McBriar Punts in NFL Probowl
Saturday, February 10 2007 @ 06:00 pm ACDT
Contributed by: Troy Thompson
Matt McBriar started out in Melbourne playing Aussie Rules footy. His long kicking ability was spotted in a long kicking competition in Melbourne and through contacts including former Melbourne and West Coast AFL footballer Darren Bennett he made his way from Old Brighton in the VAFA to college gridiron football in Hawaii. He's now reached the very top - punting in the Pro Bowl.
His promising punting returns in Hawaii led to NFL tryouts and he signed a free-agent contract with the Denver Broncos, he was traded to Seattle during a training camp and then was released just before the season. The Dallas Cowboys invited him to compete for the job in 2004 and McBriar has been their punter since.
An outstanding season earned him the Pro Bowl appearance on the NFC team in Hawaii to be played today. As discussed in previous articles there is some danger of the NFL attracting young talent away from our game to the lure of bigger bucks in the American game. McBriar is a different case though as it is generally not thought that he would have gone on to an AFL career.
The bonus of Australians appearing in the NFL with an Aussie Rules background is that it exposes more Americans to our game, which in the long term can only be a good thing. There is also the possibility of some interaction with the USAFL teams being a bonus too - McBriar has attended Dallas Magpies games, which has been a positive for both the expat Aussie and the Texan footy players alike.
MyK Aussie Web TV did an interview with McBriar a number of years ago that can be viewed at the following link: McBriar interview.