Happy Friday, everyone. The Super Bowl is Sunday, in case you somehow hadn’t heard, which means that football will officially be gone again until the fall. The game is in Miami this year, which couldn’t have worked out better for Tua Tagovailoa.
“It’s always good to learn from people who have done it before you. Dan Marino would tell you the game has evolved since he played. Being able to learn from his side and being able to learn from Fitzpatrick would be awesome to kind of get a sense of how they prepare for games, how they go about preparing for defenses.”
Tagovailoa heard that Marino, during a USA Today interview, said this week that Tagovailoa is “a heck of a player. A much better college player than I ever was.”
To which Tua said: “I don’t even deserve that praise. I haven’t even done anything in the NFL. To hear something like that from him means a lot.”
If the Tagovailoas are indeed in love with Miami, there seems to be some reciprocation.
With the players from the participating teams (Kansas City and San Francisco) no longer available, thousands of reporters and broadcasters are as ravenous as sharks for Thursday content and Tua, the most intriguing story in the upcoming draft, was manna, or poi, if you prefer, from Heaven.
He did interviews. Steinberg did interviews. Tua’s parents, Galu and Diane, did interviews. There were national interviews and abundant local interviews since the host team, the Miami Dolphins, are considered to be one of the prime players in the Tua sweepstakes. That’s a huge publicity coup as Tua positions himself in the lucrative endorsement market. Judging by his social media accounts, he is already involved with some companies and is no doubt earning ample pocket money between now and April’s NFL Draft.
Miami holds the fifth pick in the draft this year, and Tua is roundly projected to the Dolphins with that pick. There is a veteran stopgap in place in Ryan Fitzpatrick, which would allow Tua to ease his way in. His agent, Leigh Steinberg, thinks that is for the best.
“I will tell you that Patrick Mahomes [was] greatly helped . . . by the fact that he had a year to learn and he learned behind Alex Smith, and Alex Smith was a generous mentor,” Steinberg said, mentioning another client of his who happens to be playing this weekend. “It takes the right personality in the existing quarterback to bring along the next young quarterback, but if you look at Aaron Rodgers, Carson Palmer, Philip Rivers, none of them started the first year and my wish for Tua would be that he would go to a team that would give him a year to learn the system and do everything before the pressure of being a starting quarterback was upon him.”
Coming off of the hip injury, Tua probably does need to have the luxury of holding a clipboard for at least the first half of the season. Hopefully the team that drafts him will take a longer view and allow that to happen.
Steinberg didn’t hold back when asked about Tua going #1 overall to Cincinnati.
Steinberg was asked if he wants Tagovailoa going No. 1 overall. His response was a direct shot at the Bengals, who own that pick: “You want to make sure that your client ends up with a good organization….I’m hoping Cincy falls in love with Joe Burrow,” Steinberg said, speaking with 97.3 ESPN FM.
Wow. To be fair, I doubt the Tagovailoa family has ever lived in cold weather. Something about Tua and the rust belt just don’t match up. That isn’t stopping some Detroit writers from pining for him, though.
At some point, taking a gamble is going to work out. Because Tagovailoa will most likely be sitting there at the No. 3 spot when the Lions are on the board in April’s NFL draft. Just as Aaron Rodgers was sitting there for Green Bay back in the late first round in 2005.
The Packers, like the Lions, already had an entrenched quarterback on the team. You may recall him. His name was Brett Favre.
This isn’t to say Tagovailoa will be a sure-fire Hall of Famer like Rodgers. But it is to say that when a franchise hits on the right quarterback, relevancy usually awaits.
I find it hard to believe that Detroit would take a QB at #3 overall with Matt Stafford around. That pick is generally considered the Jeffrey Okudah slot in this draft, after Burrow and Chase Young. That pick makes sense for a team that plays in Big Ten country, but there would also be no shortage of suitors if the team preferred multiple picks in a move back. It is possible that someone would target this pick in a trade to grab Tua ahead of Miami as well.
Of course, all of this hinges on health.
According to Tagovailoa, the month of February includes several key dates — approximately three months after the Nov. 16 injury — for a CT scan and a follow-up MRI after that scan to determine how the fracture in his hip has healed. He maintained that he’s “on track to make a full recovery” at this time but pointed out that he needs good news from those scans for doctors to clear him for work outs that would gradually lead to a pro day.
Hope for the best.
Alabama’s athletic revenue statement for 2019 was released, and it has a couple of interesting nuggets.
The bottom line shows a $21.2 million shortfall for the 2018-19 year but the school explained that was just about the accounting and not cashflow problems.
A total of $24.5 million in contributions for preferred seating programs were deferred to the 2020 fiscal year “based on the change in the tax law,” according to the financial statement filed with the NCAA obtained by AL.com through an open records request.
— Of the $164 million in revenue, 59.8 percent came from football. The only other profitable program was men’s basketball with $66,921 more revenue than expenses.
— The two biggest money makers: Media rights ($48 million) and ticket sales ($39.1 million).
— The two biggest expenses: Coaching pay ($31.6 million) and administrative/support staff pay ($32.1 million). Student athletic aid totaled $18.1 million.
— Of note, the football team counted just 79.5 scholarship players — below the 85 allowed by the NCAA.
Allowing athletic department donations to be tax deductible after a year hiatus is a huge boon for college sports. Football obviously carries the mail in Tuscaloosa, and the scholarship note is interesting. Those are likely spring scholarships that went unused by players who had already graduated and/or let early for the draft.
Last, peopla are laughing at Clemson’s schedule again.
1. CLEMSON TIGERS
2020 schedule: at Georgia Tech, vs. Louisville, vs. Akron, vs. Virginia, at Boston College, at Florida State, vs. N.C. State, vs. Syracuse, at Notre Dame, vs. The Citadel, vs. South Carolina
Schedule softness ranking: 4
Why they’re here: The only other ACC team we’ve ranked in our preseason power ratings in North Carolina, and Clemson doesn’t play the Tar Heels this season unless the two squads meet in the conference championship game. That’s a shame too considering the salivating quarterback matchup we would’ve seen for a second time in as many years pitting future first-round quarterbacks Sam Howell and Trevor Lawrence.
That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.