Action Sports 3 years ago

The Hayne Plane: Grounded, or just taking off?

  • The Hayne Plane: Grounded, or just taking off?
How time has flown.

It's been almost a year since Jarryd Hayne announced his departure from Parramatta Eels to chase an American dream. 

Only recently have we seen footage emerging of Jarryd Hayne making slippery runs and evading linebackers, and Australia are loving every second of it. So much so that everyone on social media are becoming what I like to refer to as couch experts. 

Sure, it's great and all to see an Australian make headlines for an un-Australian sport. But is the attention too much?

As the saying goes, the statistics never lie.

In two pre-season exhibition games, he's accounted for almost 260 yards as a punt returner/running back. Last year, the San Francisco 49ers averaged 11 yards per return, while Jarryd Hayne has averaged 28 yards in his second game alone. Sounds like the team has found something of an X-Factor, right?

But, it is only pre-season for the time being. While his stats may be impressive, enough so to get him as a player on Madden 16, I don't think the people should make this big a fuss over a player who is, effectively, untried in a full professional season of American football. 

He was in the top 3 performers for rushing leaders and punt returns, and while he may not top each of those lists he has the highest average of the top 3 in each of those categories.

Fast forward a little while more, NFL season starts and we have one of the most unforgettable debuts ever.

He fumbles the ball on his first play.

Granted, the punt came in a lot shorter than he was probably expecting. But damn son, how did you manage that? In any case, it wasn't a good look for him, and while he didn't have the greatest of first outings, the 49ers won their opening game.

The best look we've had at Hayne in an NFL match was their recent embarrassing loss to the Arizona Cardinals, in which Hayne had a solid 37 yard return which set up the 49ers only score for the match. It was a positive note on an otherwise poor match for San Francisco, and a glimpse of what he can really do for the 49ers.

But for a media outlet to call it a "stunning 37 yard return" just goes to show how naive and uninformed some Australians can be if they're merely on the Hayne Plane and not a passionate NFL fan.  

Sure, it was an impressive play, don't take anything away from it. But when you have Minnesota rookie Cordarrelle Patterson returning 105 yards for a touchdown in the same week, it makes me think, are we really getting into the NFL as a nation, or are we just riding the Hayne Plane for all it's worth?

What everyone needs to understand is that he is STILL a rookie. Yes, he may have been an absolute star while playing rubgy league, but at the end of the day it's a completely different universe for him at the moment. He may have had a ripper of a preseason, but right now he's still finding his feet, he's still a rookie. He isn't going to dazzle on every single play, he's played a handful of minutes. With injuries to some of the 49ers key players, Hayne may find more chances coming his way. 

But until he gets a good couple of months into his career, when he's settled more, understanding the play, can I just ask one thing.

Lay off the guy, sheesh! Even the NFL commentary team say that Australian media is blowing up at Hayne's every move. Our media are the butchering type, when it comes to superstar players or even bloody politics. 

I do think he's a fantastic athlete but he needs time to really grow and become part of the game, rather than be seen as a rugby convert playing NFL.

Give the guy some time. It was never going to happen overnight.
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