During the football offseason, I spend most of my days missing the game. Re-watching favorite plays, studying player roles and game-calling is my coping method when dealing with the absense of my favorite pastime. In 2016 I cultivated a mini guide of football positions called “Football Focus”. FF focused on players, ideal body types, responsibilities and an exemplary player in that group. I learned most of my football knowledge during my own study time and I wanted to share a reference toolkit for those who don’t know much about what it takes to become a successful football player. Because I’ve already written on every position, I had to find a new collection to write about before football comes back. The idea of “Polynesian Paragons” came to mind because I want to share the poly football players who are or who have made waves in the NFL. Polynesians are prevalent in CFB and the NFL, but they’re often overlooked by more popular players in history. In this series I hope to bring honor to my culture (and our sister cultures) by showcasing some of the excellent athletes of the south pacific!
QB Marcus Mariota is Hawaiʻi and Samoa’s golden boy in the NFL. The local athlete is of Samoan and German descent and is the first Hawaiʻi-born player to win the Heisman trophy. Mariota was somewhat unknown throughout his high school career because he didn’t start a game until his senior season. Once he made it to QB1, Mariota shined; completing 165 of 225 passes for 2,597 yards and 32 TDs (including only five interceptions). Mariota was equally as successful at Oregon where he earned Pac-12 and national honors in three seasons. In his collegiate career, Mariota totaled 779 of 1,167 passes for 10,796 yards and 105 TDs. After facing Ohio State in the 2015 national championship, Mariota entered the NFL Draft where he was chosen 2nd overall. In two seasons with the Tennessee Titans, Mariota has yielded 506 of 821 passes for 6,244 yards and 45 TDs. Mariota not only excels on the field, but also in his local communities. He credits his humble personality to his parents and the environment in which he grew up. He often volunteers with local organizations and spends time mentoring high school players in Hawaiʻi. Mariota is the definition of a “Polynesian Paragon” and we are lucky to have him represent us in the NFL!