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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Samoan Influence being felt at every level

Dennis Dodd of CBS Sportsline wrote a series of three articles on Polynesians in professional football. The first article profiles the newest Samoan stars in the NFL Troy Polamalu and Lofa Tatupu both coming off Pro Bowl seasons and appearances in the Super Bowl and sets the context of the increasing numbers of both Samoan and Tongan football players in the game at the professional and collegiate level.

Samoan influence being felt at every level

Dennis Dodd
By Dennis Dodd
CBS Senior Writer
Tell Dennis your opinion!

First in a three-part series on the impact of Samoan players on American football. Part II coming Wednesday: the rise of high school quarterback TC McCartney -- son of the late Sal Aunese and grandson of ex-Buffaloes coach Bill McCartney.

Troy Polamalu wanted to sign autographs after last week's Pro Bowl in Honolulu. But 5-0 said no.

"Police told him he couldn't go out there because he was getting mobbed on his way out," said his uncle, Kennedy Pola, running backs coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. "He had to go back to the hotel."

Lofa Tatupu followed his dad Mosi as a Trojan before hitting it big in the NFL with the Seahawks. (Getty Images)
Lofa Tatupu followed his dad Mosi as a Trojan before hitting it big in the NFL with the Seahawks. (Getty Images)
The mix of budding Polynesian superstar in one of the cradles of Polynesian culture created a South Pacific mosh pit.

Welcome to a new era in this ongoing friendly football takeover. Samoans as rock stars.

Pacific Islanders' influence -- specifically those tracing ancestry back to Samoa and its vicinity -- has been well documented. The group of five volcanic islands -- combined about the size of Washington D.C. -- produces more NFL players per capita than any racial group. A Samoan kid is 40 times more likely to play in the NFL than his U.S. counterpart. There are more than 200 such players in college football.

Thanks to Polamalu and others, they are more than curiosities. They are becoming a foundation. Can a marketing campaign be far behind for football's perfect warriors? Not only are Polynesian males known for being great athletes, their character might shine through even more.

"Family is a vital part of who we are," said Mike Tuiasosopo, University of Arizona defensive line coach and uncle of Oakland Raiders backup quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo. "Fitting into a team is very easy. If you have us, we're pretty loyal people. We're loyal to the cause, loyal to the team, loyal to the family."

To read the rest of the article follow the link: Samoan influence being felt at every level.

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