The Norwegian Football Wonder

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The Norwegian Football Wonder


Category: Culture / Lifestyle

Just ask him to name the quarterback of the New England Patriots or the Denver Broncos. I have no idea,” said Rugland, a 28-year-old from Norway.       

When asked how many yards an offense is penalized for a false start, Rugland paused. “I’d just be guessing,” he finally admitted.       

“Look, I don’t know much about football,” Rugland said by telephone from his home in Algard, a small town near the southwestern coast of Norway. “But I’m fascinated by it. There’s great athletes and speed and big hits. I thought it was interesting. So I wondered, What can I do?”       

Using tools not typically associated with athletic prowess — YouTube, Facebook, Skype and Gmail — Rugland parlayed a homemade video that went viral into a tryout as a kicker with the Jets last week. He might be the first professional prospect to replace college football experience with social media savvy. In the four-minute video, posted on YouTube in mid-September under the title “Kickalicious,” the left-footed Rugland pulls off some of the most amusing tricks with a football since Lucy began duping Charlie Brown. It has been viewed more than 1.5 million times.       

In one clip Rugland kicks the ball from a dock to someone in a canoe floating about 25 yards away. Twice. In another, he kicks the ball into the arms of someone standing through a car’s sunroof. That might not seem so spectacular, except the car is cruising along a country road. The most eye-popping trick is saved for last. Rugland punts one ball high into the air and then quickly kicks a second ball off a tee. The balls collide in midair.       

“That last kick, it took about eight tries,” Rugland said. “The basketball kick, I wanted it to go straight in, but it kept hitting the rim. That actually took a while. That could have been like 40 tries.”

Source: The New York Times

Published: February 23, 2024