Australian punter Michael Dickson has once again sent the NFL world into a frenzy following a wild ‘double punt’ play in the Seattle Seahawks 26-17 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Friday morning (AEDT).
Trailing 16-7 with 3:01 remaining in the 3rd quarter, the Seahawks’ offence were stopped on their own 21-yard line and forced to send out the punt team. Enter Dickson.
The 25-year-old had his initial punt blocked by Rams linebacker Jamir Jones, but quickly turned what could have been a disaster into one of the most remarkable special teams plays you’re likely to see.
Dickson, who spent time with the Sydney Swans academy in his youth, instinctively put his Australian rules football skills into action. Reacting first to the loose ball, he impressively scooped it up on the run with one hand, carried it 10 yards upfield, before hurriedly getting a kick away as the Rams defence closed in on him.
The punt, which somewhat resembled an AFL-style across-the-body-snap, travelled 68 yards downfield to the opposition 11-yard line - a new career-long for Dickson.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll was full of praise for Dickson afterwards, going out of his way to bring up the moment in his post-game media conference, despite not being prompted to by reporters.
“Something we should mention, and you didn’t ask about this, but that might have been one of the greatest plays I’ve ever seen a punter make. One of the greatest kicking plays in the history of the league,” Carroll said.
“I’ve seen a lot of football, but I’ve never seen that happen before.
“What a remarkable play it was, not just to kick it again, but to kick it where he kicked it and to get so much out of it.
“It was just a remarkable moment and Michael’s a pretty darn good football player.”
Fans were equally amazed by Dickson's heads-up play.
Michael Dickson is the GOAT. My dude kept his cool, scooped up the ball with 1 hand and BOOTED it 68 yards!
So @TexasFootball just producing the best kicker (@jtuck9) and Punter in the #NFL. pic.twitter.com/cdXREytTZy
— Emmanuel Acho (@EmmanuelAcho) October 8, 2021
MICHAEL DICKSON WITH THE FREAK ATHLETICISM #ForTheBrand
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) October 8, 2021
— Corey McKernan (@CoreyMcKernan) October 8, 2021
Unsurprisingly, the extraordinary series of events not only set social media alight, but also caused some confusion on-field as to whether or not the play was even legal.
A flag was initially thrown by the officiating crew to indicate a penalty had occurred, but the call was overturned due to the fact Dickson’s second punt occurred before he crossed the line of scrimmage.
Here's the official rule on the double punt (Note 3 is the pertinent one here) "A second kick from behind the line of scrimmage is legal provided the ball has not crossed the line."
Dickson legally turned a blocked kick into a 68-yard punt. Please give him an award #Seahawks pic.twitter.com/r3sNJZnpbY
— John Breech (@johnbreech) October 8, 2021
Dickson’s double punt even had some Seahawks fans calling for a banner to be hung at Lumen Field in his honour.
Dickson, who is a graduate of the Prokick Australia kicking and punting academy, was drafted by the Seahawks in the 5th Round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
He signed a four-year, $19 million (AUD) contract extension with Seattle this offseason.
Dickson’s double-punt heroics capped off what has been a crazy week for Australian punters in the NFL.
On Monday morning, San Francisco 49ers punter Mitch Wishnowsky became the first Australian to ever score a point in an NFL game, while his Philadelphia Eagles counterpart Arryn Siposs participated in just the 5th ‘no punt game’ in NFL history.
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