Many of the best athletes in the world are playing in this Super Bowl. Patrick Mahomes can throw a football 65 yards from his knees, Jalen Hurts can squat 585 pounds, Skyy Moore is 5-foot-10 and had the largest hands of any wide receiver at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine. The most impressive athletic specimen in the game, though, is on the Philadelphia Eagles’ offensive line: left tackle Jordan Mailata.
Following their championship 2017 season, the Eagles only selected five players in the 2018 NFL Draft. Of those five, four are still on the team and will be major contributors on Super Bowl Sunday. Dallas Goedert, Avonte Maddox, and Josh Sweat got to the NFL the traditional way by playing American college football. While they were in college, Mailata was running around on a professional-rugby field in Australia and also working in demolition, scaffolding, any job to supplement his income.
Mailata was a seventh-round pick, the Eagles’ final selection in the 2018 draft. By 2021, he had signed a contract as their starting left tackle that guaranteed him $40.5 million. It took a lot of work to train a person who had never before played organized football and leave him alone on that left tackle island to protect a quarterback. The reason that the Eagles were willing to do whatever it took, this rugby player is 6-foot-8 and weighs 350 pounds.
He came through the NFL’s International Pathway Program. A program that invites a select handful of athletes from around the world to participate in a 12-week camp that teaches them the fundamentals of football. Mailata has been by far the most successful player.
That athletic part of his story alone is enough for his own Netflix movie, but this is a man of many talents. When asked by the media Wednesday how he is attempting to keep the week as normal as possible, he said one way is that he brought his guitar with him.
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If he hadn’t spent so much time on a rugby pitch growing up, maybe he would’ve become Hulk Prince. Mailata made it to Week 3 on Season 7 of The Masked Singer. He dazzled the judges’ Thingamabob and was the star of the Eagles Christmas Party. Inside that massive body, there is a true strong tenor voice that can also strum a guitar while not having removed all of the tape from his hands after practice.
Being that he is athletic enough at that size to play professional rugby, if Laurieanne Gibson worked him in dance the way that Eagles’ offensive line coach Jeff Stouteland worked him in drills, Mailata could’ve been the largest best-selling musical artist of all time.
While Stouteland, Hurts, and the rest of the Eagles may enjoy hearing him burst out a tune from time to time, I’m sure they are happy right where he is, holding down one tackle spot while Lane Johnson holds down the other.
The Eagles’ offensive line play could be the X-factor in this game. If the Chiefs cannot make enough stops in the running game, Mahomes may not have enough time to put enough points on the board to win the game.
Watching all of these athletes will make for a great show on Sunday, but remember that the huge guy on Hurts’ blind side has a backstory that is just as big.
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