Although he might not be feeling it right now, Mitch Wishnowsky can walk away from Las Vegas proud after his incredible performance for the 49ers.
The Perth-born NFL star lit up the Super Bowl with a glittering display against the Kansas City Chiefs, earning universal praise as his side threatened to send Taylor Swift home in tears.
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By the midpoint of the second half, the 49ers’ punter had an impressive average of over 50 yards across four punt attempts, with three of those landing inside the Chiefs’ 20-yard line.
Monday’s Las Vegas showdown marks Wishnowsky’s second time playing in the game that stops North America and his performance had several fans calling for him to be the first punter to be named Super Bowl MVP.
Initially an Aussie rules player who aimed for the AFL, Wishnowsky went on to make a name for himself in the US.
But he will have to wait to become the first Aussie to play in a Super Bowl winning team, as the Chiefs claimed the win 25-22 in overtime.
Despite the 49ers’ offensive challenges, including a first-drive fumble and several penalties, Wishnowsky’s punting effectively maintained their field position at important stages of the game.
As the second half got underway, Wishnowsky punted the ball high into the air, confusing the Chiefs defence and giving his team plenty of time to run down the field.
At another crucial moment, Wishnowsky’s teammate Chris Conley was waiting on the edge of the end zone and collected the ball, giving San Francisco excellent field position.
“You cannot execute it better than that,” the ESPN commentator said.
“Conley got down there in a hurry, just turned and waited for the ball to bounce into his arms.
“That is a huge play by Wishnowsky.”
A punter still hasn’t won the Super Bowl MVP, but Wishnowsky attracted a lot of support online to pick up the prestigious accolade.
NFL analyst Aaron Schatz was in high praise of Wishnowsky’s performance against the Chiefs, who are known for their strong punting game.
“Punting should be a KC advantage, but that was a great punt by Wishnowsky for SF,” Schatz tweeted.
Wishnowsky also played a crucial role in the game’s first scoring play by holding for Jake Moody’s 55-yard field goal, setting a record for the longest field goal made in Super Bowl history.
Following a sack of 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy, Wishnowsky was called upon once again, executing another crucial 51-yard punt.
Australian media mogul Craig Hutchison posted: “The boys own story from Perth Mitch Wishowsky coming up big here under pressure and having an impact.
“Has a genuine shot at being the first Aussie punter with a @SuperBowl ring from here. He’s helping it happen. Wishnowsky is having a blinder and has nailed his four punts so far.”
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