The Journey of Marcus Mariota


Marcus Mariota, the charismatic quarterback with a dazzling college career, has captivated NFL fans for almost a decade. Drafted second overall in 2015, his journey has been a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows. Let’s delve into the life and career of this intriguing athlete, exploring his college stardom, NFL tenure, and what the future holds for the “Island Prince.”

College Brilliance: A Heisman Trophy and Oregon Legacy

Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Mariota’s football journey began early. He excelled at Saint Louis School, showcasing his dual-threat ability โ€“ a strong arm paired with impressive rushing prowess. This versatility caught the eye of the University of Oregon, where he committed in 2010.

Mariota’s college career was nothing short of phenomenal. Under head coach Chip Kelly’s high-octane offence, he thrived. Nicknamed the “Magic Man” for his playmaking ability, Mariota shredded defences with his throws and electrifying runs.

He led the Ducks to a National Championship appearance in his sophomore year and became the first Oregon player, and the first Hawaii-born athlete, to win the prestigious Heisman Trophy in 2014.

During his college tenure, Mariota rewrote the Oregon record books, amassing numerous accolades:

  • Heisman Trophy Winner (2014)
  • National Champion Runner-Up (2011)
  • Rose Bowl MVP (2012)
  • 2x First-team All-Pac-12 (2013, 2014)
  • Paul Hornung Award Winner (2014)

Holds Oregon records for career touchdowns (135), total offensive yards (13,089), and passing touchdowns (105)

Mariota’s electrifying play and infectious personality made him a college football superstar. His success transcended the gridiron, becoming a cultural icon and role model for young athletes, particularly those of Polynesian descent.

Entering the NFL: High Expectations with the Tennessee Titans

The hype surrounding Mariota was immense as he declared for the 2015 NFL Draft. The Tennessee Titans, yearning for a franchise quarterback, selected him with the second overall pick. The pressure was on for Mariota to revitalize a struggling Titans franchise.

Mariota’s NFL debut season was a mixed bag. He showcased his mobility and scrambling ability, but accuracy and consistency remained concerns. Despite leading the Titans to their first winning season in eight years (2016), questions lingered about his ability to elevate the team to championship contention.

The following seasons saw flashes of brilliance from Mariota, but overall inconsistency plagued his tenure. Injuries and a lack of offensive line support also hindered his development. The Titans, searching for a more stable presence under centre, acquired Ryan Tannehill midway through the 2019 season. This move ultimately relegated Mariota to a backup role.

A Journeyman’s Path: Las Vegas, Atlanta, and Philadelphia

In 2020, Mariota sought a fresh start, signing a two-year deal with the Las Vegas Raiders. Here, he served as a backup to Derek Carr, primarily seeing action in short-yardage situations. While his playing time was limited, Mariota embraced his role as a mentor to younger quarterbacks.

The Atlanta Falcons signed Mariota in 2022, hoping to reignite his career. He initially impressed, winning the starting job out of training camp. However, inconsistency resurfaced, leading to a mid-season switch to rookie Desmond Ridder. Mariota finished the season as Ridder’s backup.

In 2023, Mariota landed with the Philadelphia Eagles, reuniting with head coach Shane Steichen, who was his offensive coordinator in Los Angeles during his time with the Chargers (pre-draft). He served as a backup to Jalen Hurts, primarily contributing in the preseason.

The Washington Commanders and Number Zero: A New Chapter?

Looking ahead, Mariota finds himself with the Washington Commanders in 2024. Interestingly, he chose the number zero jersey, a first for quarterbacks in the NFL since the league adjusted jersey number rules in 2023. This choice, according to Mariota, serves as a “reminder” to prove doubters wrong [3].

The Commanders drafted rookie quarterback Jayden Daniels with the second overall pick, indicating Mariota is likely destined for a backup role again. However, there’s always a chance for him to impress and potentially compete for the starting job.


Q: Where did Marcus Mariota play college football?

A: Mariota played for the Oregon Ducks from 2011 to 2014.

Q: Did Marcus Mariota win the Heisman Trophy?

A: Yes! In 2014, Mariota became the first player at the University of Oregon and the first Hawaii-born athlete to win the Heisman Trophy.

Q: What were some of Marcus Mariota’s college achievements?

A: During his college career, Mariota set numerous records including career touchdowns in the Pac-12 (135), career total offensive yards for Oregon (13,089) and career passing touchdowns (105).

Q: When did Marcus Mariota enter the NFL Draft?

A: Mariota was selected second overall by the Tennessee Titans in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Q: For which NFL teams has Marcus Mariota played?

A: Throughout his NFL career, Mariota has played for the Tennessee Titans (2015-2019), Las Vegas Raiders (2020-2021), Atlanta Falcons (2022), and most recently the Philadelphia Eagles (2023). In 2024, he signed with the Washington Commanders.

Q: What is Marcus Mariota’s current role with the Washington Commanders?

A: Mariota is expected to be a backup quarterback for the Commanders in the 2024 season, behind rookie Jayden Daniels.

Q: Why did Marcus Mariota choose the number zero for the Washington Commanders?

A: Mariota said he chose the number zero as a “reminder” to prove doubters wrong throughout his career. It’s also the first time a quarterback has worn zero in the NFL since jersey number rules were relaxed in 2023.

Q: What is Marcus Mariota’s playing style known for?

A: Mariota is known for his dual-threat ability, excelling at both passing and rushing the ball.

Q: What are some of Marcus Mariota’s career stats?

A: As of today (May 1, 2024), Mariota has thrown for 15,820 yards, 93 touchdowns, and has a completion percentage of 62.7% throughout his NFL career. He also has 2,064 rushing yards and 17 rushing touchdowns.

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Jyoti Kumari

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