SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – Tom Hackett seemingly made punters famous, not only with his entertaining interviews, but also with the hashtag: #PuntersArePeopleToo.
Hackett has since graduated from the University of Utah, but his legacy continues in the Beehive State. BYU Punter Jonny Linehan and Utah Punter Mitch Wishnowski are the “Punters from down under.”
The two rival athletes started out playing different sports. For Wishnowski, it was soccer, later switching to Australian football, like Hackett. Jonny Linehan, however, focused on rugby before coming to the United States.
He even used to make fun of American football.
“It was the furthest thing from where I saw myself in the future," he said. "We used to mock people for playing American football for all the pads they wore. But coming here now, I couldn’t see myself any other way. I fell in love with the game, and BYU, and punting.”
This rivalry actually goes deeper than Utah and BYU. Wishnowski is from Australia, while Linehan represents New Zealand. The two countries are rivals themselves in many sports, including rugby. The only difference now is that the two are involved in a rivalry as players.
Tom Hackett ended up being the bridge of friendship for these two punters, but after he finished his stint with Utah, “Tommy was training for the draft, and we went down there and had a few punts with [Linehan]” Wishnowski said.
Although these two athletes are on either side of the Holy War, they encourage one another and commend each other for their performances on the field.