When I made the Taylor Swift comic a couple of weeks ago I originally had written a bunch about how scary and next-level Swifties are. Real crazy degrees of adoration and worship. The more I thought about it though, the more I realized football fans, sports fans, any fans, don’t really have a leg to stand on there. Swifties level of devotion baffles me, but I’m sure football fandoms and the fanatics within also baffle them, and everyone else who isn’t into the sport. After all, every fandom has a subset of filth to it. The toxic sludge at the bottom of the barrel that has a weird smell. Football is no different. We have people who send death threats to family members of players if the player doesn’t score them enough fantasy points. We have people who attack each other in the stands; who throw beer on visiting fans. We have multiple advanced analytics sites that spawned because a bunch of nerds came up with their own formulas to try and make “objective data” analysis of team performance. And we have untold amounts of dipshits who spend their entire day yelling at people over the internet about sports opinions. Every comment section under a team/player ranking article will blind you if you stare at it too long.

One of these subsets has gained some notoriety in recent years. A certain smattering of Dolphins fans in various online spaces has gotten so weird about Tua and the Dolphins that they’ve earned their own nickname: Tuanon. Props to whoever coined that term, absolute chef’s kiss. They’ve really come on in the last two seasons, coinciding with Tua’s breaking out into a top-level QB. It’s a wild group of weirdos who will magically appear under almost any post about the Dolphins, or Tua, or most notably Justin Herbert praise, just to throw themselves around and call you dumb. Some are just frothing mad and yell at you and call you various things. Some try to pretend they are dignified in their attempt to call you dumb, taking a calm, composed tone to try and hide the fact that they came from the depths of some crevice and are just as mad at you as the loud obnoxious ones. I’m pretty sure that when I roll out of bed tomorrow and post this to Twitter I have a distinct chance of honeypotting at least one of them into my comments. I will swiftly mute them.

Groups of fans who stan a certain player aren’t anything new. If anything it is getting worse overall. I recently ran afoul of the rapidly rising Brock Purdy Posse by suggesting that he’s a mid-tier system QB. I didn’t even call him bad, just average in a great situation, and I got swarmed by multiple people acting like I ranked him 28th or something, and several of them continued to bug me afterward about it. If any of you weirdos who kept bringing him up to me after that are reading this, btw, I muted all of you, so have fun screaming into the void. There are few people more annoying online than the guy who disagreed with your one take and then they make it their mission to bring it up at every opportunity afterward to try and say I told you so. Even if you end up right, that’s annoying shit that makes nobody want to interact with you.

Tuanon is wild to me in that they don’t just appear in takes about the Dolphins. The Justin Herbert connection is real. If you compliment Justin Herbert online, you will very likely summon some of these guys who just can’t resist the opportunity to make it somehow about Tua. It’s fucking weird. My guess is that it is a group of insecure people who are taking a victory lap now that Tua has panned out and turned into a great QB, proving their early support of him correct.

It’s funny to watch this strange dynamic develop over time. The two players are linked in a few ways. Same draft, taken right after one another. But Herbert pretty much came right out of the gate a star and by year’s end was already in most top 10 QB lists. Tua struggled so the narrative was the Dolphins fucked up, and Tua was getting so much disparagement that I actually went and made a comic defending him at the time. Brian Flores feuded with Dolphin management and stories came out that apparently he wanted Herbert the whole time, and that he tried to trade for Watson, and that he didn’t like Tua. Tua was also coming back from a devastating injury and had some other injury setbacks, so while he never looked like a bust, he struggled, and Herbert’s ascension must have stung.

Of course a few years down the road and the narrative has kinda flipped. Herbert has plateaued. He’s still great, but his improvements are small and he has not really ascended into the elite pantheon, and after playoff failures and other struggles to get over the hump more and more people are beginning to raise an eyebrow at him. Meanwhile after Flores got canned Tua got the hottest young mind in football as his coach and he has rapidly ascended into the top 5 conversations with Herbie. He started off last year hot before the concussion problems set him back but this year has been an absolute explosion. Now Tua is getting recognition and all his fans are taking a victory lap out on anyone who dares suggest Herbert is cool or fun. Herbert is cool and fun! He’s not actually connected to Tua at all, and you can appreciate them both at the same time. You don’t have to compare them. I like watching both of them. I think both are second-tier QBs just below elite (for now), and I won’t rank one over the other because at a certain point you have to take into account external factors and right now I think Tua is in the better situation.