Gaelic Footballers Chasing NFL Dream

Over the years, we’ve seen a number of sportsmen cross over from other disciplines into the NFL. Soccer players, rugby players and others have made the journey with varying degrees of success.

More recently, two Gaelic football players have made the trip across the Atlantic from Ireland to America in search of an NFL dream.

Perfect Partners?

The latest Gaelic Footballer to try their luck in a new disciple is Jude McAtamney. Having represented Swatragh for a while, the youngster tweeted at the start of August that he had accepted a scholarship to Chowan University where he will study and play American football.

It’s reported that McAtamney was inspired to make the switch after reading about David Shanahan who had followed a similar path a year earlier. Shanahan went to Georgia Tech to pursue his own dream of becoming a full time NFL star.

Gaelic Football could be quite close in nature to American football. The use of hands and feet is similar to that of rugby and it’s easy to see that the best players could be in a good position to make the crossover.

There’s a long way to go but both men are in good surroundings. A number of former NFL players have graduated from Chowan including Fred Banks, Mark Royals, Jerry Holmes, Curtis Whitley and Robert Brown.

One of the most successful to graduate was George Koonce who won the Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers in 1996. Like all NFL teams, the Packers will be involved in future drafts where players such as Shanahan and McAtamney will come under the radar. As Chowan is at Carolina University, the Panthers may also be monitoring the current intake.

Panthers Needing Reinforcements

The Carolina Panthers will certainly be looking for strong reinforcements after a disappointing 2020. The team finished the regular season with a 5-11 record and that was only enough to put them in third place in the NFC South.

There was no postseason for the men from the Bank of America Stadium and few expect their fortunes to improve in 2021. Current football betting markets, as supplied via sources from, show that the Kansas City Chiefs are the favorites to win the Super Bowl in 2022, just ahead of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Behind the top two, there is a gap to the Buffalo Bills, the Los Angeles Rams and the San Francisco 49ers. Meanwhile, the Carolina Panthers are way down in 27th place as a long outside bet.

Those odds will change in the run up to the new season although it’s unlikely that there will be any sudden interest in the Panthers. Arabianbetting will adjust their markets and will continue to do so once the season is underway.

News articles and opinion pieces will be available and any readers who want to take advantage of the markets can easily do so. A panel of recommended sportsbooks will be on hand and most of them will have welcome promotions in place, along with a choice of funding options and effective customer service.

To make any inroads in the betting, the Panthers will have to make some seriously good draft picks in the coming years and they will consider anyone from the world of Gaelic Football and beyond.

The Elusive Crossover

The NFL received a boost in popularity in the UK in the 1980s when the league was first picked up by live TV broadcasters. Early viewing figures were impressive and the sport began to be played at grassroots level across the country.

Organised matches followed and we saw the introduction of a major European League. Founded in 1989, NFL Europe ran from 1991 until it ceased operations in 2007. In 1997, soccer player Clive Allen featured for the London Monarchs as a specialist kicker. A year earlier, Scottish rugby union international Gavin Hastings appeared for the Scottish Claymores who would go on to win the World Bowl.

Successful crossovers into the NFL are rarer but they can happen and there is a pathway laid down for these young Gaelic football players. It may seem like a circuitous route but there are similarities between the two sports and they may well have a bright NFL future in store

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