The revolution we predicted may not be televised, but it's underway. (Actually, it'll certainly be televised. It already is, thanks to FOGTB Beans Hightower.)
We've already seen Aussie rugby star Jarryd Hayne make the leap to the NFL, offering an object lesson in the uni-directional transferability of skillsets from one sport to the other. And we've seen speedsters like Carlin Isles and Perry Baker transition from football to rugby, at least the sevens version. The Seattle Seahawks made news two years ago as they publicly adopted rugby tackling techniques and fielded one of the NFL's most effective defensive units.
Now, one more step towards assimilation, as New England Patriots safety and erstwhile Ohio State rugger Nate Ebner is taking a summer break from the NFL to train with the USA Eagles in the run-up to the 2016 Rio Olympics.
I find several things about this news interesting. First, Bill Belichick and his staff are obviously readers of this blog. More importantly, the Patriots clearly see benefit (or at least limited risk) in allowing one of their key players (New England recently re-signed Ebner) to participate in a non-football contact sport. The Patriots are widely known as one of the more creative NFL teams - this move may well open the eyes of other teams, and open doors to other potential cross-sport athletes. Also, while Ebner's clearly fast, he's not in the Isles/Baker mold. He came up in rugby as a 15s fly half - he's not a dilettante by any stretch. Finally, if Ebner makes the Olympic team (which is by no means guaranteed), this will be one more high-visibility story for rugby in 2016.
The ball, oblong as it may be, is rolling. Our genius is soon to be so obvious to the masses that we'll be unable to go for a beer in public without disguises. I'm planning to get tattoos all over my body and pretend to be Mark.