Being picked by the San Francisco 49ers in last year's NFL draft proved an emotional moment for Mitch Wishnowsky, but equally so for his Kiwi parents watching on TV on the other side of the world.
In the middle of the night in Perth, mum Penny Wishnowsky got a text from her son hinting at good news as the draft in April entered its fourth round.
She raced to wake her husband and daughter, Samantha, who made it to the lounge in time to see the 'Niners' had offered the 27-year-old the first of two punting spots on their roster.
"We were over the moon," dad Marty Wishnowsky told Newshub. "The neighbours must've wondered if we were a family of mad people, screaming and yelling at about two in the morning."
Now, the clan are ecstatic he will strut his stuff on American sport's biggest stage - the Super Bowl - after the 49ers defeated the Green Bay Packers 37-20 to claim the NFC Championship, setting up a showdown against the Kansas City Chiefs in two weeks.
"Unbelievably proud," says Penny. "It's just fantastic."
The iconic team has tasted Super Bowl victory five times out of six appearances.
Marty and Penny both hail from Hawke's Bay and moved to Perth to start their family where Wishnowsky was born in 1992.
"As a child, he was totally full-on," says Penny. "He'd have his friends around and would be kicking the ball against the fence at the front.
"He'd make up a circuit, where you had to jump over this and kick this, like a little obstacle course, just always outdoors."
At 16, Wishnowsky dropped out of high school to become an apprentice glazier and took up Aussie Rules. He showed signs of a promising professional career until a second shoulder dislocation caused difficulties with his trade and he had to quit his sport.
"It was really bad," says Penny. "They had to operate and put in plates.
"He seems fine with it now, but at the time, he had to have a lot of time off work... then you start saying, 'Is it really worth it?'"
Instead, Wishnowsky and his Perth Demons mates took up American flag football in an off-season, non-contact league founded by Craig Wilson.
"Really athletic, great bunch of guys, always having a laugh," Wilson told Newshub.
After a couple of seasons, Wilson eventually managed to lure Wishnowsky over to contact football.
"Big guy, big leg... when you play at a high level, they don't get frightened by the crowd."
Wilson invited his mates, Prokick Australia founders Nathan Chapman and John Smith, to check the kid out.
Australia has become a veritable breeding ground for NFL punters, with Prokick leading that development, placing about 120 young men into US colleges, and using a network of colleges and coaches to transition good talent for a shot at the big time.
Chapman and Smith liked what they saw in the 20-year-old Wishnowsky.
"John rang him up while he was on holiday fishing and said, 'Move yourself to Melbourne', and he basically went home to mum and dad with that information, and said, 'He's going to turn me into an American footballer'," Chapman told Newshub.
"He gave up a lot, he sold the house he'd bought in Perth. He had to fund moving to Melbourne, so he had to make whatever money he could and then live there.
"He really did do it tough and he was pretty humble the way he went about it."
Lee Wishnowsky - Marty's nephew - was living in Melbourne at the same time his cousin attended Prokick, and remembers him as extremely disciplined, very dedicated and focused throughout his training.
"It was funny, he had absolutely no money, living on the bones of his ass," says Lee. "I'd sort him out with the occasional pizza.
"He had the goal, working towards an opportunity to play college football, and was going to do anything to get there."
Watching Wishnowsky climb from strength-to-strength has been incredible, says Lee.
Wishnowsky moved to the US in 2014 and punted at Santa Barbara City College, where he met fiancée Maddie Leiphardt who was playing volleyball before joining the University of Utah, where he won the Ray Guy Award for college football's best punter.
The 49ers were so dazzled, they took Mitch with the 110th pick of last year's NFL draft - the first of only two punters taken over the seven rounds.
When he signed the four-year, multi-million dollar contract, the first thing Lee said to his cousin was "next pizza is on you".
Wishnowsky, standing at 1.88m (6ft 2in), is setting himself up, making a life for himself to share with Leiphardt, and now facing the biggest moment of his career.
Should the 49ers prevail on February 3 (NZ time), he will become the second Australian to win the NFL's greatest prize.
Wilson describes his rise as something of a Cinderella story.
"The real credit goes to Mitch," says his former coach. "To relocate to Melbourne, it's a big thing for a young bloke to do.
"He went over to the US, had great success, 60,000 people watching his games, met his future wife there, now going to the Super Bowl... such a great guy.
"He thought his AFL career wouldn't kick off, thinking is this it for me and then life takes 180 degrees."
Lee says he's proud and "just so happy" for his cousin.
Marty and Penny have already attended Niners games and will take their daughter to Florida to see her brother in the final.
Attending games are quite emotional, says Penny, with all the fanfare and the American national anthem.
"Everyone's so patriotic and you sort of get swept up in it. It makes you well up a bit."
With Wishnowsky's extended family still in New Zealand, Marty says it's not just his relatives that link him to the country.
"We won't let him support the Aussies or we wouldn't let him come home for a holiday - he has to support the All Blacks."
Join Newshub on Monday, February 3 for live updates of Super Bowl 2020