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Transcript | Tua Tagovailoa's Media Availability - January 10

Read the full transcript from Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa's press conference on January 10, 2024.

(Are you bringing the Isotoner gloves to Kansas City this weekend?) – "No. (laughter) Probably no Isotoner gloves, but I'm going to see what we can wear for the game. You can't prepare for a game like that with that kind of weather, so it'll be new."

(So are you testing gloves for on-field play?) – "No. I'll just see what it feels like without gloves. I just think the whole thing is a mindset."

(What do you remember about watching last year's playoff game that you think will help you now playing in your first playoff game?) – "Well, I think outside of the playoff game, there were a lot of other games that I missed. A lot of the guys from last year's team, there's been a lot of guys that haven't returned. There's a lot of new guys on this team and I think it's a different team. I think a lot of the guys, we all want to do it right. It just sucks when we're not able to with the work that we put in. But it's a new season, the way we look at it. New season, new opportunity, and we can still get to where we want to get to after this week. But for me, I mean, not much I can say from me missing last year to now except for me missing it. So that was it."

(You've made huge strides in the last couple of years. One area Head Coach Mike McDaniel was talking about earlier is maybe the end of game stuff. I asked him about that and he said that you're still kind of learning those situations and you get better every time. What have you learned this season from end of game situations that you can apply going forward?) – "Just continuing to take what the defense gives me. There's a lot of things on film that we can continue to get better at that had presented itself and just never took those opportunities. We had a lot of time in those instances and then in some of them there were miscommunications. But they're all learning opportunities, and now it's win or go home. So you can't have those mistakes going into games like this."

(Does anything change in those late game scenarios, high urgency on both sides, you guys to score, defense to stop you?) – "I mean you just got to find a way, any which way you can help your team win, whether it's a field goal or scoring."

(Obviously there's no way to prepare for those conditions, but when you go out there and the wind might be a factor, how important maybe is the pregame warmups? What might you have to adjust based off the wind and the conditions there?) – "I think it's just a feel of how everything is, what the ball feels like, what throwing feels like, what holding the ball feels like, if there's wind, if there's not wind, you have to take all those things into consideration. But we'll go there, we'll test it out and we'll see what we have to do as far as adjusting or not."

(What is just the feel around the locker room? We didn't get a chance to see you guys practice, but this is it. This is what you play for all season.) – "I think the guys are excited that we still have another opportunity and we're not necessarily leaving the building with a bad taste in our mouth from the last game. It's just another opportunity for us to hopefully do what we said we wanted to do all along."

(Head Coach Mike McDaniel talked this morning a little bit about the Chiefs aggressiveness in their blitzing and how it makes the offense have to be on their stuff. What can you do to help the offense be on top of your stuff this weekend?) – "I think it's playing on time, knowing where my hots are. If I can, outside of our motions, if we're allowed time to change protection, then we can do that, but because of how on time we do play, that's sort of how we have been beating teams with pressures."

(For a long time we've talked about WR Tyreek Hill and his professionalism since he's arrived here, how he shows it every day in practice and so forth. In the past week or so, he's had to deal with an awful lot of stuff. What have you seen from him and his ability to compartmentalize what he's had to deal with?) – "I think he's such a very mentally tough individual that from what had happened throughout what he's been going through with injuries and then also with the fire that happened at his house, he hadn't mentioned it much to his teammates, but guys will go and show their support for him. He has a good perspective on life. He has a good perspective on, 'it's not about me.' And how he copes with it is definitely different. You can tell he's mentally strong with how he goes about doing his business. But that's what I would say."

(If WR Jaylen Waddle is able to come back this week, how much does that help you guys get you to what you want to do offensively?) – "Yeah, I think it helps us out a lot. And then it'll uncover what defensively what they want to do. If they want to bracket both those guys, we're going to have to find other guys that can win their one-on-one matchups. Or if they want to double Tyreek (Hill), we'll find Jaylen or we'll find someone else who is working their matchup. We'll come out, we'll see what they want to do and we'll go from there."

(Is there an experience that you've had throughout your career, maybe not just at this level but going back to college, that you kind of pull from to prepare for this high-stakes game? Or I guess what is your personal approach to it?)– "Yeah, I don't think I could compare this to anything because it's all new. Everything is all new. This is a different feeling than it was in the National Championship game. Different feeling than it was in the SEC Championship game. I think they all come from new feelings. But the way I cope with it is go about my business the way I've been going about my business, take care of my job and trust my teammates will do the same with theirs."

(What areas of growth – Head Coach Mike McDaniel talked about how this has been a continued season of growth for you – what areas of growth do you think you've had the most this year?) – "I don't think I've had the opportunity to really sit down and look back at areas of growth for myself because of the day-to-day process of ok, whatever happened last week, you have to let that go. This is the gameplan for this week. You have these many cans, you have to know this, that, or the other. You don't necessarily have that time to sit back and reflect necessarily. So, I would say I don't have an answer right now for you. But after the season, we'll definitely look back at things we've improved on and things we can continue to get better at."

(Is it a point of pride that you led the league in passing this year?) – "Not necessarily. Individual accolades are super cool. They're awesome. But if we could've won all our games, I would've traded that for that. if I would've thrown for 200 yards the entire season and we would've been 17-0, I think anybody would've done the same. Yeah, it's cool, but that doesn't mean you won or you accomplished what you wanted to accomplish as a team."

(I imagine the same answer for your first Pro Bowl? We didn't ask you last week.) – "Well, first Pro Bowl, that's different because it's recognition across the league from coaches, players and fans. I'm very grateful for that honor. It's not something that I take lightly. But when it's about me, it does get a little weird. But I am very grateful for that."

(What's the coldest temperature you've ever even been in?) – "I think maybe 20 (degrees)? Or like a little lower than 20? Nothing lower than I would say, 15. So probably in between there."

(When was that?) – "It was in Seattle. We played an all-star game in high school and it was raining. It was bad. It was at night, too, and it was very windy. Terrible. No heaters on the sideline. (laughter) High school game. Terrible. All you have is like everybody under one blanket and the blanket is wet. (laughter)"

(When you were coming from Hawaii and going to Alabama, what was that reaction to cold weather?) – "Well, at first I thought it was really cool because that was my first time I got to see snow and now everybody's like, 'wait, it snows in Alabama?' (laughter) Yeah, it's crazy. It didn't snow the two years after, but it snowed and the snow stuck. That was my first time seeing snow. It was super cool. But yeah, like the things that I can remember while it was cold is it was a little different gripping the ball. Your hands aren't as moist when you're feeling the ball so you either have a hand warmer or something to keep it not dry, if that makes sense. But yeah, that's what I can remember."

(Could you educate me – I got pushback because I referred to you as Hawaiian on social media. You're Hawaiian? You're from Hawaii?) – "I'm from Hawaii. I'm not Hawaiian."

(Explain the difference.) – "So Polynesian, it entails Hawaiians, Samoans, Tongans, Fijians, you can throw people from the Cook Islands in there. Like anyone within the Polynesian Triangle, if you look it up, they're Polynesian. I would say we are similar but different. I say that because there are words that sound very similar in each culture, but they're said differently. And then obviously outside of that, the cultures are all different. That's what I would say with Polynesian people, but I'm Samoan. I just grew up in Hawaii. That's it. But there's a lot of people that are Samoan, there's a lot of people that are Tongan that live in Hawaii, that are in Hawaii, but are not Hawaiian. But yeah, that's not to say that we don't like Hawaiians or we don't like whatever; that's what that is."

(So you were raised in Hawaii but you are not Hawaiian?) – "Correct."

(What is the biggest challenge in facing this very good Chiefs defense?) – "The different looks that they present to us and then obviously you have Chris Jones. I mean, that dude is different. A lot of respect for his game and what he can do in disrupting a game plan and disrupting a game. So we'll have to know where he's at during the game and really just trust our keys. They give us different looks. They present one-high deals, then go to two-high. They present two-high deals, then have fire zones, so we'll just have to be ready and then with their (Cover) 0s that they have, too. So we've just got to be ready with that and yeah, here we go."

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