Former Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is having fun leading the Dolphins to their blistering start to the 2023 NFL season: the most fun, in fact, since he was still playing for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide.
Heading into Week 4 of the NFL season, Tagovailoa has completed 72 of 101 passes (71.3 percent) for 1,024 passing yards and eight touchdowns to two interceptions, all while boasting a 121.9 quarterback rating. He ranks in the top five in every major statistical passing category in the league and is the point person for an offense that paces the NFL in passing offense, rushing offense and scoring offense.
Times are objectively good in Miami. Which prompted a reporter on Wednesday to ask Tagovailoa when was the last time he had this much fun playing football. His response is sure to please Alabama fans:
"It was probably in college," Tagovailoa said in response to the question. "It was probably in college. ... It's been a lot of fun, that's for sure, this year."
— Jacob Meshel (@JacobMeshel) September 27, 2023
Tagovailoa certainly hasn't had an easy path to this point of his playing career, either in college football or in the NFL. His final game at Alabama saw him suffer a dislocated hip and posterior wall fracture against Mississippi State in November 2019, one that ended his college career.
And while he certainly wasn't bad in his first two seasons in the NFL, it was a far cry from what college football fans had seen from him at Alabama: He combined to complete 66.2 percent of his passes for 4,467 yards and 27 touchdowns to 15 interceptions. To compare, Tagovailoa combined to throw for 6,806 yards and 76 touchdowns to nine interceptions in his two seasons as a starter at Alabama.
The former Crimson Tide signal-caller enjoyed his greatest statistical season in the NFL in 2022, with the additions of All-Pro receiver Tyreek Hill and first-year coach Mike McDaniel: He completed 259 of 400 passes (64.8 percent) for 3,548 yards and 25 touchdowns to eight interceptions in 13 games. But his season was derailed with a series of concussions (two confirmed, plus a suspected third) that caused him to miss five games, including the Dolphins' playoff loss vs. the Bills.
The former Crimson Tide signal-caller took great pains over the offseason to bulk up and learn jiu-jitsu in an attempt to better protect himself from the concussions that derailed what was otherwise a promising start to the 2022 season. Regardless, it's clear the hard work to this point of his career has paid off as the Dolphins (3-0, 1-0 AFC East) are one of only three undefeated teams in the NFL.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Dolphins' Tua Tagovailoa having most fun since he was at Alabama