'Absolute mayhem': American icon loses it over AFL return

A 50-50 split images shows Pat McAfee on the left, and AFL players Jack Riewoldt and Will Hoskin-Elliott on the right.
Former NFL player and newly minted AFL superfan Pat McAfee has been raving about the return of Aussie Rules on Thursday night. Pictures: YouTube/The Pat McAfee Show/Getty Images

America’s newest, biggest AFL fan was jumping for joy when Collingwood and Richmond faced off on Thursday night - but he’s not sure why so many Aussie’s felt let down by the spectacle.

Former NFL player turned podcaster Pat McAfee gained some notoriety in Australia when major sporting codes across the world suspended their seasons in the wake of the coronavirus.

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The AFL was one of the last league’s to officially put their season on hiatus, but not before round one caught the attention of McAfee who, just days into what has become a global saga, was desperate for live sport.

While the return of the AFL resulted in a somewhat muted fashion, with a draw between Richmond and Collingwood, McAfee was raving about the spectacle - despite sleeping through the first half due to the time difference.

Recording his podcast right after the final siren, McAfee joked he’d been chastised for calling the result a ‘tie’ and that he was confused by the Australian reaction to the first game back.

“I got yelled at for calling it a tie — it is actually a draw. ‘Have some respect for the sport, McAfee’, is what I was told,” he quipped.

“All of Australia is talking about how bad of a game it was. Australia kept tweeting me, ‘This is such a bad game’.

“For me, I don’t know much about it. I thought it was intense, I thought it was insane, I thought it was absolute mayhem.

“I had no idea that was a trash, cr***y game until once in a while the commentator would say, ‘That’s the worst kick he’s had in his life’.

“I don’t think it’s a terrible game because I haven’t been jaded long enough to know what great games look like.”

Aussie rules gaining traction with American fans

McAfee showed his AFL fandom was no flash in the pan, with the former Indianapolis Colts star clearly having done his research into the league’s biggest names.

Even he noticed when the likes of Dustin Martin showed some effects of a few months away from footy.

“They’re coming off a three-month quarantine, they might be a little rusty, like old Dusty was for the Richmond Tigers. A little rusty Dusty this morning,” McAfee said.

“But if you don’t know any better like we don’t, and most of America doesn’t, those last five minutes were insane.

“That second half they were saying it was rusty, they were saying it was bad Aussie rules football but for me I enjoyed the hell out of it.

“It was an awesome game in my eyes.

“All the Aussie rules fans in Australia are like, ‘This stinks, this stinks’, for me I don’t know. I thought it was a great game.”