Miami Dolphins’ rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa unveiled his new number Tuesday, and he says it has a connection to his Christian faith.
The former University of Alabama quarterback will wear No. 1 for the Dolphins, who finished 5-11 in 2019 and drafted Tagovailoa fifth overall in the first round last month.
“For the Audience of 1,” Tagovailoa wrote on his social media accounts alongside an emoji of praying hands. He also posted a picture of himself in his new jersey, with eyeblack crosses emblazoned on each cheek.
For the Audience of 1🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/kZYXaYVD1R— Tua. T 🇦🇸 (@Tua) May 6, 2020
“Audience of One” is a popular phrase used by Christian athletes.
“The intent of the phrase is to help Christian players remember that everywhere in life – even in a stadium full of people – ‘we live and move and have our being in Him,’ and it’s His pleasure we should pursue above all else,” Athletes in Action’s Ed Uszynski wrote on the ministry’s website.
In week 13 of the 2016 NFL season, several Christian players for the Philadelphia Eagles wore customized cleats with the Audience of One acronym, “AO1,” on one side of the shoe and “Romans 5:8” on the other. They also recorded a video explaining the meaning behind Audience of One.
“What does AO1 mean to us?” they explained in the video, rotating lines. “It means that we are playing for an Audience of One. When the lights go on and all eyes are fixed on us, our eyes are fixed on Him: Jesus, the creator of the universe. It’s not just a slogan, it’s a lifestyle. Living for Him, playing for Him, and giving Him all the glory. Win, lose, or draw – I play for an Audience of One.”
Tagovailoa’s Twitter bio reads, “1 Cor. 2:9.” The verse reads in the NIV, “However, as it is written: ‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived’ – the things God has prepared for those who love him.”
He told CBN his faith forms his identity.
“The greatest gift that God could have given us was His Son. It’s not just a matter of hearing what Jesus Christ is, it’s a matter of getting to know who Jesus Christ is,” Tagovailoa said. “To really understand and really feel the identity of who you are because of things that He’s done. And I’d say you can only find your identity through Him, if you know Him.”
Photo courtesy: Tua Tagovailoa Twitter
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.