Jarryd Hayne has certainly had a baptism of fire with his transition to the NFL. The burning question is will he survive the season?
The country went mad collectively over Hayne’s switch to the NFL and as he lit up the pre-season, the networks were falling over themselves to get in line to show 49er’s games on FTA, albeit the digital channels (Seven Mate).
To date, Hayne’s playing time would not fill up one ad break in an NFL game. His learning curve has been steep but once the season proper started, Hayne had to go up against the seasoned pros and to date, you can’t honestly say he has cut the mustard can you?
I’m not knocking the bloke because it took a lot of guts to walk away from a lucrative NRL contract and start at the bottom as a rookie on an NFL team at age 27 no less.
Hayne has ability as an athlete, but playing Madden isn’t going to get you a starting spot as a running back for a professional football team.
His instincts are still grounded in league and that was evident with his latest fumble. He wasn’t used to getting tackled from behind and said as much. After playing one sport his entire life, the transition to the most technical sport in the world is a mammoth task and while ever the 49er’s are still in the playoff race, I doubt we will see much of Hayne is meaningful game time action.
If and when the 49er’s are eliminated from the playoff race and assuming Hayne is still on the active roster, then I believe the coaches will evaluate Hayne and see if he has what it takes to make a career as an NFL player. At this point in time I would estimate Hayne to be a 70/30 chance of being cut before the season ends and one more gaffe/fumble, then I doubt he remains with the 49er’s beyond that week. This is a cutthroat sport and teams ask no quarter, nor do they give any. It’s purely a business decision so the burning of the U.S. flag (for Hayne being cut) is probably a little bit of an overreaction.
That’s not to say another team won’t take a chance on Hayne but to date, his highlight reel would barely fit on a snapchat message.
It’s a bit like America’s fascination with Vegemite and all things down under dating back to the 80’s. Who knows, Hayne may create a Crocodile Dundee renaissance and the odd yank may be tempted to throw another shrimp on the barbie???
There’s no doubt if Hayne scored a touchdown, Bob Hawke would be wheeled out and a public holiday demanded and any boss to sack an employee would be labelled a bum.
The flip side to this coin is what Hayne is worth in terms of marketing to the NFL and the chance to grow the game in Australia, which to me, seems a logical decision.
Hayne may have broken the proverbial class ceiling for Aussie athletes to crack a complex sport and if there is another (a la The Empire Strike Back), then they owe a lot to Hayne and should remunerate him accordingly as there is no doubt this NFL off-season, the scouts will be out and about watching the NRL to see if the next big thing is willing to make the same leap of faith Hayne did.