Michael Dickson is one of the top punters in the NFL, being one of the few punters capable of delivering long punts and dancing the ball down around the goal line with precision and touch.
Dickson is the latest in a long line of Australian punters to make the move to the United States, as the pipeline from Aussie Rules Football to major college football and the NFL has widened. Dickson’s Aussie Rules experience paid off against the Rams on Thursday night when he pulled off the uncommon feat of a successful double punt, which caused a lot of uncertainty before everyone kind of threw their hands in the air.
Dickson’s first attempt gets blocked clean, but the ball stays behind the line of scrimmage so he scoops it with one hand and darts upfield. However, he recognizes that he’s not likely to pick up the first down, as he is a punter running the football and many much larger and faster men are chasing him, even if he has blockers, so he pulls up and boots it again, this time getting a friendly roll to pin the Rams back deep.
The one-handed scoop is without a doubt the most amazing aspect of this move, and the second kick, considering the circumstances, is quite spectacular. On the field, where they initially threw a flag but then picked it up, and in the booth, where Mike Pereira appeared adamant he couldn’t do it but then indicated he could if he kept behind the line of scrimmage, there was considerable misunderstanding. That is, in fact, the current standard.
That last portion is a little debatable because he is right on the line when he sends it, but the Rams didn’t challenge it, and no one outside of L.A. will be too upset that they let it stand because it was so cool.