Dan Gartland
Sunday September 20th, 2015

While Australian-rugby-league-star-turned-49ers-running-back Jarryd Hayne hasn’t exactly burst on the scene in his first two NFL games, Aussie writer Matt Cleary, who live blogged both games for The Guardian, is quickly becoming a cult hero. 

Cleary claims to be a total NFL novice, but we wanted to make sure he wasn’t bluffing and decided to quiz him on some of the more unusual terms in football.

We spoke to Matt after he finished covering San Francisco’s blowout loss to the Steelers and asked him to define some tricky football lingo. Some phrases like “bootleg” and the difference between the 4–3 defense and 3–4 defense baffled him, but he was at least able to take a stab at the others.

The ‘S’ in ‘BEARS’ is crooked at Soldier Field

Play-action

Is that when someone fakes an injury?

Coffin corner

I reckon that’s where a quarterback passes to a wide receiver and then 10 blokes jump on him.

Pooch kick

You know what I reckon that is? That’s the American version of Australia’s “mongrel punt,” which is a wobbly, useless punt.

Statue of Liberty

I don’t know about that one but I’ll have a crack anyway. I reckon it’s when the quarterback stands there like a statue and he’s also delivered the ball to someone else who’s running another way. Bully for me for that one.

Flea flicker

I couldn’t even hazard a guess.

Pulling guard

He’s the one in the nightclub who’s picking up the girls.


Cleary says he’ll be blogging a few more Niners games for The Guardian and maybe a few more for some American outlets. There’s also the possibility of blogging some World Series games, so we can look forward to asking him about the difference between the safety squeeze and suicide squeeze. 

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