at all.

  62. Aussie here, use to play footy when young. In U19’s I use to torpedo the ball 70m which would bounce a further 20 or 40m. My team mates use to spin out as I use to do it with one step, your foot ends up above your head. Hold the ball at 45′ angle kick it in the middle, guts of the ball,if it comes off right it spins and glides up very high for hang time as I just read. Does make it easy to chase.

    Running at full pace you can kick the ball 90m torpedo, hard to pull off perfect, as easier to come off side of boot. Full pace and drop punting is far more accurate then torpedo but not quite the distance.

    The game use to be far rougher when I played, the AFL when a kid use to literally punch shit out of each other in the 80’s.

  63. anon[405] • Disclaimer says:
    @George Strong

    MMA doesn’t work without rules, like no eye rakes, no groin kicks, no throat strikes.

  64. @George Strong

    One particular brand of Karate does work well with MMA, and that is Kyokushin. It was founded by Mas Oyama (look him up, he was an absolute beast), and has some some elements similar to more MMA-friendly styles, like Muay Thai.

  65. sb says:
    @David BAIN

    I think you will find that Mason Cox is rather a marginal player .He did however have one great game in a final (or playoff game )
    Of course he is used as an advertisement for foreign players ( non Irish ) in the AFL

  66. sb says:

    I think Australian kickers come to the NFL either after their Australian career is over or they are younger amateur players unlikely to make the AFL who move to US college really for the adventure

    Don’t worry few will be staying permanently

    • Replies: @Anon
  67. sb says:
    @Emblematic

    Most sports were standardised in the 19th Century when people were smaller ,slower, lesser athletes etc .It would have been much easier to get the ball past the goalkeeper in soccer for instance

    However with Australian football being played on such a huge field I doubt that the space per player is less than that for other sports .Most modern sports are very cluttered and this is generally accepted .
    Moreover at the amateur social level where players are certainly not very gifted or athletic there is usually a lot of space

    • Replies: @meh
  68. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Emblematic

    I’m no soccer expert, but I think coaches should have players take more shots from outside the box, like the Kompany strike here. One advantage is that they can blast it with less chance of firing over the crossbar. If that leads to defenders marking guys outside the box, then there will be more space to dribble in the box.

    As for American football, the rules, which are tweaked as often as yearly, have been biased in favor of offense for decades.

  69. Anon[247] • Disclaimer says:
    @sb

    Don’t worry few will be staying permanently

    Skinny White boy Aussies are the least of your worries.

  70. meh says:

    It’s an interesting topic in immigration studies: how many foreign experts do you need to import? The current conventional wisdom is, for example, that Americans would be eating nothing but meatloaf in 2019 if not for never-ending mass immigration, because only a MesoAmerican can do sushi right. But the history of soccer-style kicking in American football suggests you just need a small amount of elite immigration to introduce a new technique and then Americans can carry on from there.

    Well, that had a lot more to do with the mass explosion in popularity of youth soccer in the USA in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, than it did with importing foreign soccer players by itself.

    A lot of native born Americans grew up playing soccer post-1966 (when the broadcast of the 1966 World Cup Final in the USA helped spark the youth soccer explosion and helped launch the North American Soccer League a few years after 1966), so it was a lot easier to develop “soccer style” American gridiron place kickers from native American soccer players, rather than relying on imported soccer players, once those native kids grew up and switched to gridiron.

    Not sure if the soccer example applies to the situation with Aussie-style punters as Aussie rules is still an extremely marginal game in the USA, with a relative handful of native adult amateur players and no youth player development at all worth mentioning.

    The same is true for rugby league; rugby union does have a larger following in the USA than Aussie rules or rugby league, but American rugby union players don’t in general get introduced to the game until they are at university by which time it is too late to inculcate basic skills at the kind of high level you can get with serious youth skill development.

    Basically you need very large numbers of kids learning these skills starting at a very young age if you are going to develop the kinds of numbers of talented adult players that you need.

    So if Aussie style punting is going to take off with the natives you’re going to have to rely on American gridiron coaches teaching it to youth players because there isn’t going to be a mass explosion of youth Aussie rules or youth rugby in the USA in our lifetimes or, probably, ever.

    Aussie rules and rugby don’t have the same kind of worldwide glamor and popularity, or the prior history in the USA (where soccer was a popular working class/ethnic sport in the late 19th and early 20th centuries), which soccer has, to create a new mass youth adoption of those sports in the USA.

    A lot of the European soccer players who came over to the USA in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s stayed here and went into coaching youth soccer, which is something to consider for your question. Could you import enough Aussie punters and convince them to stay and to train American youth punters to make the conversion? The numbers of imported Aussie punters would be very small compared to foreign soccer players who came over in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  71. @meh

    Good questions.

    The immense size of the Aussie Rule pitch or field or whatever works against the sport catching on here the way soccer has caught on as a popular sport to play.

    • Replies: @meh
  72. meh says:
    @sb

    Most sports were standardised in the 19th Century when people were smaller ,slower, lesser athletes etc .It would have been much easier to get the ball past the goalkeeper in soccer for instance

    The problem with your theory is that soccer was just as low scoring back in the 19th century as it is now.

    Increase in size, strength, conditioning, athleticism of soccer players over the past 150+ years has been a kind of evolutionary arms race where everyone is running as fast as they can, just to stay in place.

  73. meh says:
    @Steve Sailer

    The immense size of the Aussie Rule pitch or field or whatever works against the sport catching on here the way soccer has caught on as a popular sport to play.

    In the mid- to late- 19th century there were still a lot of cricket grounds (in some cases with actual covered seating like old baseball parks) in major American cities; a lot of the early American professional baseballers started out as professional cricketers. By the early 20th century cricket was almost extinct in the USA although it hung on in Philadelphia until shortly after the first World War.

    If cricket had survived as a sport in the USA in the 20th century, even if only as an elite country club sport like golf or tennis (some of the more famous American country clubs known for golf or tennis now, started out as cricket clubs in the 19th century), then there would be a lot more venues capable of hosting full sized Aussie rules matches.

    An Aussie rules field is the same as a cricket field in terms of size and shape, because it was a sport originally devised to give cricketers something to do during the winter off-season, and unlike soccer or rugby, the Aussie rules game never reduced the dimensions of the field to something more reasonable and economical.

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