Mosiula Faasuka Tatupu (born April 26, 1955 in Pago Pago – died February 23, 2010) was a National Football League Special teams and Running back player, who during a fifteen year professional career, played for the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams. His tenure with the Patriots lasted from 1978 to 1990.
Tatupu made the Pro Bowl in 1986. He died in Plainville, Massachusetts on February 23, 2010.
Tatupu attended the University of Southern California (USC), playing in the 1978 Hula Bowl and finished his career with 223 rushing attempts for 1277 yards (5.73 yards per attempt average).
Drafted in 1978 by the New England Patriots (8th round, 215th overall), Tatupu played fullback and became an ace on special teams. Tatupu rushed for 2,415 yards over his career with the Patriots, scoring 18 touchdowns and averaging 3.9 yards per carry.
He caught 96 passes for 843 yards and two touchdowns, against the Colts in 1981 and the Falcons in 1983. His season high for rushing yards came in 1983 with 578 rushing yards and four touchdowns, while in 1984 he set a personal best with 16 catches for 159 yards. In 1987 against the Raiders Tatupu threw a 15-yard touchdown to Tony Collins. Tatupu was a special team’s standout and a jack-of-all-trades running back.
At six feet tall and weighing 227 pounds while playing, Tatupu was known for his low center of gravity and his wide feet and legs and his ability to continue to drive when the defense presumed he was stopped. Tatupu became proclaimed for his ability to run in the New England snow. He was one of the most popular players of his era and even had his own cheering section at Schaefer/Sullivan Stadium called “Mosi’s Mooses.”
After retiring from the NFL, he coached at the high school and college levels in Massachusetts. He was most recently the running-backs coach at NCAA Division III school Curry College in Milton, Massachusetts, a program previously led by former New England Patriot.
Highlights & Awards:
- Tatupu was honored as a special-teamer on the Patriots’ 50th anniversary team in September and participated in a ceremony at Gillette Stadium during halftime of the Patriots’ 2009 season opener.
- Mosi Tatupu was an honorary captain for the World team, which had three American Samoan players on its roster.
- The Mosi Tatupu Award was given annually to the College Football Special Teams Player of the year from 1997 to 2006 by the Maui Quarterback Club and the Hula Bowl. Previous winners included NFL stars Chris McAlister, Deltha O’Neil and fellow Patriot Wes Welker.