Dolphins' Tagovailoa says he would trade his popularity for success on the field 'in a heartbeat'

Keven Lerner, South Florida Sun Sentinel on

Published in Football

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s popularity continues to be on the rise despite struggling as a rookie in 2020. But with his jersey ranking among the top-five sellers on for the past several months, Tagovailoa said he would easily trade his popularity for success on the field.

“I’d say it did surprise me, but it shows the support the fans in Miami and Dolphins nation have for our team,” Tagovailoa told “It’s very honorable to say the least that a lot of Dolphins fans want to buy my jersey. At the end of the day, I think popularity falls on the last of my list of things that I want.

“I just want to help my team win games, man,” he said. “If I could give up the whole popularity deal and win a Super Bowl, then I would do that in a heartbeat.”

Tagovailoa had his moments during his rookie season, but failed to live up to expectations as the No. 5 pick in last year’s draft.

Dolphins general manager Chris Grier and coach Brian Flores expressed confidence in Tagovailoa last month and said the team is committed to his development.


Tagovailoa went 6-3 in nine starts as a rookie after recovering from major hip surgery without any setback. But he had just two games with more than 300 yards passing, failed to throw more than two touchdowns in any game and did not have a completion longer than 35 yards.

While making his Super Bowl media rounds earlier this month, he said his rookie season was “below average” and that he struggled with reading and playing against NFL defenses, while learning how to process and play in an NFL offense.

“This past season, it didn’t go the way I expected it to go,” Tagovailoa told “It was a good experience. It was a good first year under my belt. I’m just working hard this offseason to achieve what I expected to achieve last year.”

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