Aussie NFL star Jordan Mailata sheds tears of joy after playing starring role in Philadelphia’s crushing win over the 49ers to make the Super Bowl – then gives a funny shout-out to Beyoncé
- Mailata made key contributions in NFC Championship win
- Aussie broke down with his fiancee after the match
- Revealed how Beyoncé helped him discover the NFL
Jordan Mailata’s four-year journey from NRL reject to NFL star brought him to tears on Monday after he played a leading role in helping drive Philadelphia to a Super Bowl berth.
The western Sydney product once again did great work at his left tackle position as his Eagles thrashed the San Francisco 49ers 31-7 to book a date in the year’s biggest game – and he couldn’t contain his joy once the NFC Championship match was over.
All two metres and 166kg of the former South Sydney Rabbitohs player was shaking with joy as he wept and embraced his fiancee Niki Ikahihifo-Bender on the field shortly after full-time.
When a sideline reporter asked him when he first knew about the Super Bowl, the man mountain gave a very surprising answer.
‘I first heard of the Super Bowl when Beyoncé was performing her halftime show, so shout-out to Beyoncé!’ he said of the music superstar’s routine in 2013.
Mailata couldn’t contain his emotions after he was a key contributor to Philadelphia winning through to the Super Bowl
The 166kg, two-metre-tall former NRL reject soaked in the moment with his fiancee Niki Ikahihifo-Bender after the Eagles crushed San Francisco
Mailata also had a few choice words about his coach Nick Sirianni’s decision to go for it on fourth down with the Eagles deep in their own territory just before halftime in what turned out to be a crucial gamble.
‘I don’t know how Sirianni walks around with the set of cojones that he has,’ he said.
‘That’s crazy. How’s the man walk around like that? Fourth down, in a big playoff game? Kudos to him. Big cojones.’
Mailata was praised by fans for throwing strong blocks during the big win, including a crucial effort on a touchdown run by Miles Sanders, and another on a score by quarterback Jalen Hurts.
One fan on Twitter described the Aussie’s rise from obscurity to the pinnacle of the sport as a ‘Hollywood movie in the making’ – and they weren’t wrong.
The 25-year-old had never played a game of American football when he was drafted by the Eagles in 2018 after he spent years trying – and failing – to hold down a regular spot with NRL teams South Sydney and the Bulldogs.
The Aussie revealed he first found out about the NFL when he watched Beyoncé performing during the Super Bowl halftime show in 2013 (pictured)
To complicate matters, he was kept out of rugby league for 18 months when doctors discovered he had a heart condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, which had to be corrected with surgery.
Once he was told to lose an unhealthy amount of weight to make it in the NRL, his manager Chris Orr suggested they put a highlights package together – and it found its way into the hands of NFL scouts.
Philadelphia’s current offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland was immediately impressed, despite Mailata never pulling on a football helmet.
While acknowledging it would take some time for him to learn the finer points of blocking and American football in general, experts were impressed at his tremendous physique and sub-20 per cent body fat percentage, and his excellent speed and agility for his size.
It’s been a stunning rise through the ranks for Mailata, who is now just the second Australian ever named to play in a Super Bowl
The former South Sydney Rabbitoh took a huge risk when he left to chase his dream in the States – and it has paid off to the tune of as much as $88million
After standing out at the NFL draft combine, Mailata was optimistic that a team could take a chance on him as a project player – and the Eagles did just that, drafting him in 2018.
He finally made his NFL debut on September 13, 2020 against Washington, after rookie Jack Driscoll went down. He then made his starting debut in week four – and never looked back.
From week 11 until his season ended with one match remaining thanks to concussion, Mailata was in the league’s top 15 offensive tackles.
Given his spot on the left is probably the most important position on the gridiron outside of the quarterback, it is a phenomenal accomplishment – and the accolades have kept coming ever since.
Mailata was signed to a four-year contract worth up to $88 million last September in what would probably have been his proudest moment in the sport – until the final whistle sounded and made Philadelphia’s Super Bowl appearance official.
He’ll become just the second Australian named to play in the NFL’s showpiece game, after punter Ben Graham became the first in 2009.
Post source: Daily mail