“Kickalicious”, the larger-than-life nickname for Norwegian football player Harvard Rugland, isn’t just hyperbole, as the Detroit Lions are finding out.
Rugland, who got himself noticed in the football world in a rather unorthadox way–with a YouTube video that went viral–was put to the test on Friday when the Lions went up against the Jets in the opening preseason game, and responded beautifully by making both his field goal attempts. The team brought home a victory of 26-17, and veteran players are all smiles as they face a season with the new kicker and with David Akers, who signed on last year.
“I think we’re all happy to have him as a teammate,” quarterback Matthew Stafford said of Rugland. “The guy is a great guy. It’s refreshing to see how much fun he’s having. The guy’s having a blast here, and he’s kicking the ball great.”
For a team that has struggled over the years, the new lineup may prove to be just what they need to get back their fire. And for a guy who got the NFL’s attention doing trick shots on YouTube, he’s taking the opportunity very seriously, something the other team members appreciate. Rugland says that before he got his shot on Friday night, he’d only seen two NFL games in person.
“I was sitting in New York freezing, at the top of the stadium,” Rugland said. “I like this a lot better.”
The 28-year old is aware that he has to prove himself, but he is well on his way to endearing himself to Lions fans. Of course, he’s still taking a little good-natured ribbing from his teammates.
“He’s a great dude,” Ndamukong Suh said. “Obviously, his accent is hilarious.”
Image: Detroit Lions