Eagles OT Jordan Mailata Settles Debate, Admits Football Is ‘A Lot Harder’ Than Rugby

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The debate has been put to rest: Jordan Mailata says football is tougher than rugby.

Time to tell that friend of yours who played club rugby in college…

The Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle took up American football just five years ago after first pursuing rugby. The now-25-year-old out of Australia caught the eye of scouts and he joined the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program.

Now, he’s about to cap off his third NFL season by playing in Super Bowl LVII.

“There’s so much technique involved in (football) — it’s an absolute chess match — if you step 6 inches too far, you could ruin the play. To me, just from my experience, I really do believe that football is a lot harder than rugby.”

It’s worth noting that according to USA Today, this was said within earshot of several Australian reporters who shared a laugh. So maybe he was just trolling, but, meh, probably not.

“But don’t come at me now,” he told the reporters with a laugh. “You’ve got to give (football) a try, then we’ll talk.”

Jordan Mailata
Jordan Mailata swapped rugby for football just five years ago. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Mailata Took It One Step At A Time

Obviously, there are some similarities between rugby and football. Still, switching sports and being successful at such a high level is something not many people would be able to do. It seems as though Mailata has the best mindset for adapting to American football and becoming one of the NFL’s premier left tackles.

“My mindset every day was to get 1% better,” Mailata said. “I think the hardest thing that I had to overcome were the expectations – I had none (by others), but I thought I did. And you have to go in here trying to get better every day. Well, how do you do that?

“For me, my biggest goal that I took away from the international program, was that being an international player, I had to work two times harder than an American player.”

See there you have it, if you want to do anything take it one step at a time.

If that thing you want to do is become a standout left tackle in the NFL, it doesn’t hurt to be 6-foot-8 and 365 lbs.

Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle

Written by Matt Reigle

Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.

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