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A Tale of Two Hawaiian Football Players whose last name begins with the letter T

March 9th, 2016 · No Comments

And a Castaway story that got shipwrecked on the beach - as lookie ‘Thar Ishmael! Look what I found in this water-logged bottle which apparently didn’t go down with Captain Ahab and was cast adrift by Thy great white Leviathan…

Author’s Note:
This story was originally intended to be published Wayback in thoust winter of 2014 but as Y’all know, Sportyblog subsequently went dormant for a year-plus and hence it’s been fermentin’ ever since…

Alas, I was casting about in hopes of some nebulous tie into some overlooked Hawaiian Grid-iron stars prior to going to Hawaii a few years ago now in hopes of bringing some warmth to mind, and Wallah, the name Tuiasosopo popped in my head, having wrongly confused him with then current Free Agent NFL player Lofa Tatupu; Tatupu, Tuiasosopo; you say tomato, I say toe-mato… OOPS!

Yet with all of the media then Ah-flutter over somebody named Tebo going to New England when I began pondering this riveting question. Like Y’all remember that Pre-season sensationalism right? Or the man himself; Chirp-Chirp; Bueller, Bueller?

After the New York Jets experiment with Timothy failed, while then embattled starter Mark Sanchez was playing for then Chip Kelly’s Philadelphia Eagles.

As the former Oregon coach guided another Hawaiian named Marcus Mariota to the “Promised Land!” While Sanchez, who played for then USC Head Coach “Mr. Excitement!” (Pete Carroll) was ultimately replaced by then rookie sensation Gino Smith who was at the Jets tiller, before current coach Rexley “Duh Mouth!” Ryan took over as Head Coach and installed Ryan Fitzpatrick as the Jet’s starting QB for the 2015 regular season.

Hence, another year’s and final sojourn to Kona for the foreseeable future passed by in Thy blink of an eye, with this story still seemingly buried in the frequently disappearing grains of White Sands beach on the Big Island.

Alas, your Sportyblog Senior Scribe “Touchdown Tommy” still fleetingly clings to fading memories ‘O bobbing in the warm waters of Hawaii with the Green Sea Turtles buzzing about - while another typically glorious sunset falls overhead!

The Tomaso Files: A Somewhat brief Kona trip recap…

Yet having just visited a snowy Mount Seymour and potentially pockets of East Coasters crazed football fans still somewhat blanketed in snow; BURR! What better time to finally finish this languishing story off, since we’re all awash over the hopes of Spring Training and the glorious hues of sunshine it brings, whilst the unexpected throngs ‘O bodies at Phoenix’s airport the day after this year’s College Bowl Championship Game and the recently concluded Super Bowl fade from Thy rear view mirror…

Thus harkening back to these Tuiasosopo- Tatupu character’s, I do vaguely recall Marques Tuiasosopo as a stand out Razzle Dazzle *Star* QB for the University of Washington Huskies, as it’s hard to believe his collegiate playing days finished over a decade ago! While Tatupu was a Stud Seattle Seahawks Linebacker during his brief NFL career.

Although apparently both Mosiula Mea’alofa “Lofa” Tatupu and Marques Tuiasosopo are both of Samoan descent, nevertheless the tale of these two competing athletes is slightly skewed, as my examination below will show, albeit its pretty funny comparing ‘N contrasting the respective careers of both former NFL players.

Marques who led The University of Washington Huskies to a Rose Bowl victory over the Purdue Boilermakers and some QB by the name of Andrew Christopher Brees. Yeah, that’s right Tuiasosopo and the once fearsome “DAWGS’ defeated Drew “They Call Me the Breeze” Brees’s Boilermakers 34-24 in the 2001 (Palto Alto, CA) Rose Bowl classic, when the Rose Bowl was way more than just a stepping stone to the national championship…

While even more ironic, both Quarterback’s were selected in that year’s NFL Draft, albeit with Brees being selected ahead of Tuiasosopo, with the Atlanta Falcons drafting Michael Vick No. 1 Overall - which makes it somewhat interesting that he’s still floating about the NFL, wishing to continue one further season with the Pittsburg Steelers, albeit no idea if they’ll keep him?

Michael Vick comments on NFL future, wants to remain with Pittsburg in 2016

The Tuiasosopo Family was a veritable National Football League player factory, with Marques’s father Manu having played collegiately at UCLA before beginning his career as a starting Defensive Lineman for the Seattle Seahawks (1979-83) before finishing with the rival San Francisco 49ers for three seasons, (1984-86) where he won a Super Bowl ring.

Manu’s children include two daughters; Leslie and Ashley, While sons Marques and Zach would eventually play in the NFL, with the Six feet-one inches; 220lbs older Marques being drafted in Round 2, the No. 59 pick by the Oakland Raiders, while Zach, a six foot-two inches 245lb Full Back would later be drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles, with the two brothers sharing a brief period as team-mates at Oakland.

Manu’s third son, Matt, is an MLB infielder who was selected by the Seattle Mariners, where he began his professional career in ‘08, having subsequently played for the Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers, and last whereabouts listed him having been traded to the Chicago White Sox for cash in 2014…

Marques played his High School football in Woodinville, WA and was also a baseball standout, having been drafted by the Minnesota Twins, yet electing to focus upon football instead. Sound familiar? Can Y’all say Russell Wilson! You know that Seahawks guy whom I’m pretty sure was drafted by the Texas Rangers…

Although Tuiasosopo was mostly regarded as a defensive prospect from his playing safety, he also played QB for the (Woodinville) Falcons and chose an athletic scholarship with the University of Washington, where he’d be allowed the opportunity to try out for Quarterback.

Marques first came to attention when hastily filling in for the injured Brock Huard against the eventual National Champion Nebraska Cornhuskers where he was impressive in a loss to Nebraska on national television.

At the end of 1998, the Huskies hired new Head Coach Rick “What Betting Pool” Neuheisel, who deemed Tuiasosopo to be his starter and the following year, where Marques set a NCAA record by becoming the only college Quarterback to throw for over 300-yards and run a further 200-plus yards in a 35-30 victory over the Stanford Cardinal at Husky Stadium.

Tuiasosopo capped off his college career by leading the Huskies to the then Pac 10 title en route to winning the Rose Bowl and being named its MVP before being drafted by the Raiders.

Interestingly, Brees beat out the once well known Doug Flutie for the starting QB role as a rookie in 2002 for the San Diego Chargers. As Flutie’s best known for “The Pass,” his amazing “Hail Mary” TD for Boston College vs. Jimmy Johnson’s Miami Hurricanes, then the reigning national champions.

Yet Y’all know that Brees has a pretty significant resume of his own, having been chosen to eight Pro Bowls, winning Super Bowl XLIV (44) in 2010 for the New Orleans Saints over somebody named Peyton and his Indianapolis Colts! Along with being named the game’s MVP; and seemingly has a job for life with the Saints.

Meanwhile Marques NFL career isn’t nearly as flattering, as mentioned above, Tuiasosopo was drafted behind QB’s Vick, Brees and Quincy Carter; WHO? And primarily saw duty as the Raiders back-up Quarterback behind Rich Gannon and later Kerry Collins.

Marques was part of the Oakland Raiders final Super Bowl appearance in 2002, losing badly to John Gruden’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but didn’t play in their defeat.

Tuiasosopo’s first memorable professional QB exposure came upon playing the second half of a Monday Night Football game in 2003, leading to his first start the following week, which he promptly lost and was relegated back to the sidelines.

A further loss in ‘05 did little to help his confidence and for 2007, he signed with the New York Jets before his final NFL season with Oakland in ‘08, as fortunately his College coaching career record surpasses his playing record!

In 2013, while the Quarterback’s coach at his Alma Mater, the University of Washington under “Coach Sarc,” Tuiasosopo assumed the Head Coach position upon Steve Sarkisian’s then shock decision to defect back to his preferred Southern California school, USC, where he briefly served as their head coach before his unfortunate demise due to alcoholism, as how sad the mighty Sarc’s fallen!

DAWGS’ go bowling for Apples ‘N More…

Tuiasosopo, as the Huskies interim coach in the winter of 2013 led the DAWGS’ to victory over the BYU Cougars 31-16 in the Fight Hunger Bowl, and thus is 1-0 as a Head Coach.

Afterwards, Marques followed Sarkisian to So Cal’ where he served as Tight Ends/Assistant Head Coach between 2014-15, before presumably leaving USC, who’s football program is under reconstruction.

Thus for 2016, Marques who’ll turn 37 this March, joins another college Alumni, ex-UW and former Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Jim Mora at UCLA as the Bruins QB coach and Passing Game coordinator, where he’ll try helping Mora this fall in search of winning the elusive Pac 12 championship.

But what about that other guy who’s last name begins with the letter T, eh? As Lofa Tatupu is another of the countless talented players churned out by then mighty USC and its prodigious NFL Linebackers factory under the helm of somebody named Pete Carroll, who was the Trojans coach until leaving for the Seattle Seahawks Head Coach position for the 2010 season.

While I only know of Lofa because of his Seahawks career, interestingly, I was unaware that he’d played Quarterback and Linebacker in High School during his senior year - playing for his father Mosi Tatupu at King Phillip Regional High School in Massachusetts.

Seattle traded two fourth-round draft picks in order to move up in the 2005 NFL Draft and ensure their selecting Tatupu, whom critics claimed was undersized and slow for a professional Linebacker.

Ironically, the elder Mosi, who’d played professional football with the New England Patriots had been teammates with Seattle QB Mathew Hasselbeck’s father Don, as their sons continued this nebulous connection.

And we know that Lofa proved the Naysayers wrong, as the rookie LB helped lead Seattle ON THE Defensive side, along with Hasselbeck & Co. to its first ever Super Bowl, which was lost under questionable Officiating to those dastardly Pittsburg Steelers!

Yet Lofa’s career blossomed, en route to becoming a three times consecutive Pro Bowl player before his production dropped off during the ‘08 season due to nagging injuries.

Tatupu then unfortunately sat-out the majority of the 2009 season due to ripping his pectoral muscle - before returning to play what ultimately would become his final NFL season, ironically playing one more year for his past college coach, the overly exuberant Pete Carroll, known here at Sportyblog fondly as “Mr. Excitement!”

Yet Tatupu was unwilling to renegotiate his previous contract extension with Seattle who summarily let him go, sitting out a year of football before signing a new two-year contract with the Atlanta Falcons for 2012-13.

But once again, Lofa suffered another torn pectoral, ruling him out for the season with the Falcons waiving him the day after, effectively ending his pro career.

Then for last year’s National Football League season, the Seahawks reunited Tatupu for a third time with Pete Carroll, hiring Lofa to be Assistant Line Backer coach at the relatively spry age of 33, and currently with no coaching vacancies available, Lofa appears set to continue his coaching duties for Seattle in the upcoming 2016-17 regular season campaign…

Tags: Misc · NFL Football · MLB Baseball · College Football

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