By: Jason Sarney
“Savior” is a tough word to use these days. Frankly, it is not fair to anyone. And that includes those bestowing the title to the individual, or more importantly the actual individual him/herself. Whatever the career or situation you are in, to be dubbed a “Savior,” before doing a thing in that arena is daunting.
A once dominating and historically transcendent franchise in the Miami Dolphins, have literally named a “Savior,” when they drafted Alabama Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in this past April’s NFL Draft.
The metaphorical joy and irony that comes with calling a devout young man a “Savior,” mixed in with the religious experience it feels like to root for this team, brings a combination of all entities together…fans, football player, Franchise.
A Holy Trinity....each ready for the Promised Land.
Some are used to being there, and some have never witnessed or experienced the Joy of the culmination of a season’s worth of Hard Work. Miami fans of the 1970’s celebrated greatness and titles. The 1980s/90’s saw the greatness of one of the game’s best Quarterbacks in Dan Marino. The early 2000’s saw a masterful runner in Ricky Williams mixed with a league-dominating defensive group led by current Hall-of-Famer Jason Taylor and future Hall-of-Famer Zach Thomas.
That was then, and this is now.
The young “Savior,” raised in Hawaii is a “South-paw Samoan.” The only Lefty quarterback in the National Football League now. The uniqueness to this young man, in skill set, spirituality, and shoulder-strength, could very well be the individual to lift this franchise out of purgatory.
He could lead his offensive disciples through the valleys of the shadows of defenses across the league. He could have the dedicated fans of the franchise once again, reaching for the heavens in joy and ecstasy as there is remembrance of an older testament of greatness.
The new testament of this franchise in Tua, with believers across the globe, has that daunting task of lifting this team and organization up on both of his shoulders. To become the individual the Dolphins front office envisioned, the player this passionate base of fans has been waiting for since #13.
Has the new “Savior” officially arrived?
It seems all signs are pointing to an emphatic, “Hallelujah!” However, like anything worth believing in, praying for, and fighting for…patience is a virtue and something we all must possess. The religion that can be the Miami Dolphins has its preachers and prophets and personalities from all walks of life; in between the lines, in the front office, and those covering all aspects from a far.
This is a community of devout football people, some with skewing ideologies, but that is OK. The purpose of a “Savior” is to unite and to lift and to accomplish a common goal. It seems as if the stars are finally aligning in South Florida. The win-loss records will no-doubt begin heading North, as the Stars of this team are becoming more of a constellation as opposed to one single bright-spot.
The young “Savior” met with South Florida media on Thursday morning via Zoom conference to discuss all things football, rookie life and expectations. He even discussed how comparable his up-bringing in Samoan culture is to football, from respect of elders and coaches and how to respond to criticism and discipline. There is a respect factor that is palpable with this sage young passer. In terms of discussing the elder sage, in his Ivy League counterpart in Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tua was nothing but respectful and grateful for the budding friendship and working relationship.
From the beginning of the presser, the young quarterback jumped into the computer frame, masked, double-peace signs, and a Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 jersey. The personality and professionalism in the rookie was evident. It seemed as if a seasoned-pro was talking to reporters he has known for a decade.
His praise for the veteran, and de facto starting quarterback at the moment, Fitzpatrick was clear. "I thought I can break the ice making you guys laugh wearing a Fitz jersey, because Fitz, he is very personable as well."
He adds that his new friend and mentor is a "very, very down to earth person, very humble." Tua continues. "This guy gets it. I don't know what it is, but he gets it."
Although a new process for the young signal-caller, as he says there is "definitely a different learning curve than at Alabama," the rookie is confident in his coaching staff and teammates.
"No matter what offense you are stepping into, its always going to be a process of learning and that is where I'm at." He is aware he has plenty of work and preparation ahead of him, and then goes on to say, "my focus right now is getting into the playbook, literally trying to understand what we are doing offensively. Trying to build relationships with the guys on the team."
Of course the elephant in the Zoom Room was those expectations on taking the torch from Dan Marino, as franchise “Savior.”
"The first time I met Dan, I think Dan reached out to me after I got drafted, which was super awesome." Tua goes on in discussing the new relationship with Marino..."For someone who is the talk of the town like Dan, he is super humble.”
The humble quality is evident in this new quarterback. Will the results on the field translate the same? Will this Lefty make everything right again in Miami?
Time will tell, but know this...The "Savior" is ready, and lord willing; so are those disciples.
You can follow Jason @OrangeAquaman