SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS SAFETY TALANOA HUFANGA AND MIAMI DOLPHINS QUARTERBACK TUA TAGOVAILOA NAMED POLYNESIAN PRO FOOTBALL PLAYERS OF THE YEAR PRESENTED BY HAWAIIAN AIRLINES
Honolulu, HI (January 12, 2023) – The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame announced today that Miami Dolphins Quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa and San Francisco 49ers Safety Talanoa Hufanga have been selected as the 2022 recipients of the Polynesian Pro Football Player of the Year Award presented by Hawaiian Airlines. The Polynesian Pro Football Player of the Year Award recognizes the most outstanding professional football player of Polynesian Ancestry.
Talanoa Hufanga, of Tongan descent, was named the Polynesian Defensive Player of the Year. Hufanga was a fifth-round pick by the 49ers in the 2021 NFL draft. In 14 games this season, Talanoa recorded 75 tackles (five for loss), defensed eight passes, recorded two sacks, forced two fumbles and has four interceptions, one of which he returned 52 yards for a touchdown.
Tua Tagovailoa, of Samoan descent, was named the Polynesian Offensive Player of the Year. Tagovailoa was a first-round pick by the Dolphins in the 2020 NFL draft. In 13 games this season, Tua completed 259 of 400 passes for 3,548 passing yards with 25 passing touchdowns. He compiled the NFL’s best passing-efficiency rating for the 2022 season at 105.5.
“On behalf of the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Board of Directors, we congratulate Talanoa and Tua on fantastic seasons,” said Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Chairman Jesse Sapolu. “They are tremendous role models, players, and a source of great pride for Polynesians everywhere.”
Mike Iupati was selected as the inaugural recipient in 2015; Atlanta Falcons QB Marcus Mariota received the award in 2016; Kansas City Chiefs WR JuJu Smith-Schuster received the award in 2017 & 2018; Baltimore Ravens OT Ronnie Stanley received the award in 2019; and Indianapolis Colts DL DeForest Buckner received the award in 2021.
The formal presentation of the Award will be held at the 2023 Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Celebration Dinner (January 21, 2023), along with being recognized during the 2023 Polynesian Bowl (January 20, 2023).
The Polynesian Pro Football Player of the Year is voted on by the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee, which includes former NFL Player and Inaugural Inductee Jack "The Throwin' Samoan" Thompson (Chairman), Coaches Ron McBride and Dick Vermeil, former NFL Player and Inaugural Inductee Olin Kreutz, Inaugural Inductee and past NFLPA president Kevin Mawae, former NFL Player and Class of 2015 Inductee Ray Schoenke, ESPN Sportscaster Neil Everett, and NFL Network commentator Steve Wyche.
About the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame: The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame honors Polynesia’s greatest players, coaches, and contributors. Its permanent home is located at the Polynesian Cultural Center and was established in 2013 by Super Bowl Champions Jesse Sapolu and Ma’a Tanuvasa. Other board members include Troy Polamalu, Vai Sikahema, June Jones and Reno Mahe. www.PolynesianFootballHOF.org
About the Polynesian Bowl: The Polynesian Bowl is a premier all-star game played annually in Honolulu, Hawai`i that features 100 of the nation’s top ranked high school seniors of Polynesian and non-Polynesian ancestry alike – many of whom have gone on to play in the NFL. The game has become the most sought-after all-star football invitation – a rapid rise from its inaugural game in 2017. This past January, top ranked 2022 player Travis Hunter participated in the game and was named Offensive MVP. The game will be broadcast live and in primetime on NFL Network. Major partners include Microsoft Surface Pro, adidas, BodyArmor, Riddell, CrossCountry Mortgage, Kamehameha Schools, Friends of Hawai`i Charities, Hawaiian Airlines, HBCTC, Hawaiʻi News Now and World Wide Safety. For more information, go to www.PolynesianBowl.com.