By Ed Diokno
Tennessee Titans Quarterback, Marcus Mariota has been selected as the 2016 recipient of the Polynesian Pro Football Player of the Year. The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame announced the Samoan American’s selection last week.
The Polynesian Pro Football Player of the Year Award recognizes the most outstanding professional football player of Polynesian Ancestry, an award sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines. Arizona Cardinals Offensive Guard Mike Iupati was selected as the inaugural recipient in 2015.
The 6-foot 4, 220-pound, Mariota was born in Honolulu. He is in his second NFL season out of the University of Oregon, where he became the first player of Polynesian ancestry to win the Heisman trophy. That same year, he was named the inaugural Polynesian College Football Player of the Year by the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame.
This year, Mariota helped lead the Tennessee Titans to a 9-7 regular season record. He completed 276-of-451 passes for 3,426 yards, 26 touchdowns, and a 95.6 passer rating, while also rushing for 349 yards and two touchdowns. Mariota earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors in Week 10 after passing for 295 yards and four touchdowns in a Tennessee Titans victory over the Green Bay Packers. He was also named the AFC Offensive Player of the Month in November and an alternate to the Pro Bowl.
“On behalf of the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Board of Directors, we congratulate Marcus on a fantastic season,” said Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Chairman Jesse Sapolu. “He is a tremendous role model and a source of great pride for Polynesians everywhere.”
The formal presentation of the Award will be held at the Polynesian Football Hall of Fame Celebration Dinner on Jan. 20, along with being recognized during the Inaugural Polynesian Bowl the next day in Oahu, Hawai`i.
The Polynesian Football Hall of Fame honors Polynesia’s greatest players, coaches and contributors. It also serves as a resource for Polynesian football history, provides academic scholarships and supports educational programs for Polynesian youth. Its permanent home is located at the Polynesian Cultural Center (O’ahu’s North Shore) and was established in 2013 by Sapolu and Ma’a Tanuvasa. Other board members include Troy Polamalu, Vai Sikahema, June Jones and Reno Mahe.
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