Mosi Tatupu
No. 30, 44
Position:Running back
Personal information
Born:(1955-04-26)April 26, 1955
Pago Pago, American Samoa
Died:February 23, 2010(2010-02-23) (aged 54)
Attleboro, Massachusetts
Height:6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight:227 lb (103 kg)
Career information
High school:Punahou School
(Honolulu, Hawaii)
NFL Draft:1978 / Round: 8 / Pick: 216
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Player stats at PFR

Mosiula Faasuka Tatupu (April 26, 1955 – February 23, 2010) was a National Football League special teamer and running back from American Samoa who, during a fourteen-year professional career, played for the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams. His tenure with the Patriots lasted from 1978 to 1990. He made the Pro Bowl in 1986.[1]

High school career

Tatupu was a standout player at Punahou School where he set many Hawaii state rushing records.[2] He graduated in 1974.[3][4]

College career

Tatupu attended the University of Southern California, playing in the 1978 Hula Bowl and finished his career with 223 rushing attempts for 1277 yards (5.73 yards per attempt avg.). The Mosi Tatupu Award Edit this on Wikidata, given annually to the College Football Special Teams Player of the Year by the Maui Quarterback Club and the Hula Bowl, bears his name.

NFL career

Drafted in 1978 by the New England Patriots (8th round, 215th overall), Tatupu played fullback and became an ace on special teams. He rushed the ball 612 times for 2,415 yards and 18 touchdowns; in the 1983 season he led the league with 5.5 rushing yards per attempt. He caught 96 passes for 843 yards and two touchdowns for his career. 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. However, the Patriots were terrible late in his career (they went 1–15 in his final season) and his playing time was sharply reduced in his final three years with the team; in one humiliating instance, Chris Berman mined humor from a blowout New England loss by showing all 13 receptions by Tatupu in the game, because none of the catches produced a touchdown or even a first down.

He was used mostly on special teams kick coverage. He did have seven kick returns for 56 yards in his career.

Later life

Tatupu was the head coach at King Philip Regional High School in Wrentham, Massachusetts. Former New England Patriots Center Pete Brock was one of his Assistant Coaches.

Tatupu 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 Steve Nelson.

Tatupu died in Plainville, Massachusetts[5][6] on February 23, 2010.[7][8] The cause of death was a heart attack; in 2014, using brain tissue preserved from his 2010 autopsy, he was posthumously diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy by the CTE Center at Boston University School of Medicine.[9]


His son Lofa Tatupu played linebacker for the University of Southern California and middle linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks.[1] Nephew Joe Tuipala was also an NFL linebacker from 1999 to 2005.

In pop culture

In The Simpsons episode "Treehouse of Horror III" Mosi Tatupu's name is used during the "King Homer" segment. This segment is a parody of the 1933 film King Kong. During this segment, the character of the chief of Ape Island is shown to say "Mosi Tatupu, Mosi Tatupu", which in their language means "the blue-haired woman will make a fine sacrifice" (the "blue-haired woman" being Marge Simpson, who is playing Fay Wray to Homer's King Kong).

One of the most popular players to play for the New England Patriots, Tatupu even had his own section of fans at Foxboro Stadium, "Mosi's Mooses," who all adorned moose heads and continually chanted his name throughout every game he played at home.


  1. ^ "Super Bowl Dream Passes From the Father to the Son" from The New York Times. Accessed January 26, 2006.


  1. ^ Obituary New York Times, February 25, 2010.
  2. ^ Tatupu's Punahou O-Men Hall of Fame Induction Citation
  3. ^ Classmates remember Mosi Tatupu
  4. ^ A Bittersweet Class Reunion: Celebrating the Life of Mosi Tatupu
  5. ^ Ted Miller (February 24, 2010). "USC great Tatupu dies". Retrieved February 24, 2010.
  6. ^ "Mosi Tatupu dead at 54". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. February 23, 2010. Retrieved May 27, 2010.
  7. ^ Pepin, Matt (February 24, 2010). "Patriots mourn passing of Mosi Tatupu". The Boston Globe.
  8. ^ "Mosi Tatupu, Patriots fan favorite and father of Seahawks linebacker Lofa Tatupu, dies". Los Angeles Times. February 24, 2010. Archived from the original on February 27, 2010. Retrieved February 24, 2010.
  9. ^ Kay Lazar, Years of battering took toll on 1980s Patriots star Mosi Tatupu, Boston Globe, January 27, 2015, accessed October 6, 2015.