Sav Rocca interview by Jeremy Treatman 10/13/09
How have you liked the first 3 years as an NFL player?
It’s been great. I am loving it over here. It is very similar to my last job I had in Australia in Melbourne. The only difference is that I’m playing a different sport and that my extended family is not here. I still get back to see them a couple times of year which is good. I generally go home straight after the season and come back for training roughly in April, and I sometimes get home in July again when we get a break. It is similar here to where I live at home. I live in the quiet suburbs, like in Australia, and get to spend time with my direct family.
What Professional Sport did you play?
For 15 years I played Australian Rules. We don’t have to go through the college system to get selected, so I was pretty much playing since my last year in high school.
So how did you get in the NFL and the Eagles?
Well, during my last season in Australian Rules Football, I decided that it was going to be my last year there and I thought I would give it a go over here and so I started kicking from time to time. Once I retired, I came over here and tried to have a work out with Buffalo just to see how it would go and see about trying to get in NFL Europe. So that was the initial plan. They said after my tryout that I was certainly NFL Europe potential. I went home thinking that was the case.
When I got home after about 3 or 4 weeks I decided to come back here and get some coaching. Once I got over here and was going through the coaching I tried to contact the Green Bay people. Once I did, they told me they had selected the guys they were sending to NFL Europe. So I got back on the phone and called Ben Graham, an Australian who was punting for the Jets. He said to call his agent and she might have a couple of ideas. That was two weeks before I was going to leave. So I decided to extend my stay. And 2 day’s before I was to return to Australia she called and told me if I could get down to Philly (I was in NY) they would give me a work out. Pretty much from that work out they said they wanted me to return in March. That’s where I ended up.
When you were battling Dirk Johnson did you think you would make punter?
It was hard to make the team. At the time Dirk Johnson had been in the league for 4 to 5 years and had experience and I was trying to get a better understanding of the game and learn the rules from scratch. I didn’t know the rules at all. It was like learning a new language for me. I thought I could kick as well as Dirk but I wasn’t to sure if they were going to go with experience or the kicking power that I had.
Did you know about the fans in Philly?
I was informed about the fans. They are not too dissimilar to the fans that I have experienced back in Australia. My first team back home (Collingwood magpies) had some fanatical supporters where if you lost they were not too happy about it, and they would let the team know about it. I was in a pressure situation where if I did not have such a great game it was my fault that the team didn’t win. So I was definitely told that by the supporters that they were unhappy. It is good that I am a punter and that I have a back seat to that and most of the media scrutiny I suppose compare to the high profile players.
Was Australian Rules football more physical?
Generally, in Australian Rules football I was on the field between 50% and 100% of the time. The game is more physical because you are out there a lot more and the ball is constantly moving, there are no stop set plays, we are always running, you might get a couple of bumps and tackles here and there. It is a lot more physical work. At times the impact in this league because of the protection of the pads and helmets is far greater than in Australian Rules football.
How do you like the food in the States?
It took me a little bit of time to get use too. It’s a little different here, there are more fried foods here. I suppose you guys like a lot of chicken. We are more beef oriented. At the same time you just need to know where to eat and know where to go. It takes a little while to get used to but once you do it’s fine.
What kind of person are you off the field?
I am a pretty simple guy. I enjoy my life, enjoy living it. I make sure everyday I get something out of it. It’s good to get over here and experience what I’m doing.
Last movie: The Ugly Truth
Favorite Actor: Tom Hanks
TV Shows: Heroes, Lost,
Music: U2, Inxs, ’80, nothing too hard. relaxing
Famous person I met: Prime Minister of Australia.
What sport is better for you?
They are two different sports…Australian Rules is a continuous and fee flowing game.
American football is a stop-start game. But when it comes to my body type, I am more suited for American. In Australian Rules, those who don’t run too much run 4 to 6 miles a game. Those who do run do clock about 13 miles. Now having played American for a few years I find it is more suited for my body type.
Are you raising your family in both countries?
We here for 8 to 9 months, when we go back my children go to pre-school and school. My kids have friends in both countries and go to school in both. It’s great for them to experience both. They enjoy living in both countries. They are growing up really well. Our third is coming along in early Feb, don’t know what it is, I like the surprise.
How do you like playing for Andy Reid?
He’s been great, he coaches the team well. I think he gets the most out of every player. He tries to keep you confident and enthusiastic. He is very thorough.