It's amazing how one night can change the narrative around a football team.
Before the Miami Dolphins defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night, so much of the talk was about rookie Tua Tagovailoa and when the team should put their first-round pick into the lineup.
But all the talk after the game was about Ryan Fitzpatrick, the bearded wonder from Harvard who not only put on a show with a tremendous performance but produced some social media classics with his expression and then an unforgettable postgame interview on NFL Network.
Minshew Mania clearly is a thing in Jacksonville, but on this night it was all about FitzMagic.
And it carried over into the next day.
Linebacker Kyle Van Noy was a guess on former Colts punter Pat McAfee's podcast and basically served up a taste of what FitzMagic is all about among his teammates.
Van Noy broke out in song with "Oh, oh, oh, FitzMagic," borrowing from the 1974 classic "Magic" by the band Pilot.
Van Noy obviously was in a great mood after the Dolphins' first victory of the season, but his unsolicited shout-out to his teammate just goes to show the kind of affection Fitzpatrick's teammates have for him.
If if already hadn't been obvious, it should have been the way his teammates rushed to the end zone to celebrate with him when he scored on a quarterback draw in the third quarter.
What teammates love about Fitzpatrick, along with his personality, is the reckless abandon with which he plays the game, whether it's getting out in front of a running play to throw a block (though we'd question the wisdom of that decision) or the way he challenges defenders at the end of quarterback scrambles.
“Yeah, I mean Fitz is out of his mind," tight end Mike Gesicki said. "He’s 38 years old and still playing this game like he’s 23, but to have him as our leader and for you to see the fun that he has – after I scored my touchdown we just came off to the sideline and just started yelling and screaming and chest bumping, it’s so fun to play with him. Whether it’s those plays where he refuses to slide and all that kind of stuff or the fun that he has or the experience that he shows to the guys around him, whatever it is it’s always great playing with him.”
Fitzpatrick is having a blast on the field, and it's contagious.
Not that his teammates ever would take sides, but they clearly enjoy playing with Fitzpatrick.
Just check out what running back Myles Gaskin said about Fitzpatrick and his leadership: “For myself, I can only speak for myself, just me, and obviously just being nervous — or whatever you want to call it — just coming into a game, a Thursday night game like this, he’s always just kind of laughing and joking, trying to make sure everybody’s just honed in and just not too amped up, not too low, just saying, ‘Hey, this is the game we’ve been playing since we were little kids. Like, at the end of the day, this is the game we play, this is what we’re here for. We’re here to ball out, do our jobs to our best capabilities. And just having him around, always kind of keeps that in my mind, in the front of my mind. Like, ‘Hey, this is not too big for me, I’ve been—I’m here for a reason, in that sense.’ So, yeah, I think he’s been a great guy; on the field obviously and then off the field in the locker room, the lunchroom. I love sitting next to him, just listening to him talk to whatever he needs to say, he laughs—I mean, he’s a smart dude, so you might learn something, too.”
Fitzpatrick called himself after the game Thursday "the luckiest guy in the world sometimes getting to go outside and play football with my friends."
The quick wit Fitzpatrick possesses makes him a gem in postgame interviews, which is what happened when he showed off his chest hair with a buttoned-down tropical shirt.
Throughout the end of the week, we saw testimonials on social media as to just what kind of appeal Fitzpatrick has among teammates, old and new.
There was this from linebacker Vince Biegel, who's spending the 2020 on injured reserve:
And then this one from former teammate Kenyan Drake, who's now with the Arizona Cardinals:
Hall of Famer Troy Aikman explained what makes Fitzpatrick the perfect mentor for Tagovailoa:
And then the crew of "Good Morning Football" discusses Fitzpatrick's obvious joy on the football field.