Aussie rookie sensation Michael Dickson has sent the NFL world into meltdown by drop-kicking the ball to kick-off.
The extraordinary moment occurred late in the fourth quarter of the Seattle Seahawks’ loss to the Chicago Bears on Tuesday (AEST).
Dickson is the Seahawks’ punter, but he was brought in for a special kick-off late in the game.
The Seahawks kicked off from the 50-yard line after a Bears penalty moved the kick-off forward.
ESPN commentators Joe Tessitore and Jason Witten were left scratching their heads watching the Sutherland Shire-raised Dickson.
“A drop-kick kick-off?” Tessitore asked.
“We are going to send our stat folks into overdrive here, but I’m going to put it out there.
“You tell me the last time you ever saw a drop kick kick-off in the NFL?”
Witten, a star tight end for the Dallas Cowboys for 15 years, replied: “I don’t know if it ever happened Joe.”
And the drop-kick worked as intended, forcing a return from the one-yard-line, which Anthony Miller could only get to the 15.
Seattle’s 19-season veteran kicker Sebastian Janikowski usually kicks off and uses a tee, but coach Pete Carroll is known for using non-traditional methods and gambled with Dickson’s rugby method.
Fans erupted on social media after the crazy moment, with many also saying they’d never seen it in an NFL game.
Did Michael Dickson just pull off a dropkick? Nice.
— James Ebo (@james_ebo) September 18, 2018
Just saw Michael Dickson’s drop kick restart. Kid’s a sensation already. #SEAvsCHI
— jonnyforeigner (@j_foreigner) September 18, 2018
Michael Dickson is a different breed of punters https://t.co/ZqSng37KZq
— Logan McPherson (@Logan__15) September 18, 2018
— David Alessandrini (@DA_SportsTakes) September 18, 2018
Michael Dickson confirmed Seattle season MVP
— Yven (@wgnwYven) September 18, 2018
Michael Dickson is already a pro bowler
— David Allen (@Doc_Texas) September 18, 2018
Me after watching Michael Dickson drop kick A KICKOFF. pic.twitter.com/vwly1nDqvq
— Josh Voight (@JoshVoightNews) September 18, 2018
— beardosstavross (@beardosstavross) September 18, 2018
Michael Dickson with a Drop-Kick Kickoff, I have never seen that
— david m (@daverin2005) September 18, 2018
Michael Dickson is so good that Seattle decided they needed him to do a thing on kickoffs that no one ever really does on kickoffs. 🐐 https://t.co/JXO2XPM5fX
— Wescott Eberts (@SBN_Wescott) September 18, 2018
With just 14 seconds to go in the game and the Seahawks needing a touchdown to tie, the Australian attempted another drop kick – this time a short one hoping his team would recover.
They didn’t and the Bears held on for the 24-17 win.
Dickson led all punters after his debut NFL game last week against the Denver Broncos with 57.5 yards net average per punt and he continued that form early against the Bears with booming pinpoint 40, 54, 53 and 55 yard efforts in his first four punts.
Midway through the second quarter he showed he was human when he shanked his fifth punt and it only travelled 10 yards over the sideline.
Dickson was also let down by his coverage unit, with Bears’ punt returner Tarik Cohen averaging 14 yards on four returns, including a high of 32 yards.
Dickson had seven punts for an average of 36.9 yards.
Dickson’s historic debut shocks America
The 22-year-old former Sydney Swans Academy member broke records in his NFL debut last week.
Dickson, from Sydney’s Sutherland Shire, became the first player in NFL history to boot six or more punts for an average of 59-plus yards against the Denver Broncos.
He was helped by Denver’s thinner air because of the city’s high elevation, but his historic performance in his first NFL regular season game has made him a star and a headache for opponents.
After the Denver game the Seattle Times ran the headline, “Best game ever by a Seahawks punter? An NFL punter?”
Other reports had the headlines “Seahawks rookie Michael Dickson is a punting god” and “Seahawks rookie Michael Dickson is the world’s most captivating punter”.
And he’s not the only Aussie punter shining
Another Australian rookie punter, the Philadelphia Eagles’ Cameron Johnston, is also causing a sensation and breaking NFL records.
His 53.9 yards per punt average after two games was reportedly the highest in 49 years in the NFL and the third highest in the history of the league.
Dickson and Johnston are both graduates of Nathan Chapman’s Melbourne-based Prokick Australia punting school.