Read the full transcript from Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa's press conference on November 1, 2023.
(I know you've faced the Chiefs defense but it's QB Patrick Mahomes on the other side. What's it like when you know he's manning the opposing offense and that means you probably have to put up a lot of points?) – "Yeah, it's never easy going against Pat. But I would say and Pat would say the same: It's not me playing against Pat, Pat playing against me. It's our offense having to go against their defense, their offense having to go against our defense. We prepare for their defense just like any other defense, just trying to see how many times we can score, get the ball into the endzone. At the end of the day what we're trying to do is try to score one more point than the other team and try to get a win."
(The last time you faced QB Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, you were a rookie. Is there a way to quantify how much you've grown in your four years in the NFL?) – "Yeah, I think there's a lot of things that are different, one being the offensive system that I'm playing in now compared to the offensive system that I had then. Then the supporting cast that I have and really there's just a lot of things that are different. We'll see what goes down this Sunday."
(Have you been able to catch up on sleep?) – "No."
(How's the experience been in Frankfurt so far for you?) – "It's been pretty cool. We've been able to go check the city out, been able to go to maybe two places to get some drinks and then also try some food. But for the most part it's been pretty cool. I got to go golf with a couple guys as well."
(How would you describe the opportunity that comes with playing a team like the Chiefs that, like the Dolphins, is 6-2?) – "Any opportunity for us to play a team that has been to the Super Bowl within the last couple years or the last year and has won it, I think that's always a great challenge. For our team to have this opportunity to go against a Pat Mahomes team, it'll be fun and it'll give us a chance to see where we're at going to this bye week as a team."
(Hosting NFL games is a big deal for the city of Frankfurt. Do you remember the moment when you first heard you were going to play in Frankfurt and did you know anything before about the city?) – "While I can't really remember when I found out we were coming to play in Germany, it was definitely in training camp when I figured out what our schedule was going to be. Prior to that, I didn't know much. I had a massage lady, I was asking her for a couple of words and so she gave me, 'how are you doing.' So I think I can say that pretty good, but I don't think so."
(You want to try?) – "Yeah. 'Hallo, Wie geht es dir'. I think that's how you say it. (laughter) That was good? Does it sound good? Perfect, thanks."
(I believe two years ago when you guys when to the UK, was that your first time in Europe?) – "Yeah, that was my first time in Europe."
(Got it. So obviously, you're back in the area. Head Coach Mike McDaniel spoke a lot about being a history a major and the appreciation he has for the sport of football taking him overseas and all the things it's done for him. Can you kind of speak to that as well, just the opportunity to be on this international stage and the experiences that have come along with being a football player?) – "I would say for me, football has opened up a lot of avenues for me. Obviously in America, the status that it gives you and that it allows you to do things that others aren't fortunate to do. The money that we make, it puts into perspective a lot of things that maybe normal, hardworking people don't necessarily make. For us to be able to come out here and travel as a team, it gives you that opportunity as well, not just in the States of traveling, but coming outside the States, going to other countries and really expressing what Americans love with American football and trying to share that with the world and things like that. Football has done a really great job in helping not just me, but a lot of our guys have an experience like this."
(I know a couple weeks ago the Baltimore Ravens were in the UK, QB Lamar Jackson said he was surprised that he was noticed by people out. By any chance did anybody notice you and maybe say 'Tua'?) – "No, no, no. I'm going to say no to that every time. I think we're able to go out and – yeah, no."
(So you weren't noticed? Or were you noticed?) – "No. We're just going to leave it at that. (laughter)"
(WR Tyreek Hill obviously playing his former team. What has he been like over these past 15 months or so compared to what you were expecting? What you knew about him during his first six, seven years in the league?) – "I would say I didn't know what to expect. I think as we all look at Tyreek's film, we know one thing is for sure, is that he might be the fastest man alive as far as stepping foot on a football field and playing in pads. Outside of that, I think what really surprised me was who he was as a leader, his work ethic, and then how he takes ownership of what is asked of him. Whether it's in the run game, in the pass game, or things like that. Then it's almost like a trickle down effect for a lot of the guys in his room. They respect him as a player, as a person, to take advice from him and follow his lead."
(What do you think about traveling to Frankfurt and playing in Frankfurt?) – "I think this is cool. It was a long flight. It was a really long flight and I think we just need one more day to get adjusted to the sleep schedule and after that I think it'll be fun. Coming here and playing on Sunday, I think one of the things that I'm excited for is the fans. I don't know how many people from Germany watch American football, or doesn't, so that's what I would say I'm excited about, for the fans. I'd like to know what they would be cheering for; if it's a field goal they cheer for, things like that and if they have chants, we'd love to hear them."
(How is it for you to play with super fast guys like WR Tyreek Hill, WR Jaylen Waddle, RB Raheem Mostert?) – "It feels good. I think any quarterback around the league would marvel at being in the position that I'm in now, having those guys in the backfield with me. They definitely help one another in getting each other open. If one guy gets doubled, the other guys are open. If two guys get doubled, then you still have three guys running routes that could possibly get the ball. So I mean, it's fun. Those guys make this offense fun."
(You already talked about adjusting to the time over here, but you have to adjust twice because the kickoff is very early, especially for the U.S. How do you do that?) – "I think that adds to the reason why we came so early to Germany. I don't know too much on the science. It's one of those things where we trust our head coach and conversations that he's had with our PR department and people like that to be able to know that we've got to come here to get adjusted so that hopefully by the end of the week we're adjusted and regardless of the time that we are playing it won't change how we're feeling. I think none of that should play a factor towards the end of the week."
(Just to follow up on the question about Tyreek, what's he been like this week has he prepares to face his former team?) – "I think Tyreek has been the same. I haven't seen him try to do anything more or anything less. He's just been the same Tyreek. Just wants to go out there and play football. He loves ball. He's a competitor and he just wants to do good. He has competitive greatness."
(One last Tyreek question for you. He's obviously been very vocal in support of you from the very jump since he was traded to this team. I was curious if you could speak on what that has meant to you over the past year? You kind of remember the first time you met him and spoke to him and the nature it seemed like from the jump, he said 'this is your team and I want you to assert that leadership role'?) – "Yeah, I've heard people say it and the guys have been joking about it the last week, but the 'Cheetah effect,' that's what I would say. Just because 'Reek' (Tyreek Hill) exerts so much confidence in everything he does that it's almost ideal for you to do the same for yourself. The Cheetah effect could mean many things with Tyreek. But I will say that's all it is. Like I said, he's been a great teammate. Not just to me, but to everyone on the team with his leadership the way he carries himself. I think he's excited, and this team is excited to play the Chiefs on Sunday."
(I've talked to some colleagues in the morning, and we learned how to pronounce "Tagovailoa" over the last years in the NFL, but we struggled with the long version of your first name. Can you tell us how you pronounce that?) – "Can I hear you say it?"
(I have no idea, it's way too long to remember.) – "Does anyone know how to say it? We can get Mike White up here and say it. Mike White knows how to say it. 'Tuanigamanuolepola' and then Tagovailoa."