Tua Tagovailoa denies myth Mike McDaniel was vaping on Dolphins' sideline


Miami’s loss to Buffalo in last month’s AFC Wild Card Round wasn’t an especially memorable or noteworthy affair (though the shorthanded Fins made it a closer game than many would have expected), but it did produce one lasting image, a viral moment that sent shockwaves through social media.

Joe Burrow’s unrelenting coolness has successfully brought post-game victory cigars to mainstream popularity, but an NFL coach vaping, in a playoff game, no less? As convincing as the footage looked, we never got a definitive answer, leaving Twitter to wonder whether Mike McDaniel was indeed vaping, blowing off literal steam on the Dolphins’ sideline, or if the internet was collectively deceived by an optical illusion. Tua Tagovailoa, who was injured for that game, refused to take part in the smear campaign against his head coach, summarily dismissing the notion that McDaniel was doing anything other than trying to stay warm.

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“It didn’t happen, no,” said Tagovailoa when the subject was raised by Lacey Jane Brown of Sports Illustrated. “I think it was cold.”

Tagovailoa’s emphatic denial would seem to exonerate McDaniel, who coached the Dolphins to a 9-8 record in his debut season, leading Miami to its first playoff appearance in six years. What began as a breakout year for Tua quickly devolved into utter chaos, suffering three concussions in as many months, the most recent keeping him in the league’s protocol for 38 days. Despite concerns about his long-term health and safety, Tagovailoa remains fully committed to his NFL career, hoping to build on the success he had before injuries derailed his season.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Megan Briggs, Getty Images