TV ratings in South Florida for the closing moments of Sunday’s Miami Dolphins game clearly indicate that the team’s fan base was eager to watch the NFL debut of rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
About 32,000 more homes in Miami-Ft. Laud. watched Sunday's Dolphins game during the few minutes of real time that Tua was on field compared to the number of people watching the rest of the game on average. So many people across town literally rushed to the TV when Tua entered.
— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) October 19, 2020
Ordinarily, the ratings for the waning moments of a 24-0 game would’ve usually gone in the opposite direction. However, the audience surge shows that Tagovailoa’s popularity among Dolphins fans was already strong prior to taking his first NFL snap.
Tagovailoa, the fifth overall selection in April’s draft, has gone through an arduous rehabilitation program since having major hip surgery last November.
At the time of that procedure, the prospect of Tagovailoa even being able to play in 2020 was uncertain, which made his draft status a question mark.
Yet, the Dolphins clearly see Tagovailoa as one of the cornerstones of the team’s future and took great care in making sure he was fully healthy before he took the field.
During the preseason, speculation that he would start for the Dolphins was tamped down. More pressure to rush him into the lineup also surfaced after the Dolphins’ bumpy start, but no changes were made.
While Ryan Fitzpatrick will remain the Dolphins’ starter at quarterback for the near future, Dolphins fans are eager to see the transition to Tagovailoa come as quickly as possible.