Aussie Wishnowsky falls short in 49ers' Super Bowl loss

Would-be hero Mitch Wishnowsky has been reduced to a sub-plot in the record books after falling painfully short of becoming the first Australian to play in a winning Super Bowl team.

Much more than just playing, Wishnowsky excelled before his San Francisco 49ers suffered a crushing 25-22 overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in a nerve-shredding Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas.

Commentators marvelled at Wishnowsky's "unbelievable punting" as the real-life rags-to-riches star terrorised Chiefs kick returner Richie James with his every touch of the pigskin on Sunday (Monday AEDT).

The one-time glazier only had five kicks in almost five hours of theatre in between endless crosses to Taylor Swift - the boyfriend of Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce - and the halftime extravaganza featuring US mega-stars Usher, Alicia Keys and Jay-Z.

But Wishnowsky, who averaged 50.8 yards, almost etched his name in history with all five punts.

Mitch Wishnowsky punts against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Mitch Wishnowsky punts during San Francisco's Super Bowl loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Few could have predicted the 31-year-old former WAFL reserves player bettering his first 54-yard punt that pinned the Chiefs behind the 11-yard line in the opening quarter. "Unbelievable punting. You cannot execute it any better," one excited announcer said.

But he did, with a pearler that drove the Chiefs back to the one-yard line in the third stanza.

James fumbled another as social media lit up with calls for Wishnowsky to be the first punter ever to be awarded the Super Bowl MVP.

Such excitement was clearly a stretch, and Wishnowsky's would-be watershed moment ended in tears as the Chiefs snatched victory with a Mecole Hardman touchdown with three seconds left in overtime.

While the Chiefs become the first repeat Super Bowl champions in 19 years, and the ninth overall, Wishnowsky and the 49ers are enduring a nightmare case of deja vu.

They also lost the 2020 Super Bowl to the Chiefs, who are celebrating their third victory in five years. Wishnowsky must settle for a less wanted place in the record books as the first Australian to play in two losing Super Bowl showpieces as the Aussie curse continued in the NFL showpiece.

The Perth-born punter is the fourth Australian to lose a Super Bowl.

Defender Jesse Williams remains the only Australian with a Super Bowl ring, but that feat comes with an asterisk after Williams sat out the Seattle Seahawks' 2013 victory with a knee injury.

Jordan Mailata (Philadelphia Eagles, 2023), Arryn Siposs (Philadelphia Eagles, 2023) and Ben Graham (Arizona Cardinals, 2009) also missed out.

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