Alabama doesn’t have a pro football team, but the NFL has strong Crimson Tide ties at the moment — the only two 3-0 teams throughout the first calendar month of the season are led by 2018 National Champions Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa.
Hurts is currently leading the in hopes of bringing the Philadelphia Eagles to a second straight postseason appearance while Tagovailoa is starting for the Dolphins in hopes of breaking a 5-year NFL playoff draught in Miami.
Tagovailoa famously took over as the starter in Tuscaloosa during the 2018 title game against Georgia and didn’t look back until he was injured in the SEC Championship. Hurts would finish his collegiate career at Oklahoma after failing to lead Alabama past Clemson in the 2019 National Championship game, elevating his game to new heights and becoming a second-round draft pick in the 2020 NFL draft. Tagovailoa went 48 spots earlier with the number 5 overall selection.
Tua Tagovailoa on Jalen Hurts Relationship
Credit to Tua Tagovailoa for entering a situation he knew would require him to compete in his freshman season in Tuscaloosa. In 2016, just months after Tagovailoa committed to Nick Saban in May, Jalen Hurts became the first true freshman to start for the Crimson Tide in 32 years. Instead of de-committing and finding a school he can be the starter for from day 1 in 2017, Tagovailoa embraced the position battle and ended up being rewarded on the biggest stage on January 8, 2018– even after Hurts was named SEC Offensive Player of the Year before he arrived on campus.
After an August 24, 2022 joint training camp practice with the Eagles, Tagovailoa spoke to the Alabama standard motivating him to compete with Hurts for the starting job back during his freshman season:
“Yeah, I knew when I went to Alabama, I’d have to compete and compete against a guy that was really good. The year before that he was the SEC Player of the Year, and he led his team to the national championship. So I knew what I was up against. But at the same time, when you go to a place like that, the standards are high, expectations are extremely high as well, because of the success that they’ve had.
Tagovailoa revealed that while the two don’t spend time together during the offseason, they do keep in touch. Given that both have stepped in as a replacement for the other during key moments — with the results varying at the end of the day when it comes to national championships being won — the unprecedented bond the two have will almost certainly never be replicated.
Jalen Hurts Is Having a Historic Start To the 2022 NFL Season
Jalen Hurts was never the starter for Alabama during a Crimson Tide College Football Playoff National Championship, having lost to Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence at Clemson in the years that preceded and followed Tua Tagovailoa’s heroic 2017 National Championship game against Georgia. He also was drafted a full round later than his former quarterback room mate in 2020, receiving far less guaranteed money. Still, Hurts looks more likely to succeed at the NFL level. While Tagovailoa has received criticisms for his arm strength, Hurts has had a historic start to his professional football career in Philadelphia.
Through the first 3 weeks of the 2022 season, Hurts is the first player in NFL history to average 300 passing yards per game and 50 rushing yards per game. He’s also just the 3rd player since the turn of the century with 250 passing plus rushing yards in the first half of three straight games. He joins Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers in some elite company in that category.
The Crimson Tide-turned-Sooner transfer is at the top of the league in most categories as well. Per CBS Sports, Hurts leads the league in 10-plus yard plays (45) in yards per attempt (9.35) and yards per completion (13.88), is tied for first in 20-plus yards plays (13).Meanwhile, the Eagles signal-caller is second in the league in first downs per completion (41.8%), yards after catch after completion (6.56), rushing touchdowns (3), and total offense (pass yards + rush yards – yards lost from sacks) with 1,057.