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2024 Schedule Release

Philadelphia Eagles News

A national hero, Jordan Mailata returns to Australia to grow the game of football

Jordan Mailata
Jordan Mailata

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – It started as a dream, Eagles offensive tackle Jordan Mailata is saying to a group of 120 wide-eyed kids who took part in an NFL Flag Football event in Sydney, Australia on Sunday. "Follow your dreams," Mailata said. "Do something you love and give it everything you have."

Mailata has done that, of course, and as he enters his seventh season with the Eagles, well established as one of the very best left tackles in the world, he is giving back. He is in Australia for two weeks as part of an NFL- and Eagles-promoted grassroots program to promote the National Football League and the Eagles, who have league marketing rights in Australia, New Zealand, and Ghana.

The idea is to increase awareness and passion of the American game in the land Down Under, something that is growing by leaps and bounds according to NFL metrics, which measured a growth of nearly a million fans in the past 12 months alone.

And it's only going to get bigger and better and more engrained in the culture, with native son Mailata – a national hero who left Australia at the age of 20 to pursue his vision – leading the way.

"Of course I wasn't sure what was going to happen to me when I left, but it was something I felt inside of me. I wanted something bigger and better and the path from Australia to the NFL was already established," said Mailata, a seventh-round selection by the Eagles in the 2018 NFL Draft. "I literally left here with nothing but the promise to myself that I would work hard and do everything I could to reach my goals, and with the help of a lot of people, that's what I did.

"My goals are still out there. I want to be the very best. I want to win championships for my home now, which is Philadelphia and for all of the amazing fans there. To come back here and spread that message to kids and to the people of Australia, it's very special to me."

A young fan in Australia awaits his chance to meet Jordan Mailata.
A young fan in Australia awaits his chance to meet Jordan Mailata.

Mailata and a group of Eagles marketing and sales executives are in Australia through this weekend's NFL Draft promoting the game in a variety of ways. They've had corporate functions to share their vision of NFL growth in both Sydney and Melbourne, have held the NFL Flag event that sold out quickly and drew more than a dozen real, true Eagles fans who showed up with their children to talk Eagles and share the game, and have a great Round 1 plan: Mailata will be on the Gold Coast prepared to announce the team's first-round draft pick as the Eagles host an NFL Draft Party at a local establishment expected to house hundreds of Eagles and NFL fans on Friday morning (Australia is 14 hours ahead of Philadelphia time).

"The Eagles and NFL put on a great day and my daughter (Maddison) was so excited to be involved as she loves the Eagles and knows how much I do," said Anthony Dalton, who drove 30 minutes with his wife and three daughters to be part of the NFL Flag experience and who learned the NFL game 30 years ago playing Madden '94 on his Super Nintendo. His first Eagles love was quarterback Donovan McNabb and his affinity has only grown from there. "Meeting Jordan and seeing him in person was great and unbelievable to see just how big he is (6-foot-8, 365 pounds). He is such a humble human being and will never forget where he came from and the fact he is an Eagle is just great.

"The day was awesome, and to see all the children out there trying something that would be totally out of their comfort zone was great. Hopefully with this, the involvement in the NFL, and especially the Philadelphia Eagles, skyrockets."

Former Eagles punter Sav Rocca, a legend in Australia from his Australian Rules Football days, joined the Eagles in Melbourne and wowed the crowd with his NFL tales from his seasons (2007-10) in Philadelphia.

"It's just starting in Australia for the NFL, so to be part of it and to inspire people, it's very special for me," Mailata said. "They love their sports here and it's very similar to Philadelphia – they are passionate about the game. Anything I can do to promote the NFL, it's why I have this platform and I want to use it for experiences like this.

"I was one of those kids sitting there wondering what was out there in the world. If I can inspire them, that's my mission. We have the best game in the world and to share my experiences means so much to me. I hope this is something that the people we've met remember for a long time because I know I surely will."

Jordan Mailata is part of a two-week promotional tour in his native country of Australia to engage with Eagles fans and help grow the game of football. On Thursday night, Mailata will announce the Eagles' top draft pick, an honor typically reserve for the Commissioner.

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