Diving Into the Tua Disrespect

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa not getting a lot of national respect in certain circles
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In the aftermath of the announcement of the 2021 regular season schedule came a clip that riled up the Miami Dolphins fan base big time.

It came from national talk show host Colin Cowherd, who decided to take a shot at quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

The overriding message from Cowherd was that in the first eight games of the Dolphins regular season, Tagovailoa would be the second-best quarterback on the field.

For the record, the Dolphins' first eight opposing quarterbacks are Cam Newton, Josh Allen (twice), Derek Carr, Carson Wentz, Tom Brady, Trevor Lawrence and Matt Ryan.

To suggest that Tua won't be as good in 2021 as Newton (who struggled in 2020) or Wentz (who was awful) shows a significant lack of respect for the idea that Tagovailoa won't be taking a big step forward in 2021.

Even when it comes to Lawrence, sure, he could be a hotshot rookie, but he could just as easily go through rookie growing pains, so to declare unequivocally that he'll be better than Tua in 2021 again seems to reflect a low opinion of the Dolphins QB.

Here's where everybody jumps in and calls out Cowherd for being a Tua hater who's never been shy about criticizing him.

And there's absolutely merit to that argument.

But here's a more telling sign of national disrespect toward Tua — or at the very least skepticism.

And it involves the regular season schedule itself.

More specifically, it comes from the fact the Dolphins initially have been scheduled for only two prime-time games.

It's an awfully low amount for a team that appears to be on the rise and coming off a 10-6 record.

The allocation of prime-time games reflects teams that either always produce good TV ratings (Chicago and the New York Giants immediately come to mind) or a validation of teams expected to do that well that season.

The latter is why the San Francisco 49ers wound up with five prime-time games despite finishing 6-10 last season. The 49ers, who were in the Super Bowl two years ago before being crushed by injuries last year, have an over/under win total of 10.5 by Fan Duel.

The Dolphins, meanwhile, have an over/under of 9.5. It's the same over/under as the Los Angeles Chargers, who were 7-9 last season.

The Chargers are scheduled for three prime-time games.

What gives?

The Chargers, like the Dolphins, have an over/under win total of 9.5 and one can't help but think they're in prime time three times is because of Justin Herbert.

And it's not like there's some sort of anti-Dolphins sentiment at the league offices because the Dolphins were regular on Monday Night Football when Dan Marino was in his prime.

So this clearly seems to be about the NFL not being sure about Tua when it comes to how well he'll produce in 2021.

And it's not just the NFL.

ESPN NFL Prognosticator Mike Clay periodically grades every unit for every team in the NFL and gave the Dolphins a 1.1 out of 4 for the quarterback position, which ranked 24th in the league. (For those wondering, the Chargers were given a 2.4.)

To be fair, Herbert earned NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2020 and looked every bit like a franchise quarterback.

Tagovailoa had his moments as a rookie, but wasn't nearly as dynamic as Herbert. He might yet become a bona fide franchise quarterback, but he still has to get there.

And there clearly are certain segments taking a wait-and-see attitude.