On Saturday, Tua Tagovailoa fans finally got to see the Fox Sports documentary Tua.
After several delays and some upset fans calling out Fox on Twitter, Tua Tagovailoa’s Tua finally arrived on Saturday for Miami Dolphins fans to enjoy.
Following the airing of the documentary that chronicles different stages of Tua Tagovailoa’s life, Miami Dolphins fans took to social media to cheer about how great the documentary was but after watching it myself I had a few questions that I wasn’t expecting to have.
One, did they hype train of social media and Dolphins fans in general ruin the documentary by overhyping it? Like many movies, overhyped reviews tend to build expectations that the films simply can’t meet. Was this my problem with TUA?
Two, if Tua Tagovailoa was drafted by any other NFL franchise, would I have cared about the documentary at all, or would fans of the Dolphins held it in such high regard?
So the only way to really dissect it is to give it a real review without the Miami Dolphins hype overtures. In fact, I might be a better person to review the documentary because I wasn’t a fan of Tagovailoa in college or heading into the draft. Did TUA change my mind? Well, no, it changed a while ago.
Spoilers ahead so please do not read if you haven’t seen it.
TUA is broken down into what the director has deemed “chapters” and each “chapter” moves along to tell a different part of the Tagovailoa story. It starts with his early life and covers the deep family roots that bind them in spirit, culture, faith, and family. This is where the documentary works the best.
We find out why Tua is who he is and why despite national attention, he remains a humble kid from Hawaii with Samoan lineage. It is interesting to see how his culture gave him direction but as cold-hearted as it sounds, I wasn’t on the edge of my seat and I surely wasn’t shedding tears.
By the time we advance to high-school, a few things stood out. Trent Dilfer had a LOT to do with this kids growth, his father has always been his mentor, and most of all this takes place in the last four to five years. It was odd watching a documentary on a guy that is only four years removed from high-school.
At this point, I was pretty impressed with what I was seeing. I was expecting a hype documentary but instead, I was getting a human interest story which to me was far more interesting. About halfway through I messaged my football-loving family that the Tua documentary was crazy good.
That didn’t last very long and afterward, I had changed my mind.
The Alabama years were played out far more like a highlight reel than any real story and nothing was presented that I hadn’t seen a million times on ESPN or pre-draft shows. The story that was so engaging became, meh.
The lead up to his hip injury was rushed. In a matter of minutes we hear about his two ankle surgeries and what seemed like a slow-motion build of 30 seconds that ends with him on the ground. Again, with the same footage, everyone saw a hundred times when it happened.
The interwoven interview with the doctor who did his surgery wasn’t very detailed and didn’t give much insight into his injury other than a “this could ruin his NFL career” kind of cloud.
By the time the injury occurred, I was ready for the 2nd half to start. The recovery and the mental attention to getting healthy while dealing with the emotional baggage and uncertainty should have taken us back to the first quarter of TUA when we learned about his family. Now we would see how he leaned on his family and faith and history to get through this.
We didn’t. Instead, we got some cut shots to him in rehab and in the hospital and we saw a kind of cool scene with him repeating rehab work but other than that, a couple of comments from Tua and his family. Then it was off to the video workout with Dilfer that everyone saw prior to the April draft.
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Finally, we reach the draft and there is no hype build-up. No stress in his demeanor. We listened to Roger Goodell read name after name before the Dolphins were on the clock and even then what should have been tension filled uncertainty was quickly moved to a Chris Grier phone call.
Granted we all know the outcome of the draft but I was expecting more. That brings me back to the questions posed above. Overhyped reviews by fans?
I came away with a higher amount of respect for Tua and I like the kid far more today after watching the documentary but overall, it was a good sports doc that really didn’t take the viewer anywhere they haven’t been before, especially after the first few “chapters”. It is there that we really enjoy learning about Tua Tagovailoa as a person and that is the best part of this by far.
Tua the documentary left me wanting more because it didn’t satisfy completely.
As a Dolphins fan, it was more enjoyable which brings me back to question number two. Would I have had interest in this if he weren’t a Miami Dolphins QB?
To answer question number one, yes, I think the overhype of the documentary skewed my expectations to a point where I expected at least a little bit more meat. I did enjoy the documentary but probably because I’m a Dolphins fan. It was worth watching despite the higher expectations.
To answer question number two, if I had watched this and he were not a Miami Dolphins player I wouldn’t have really cared too much for the documentary but then again, I probably wouldn’t have watched it to begin with.
The documentary is available on Fox demand via the FOX app and any other FOX media on-demand provider.