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Random Athlete Of The Day- Chris Fuamatu-Ma’afala

Chris Fuamatu-Ma’afala was a running back in the NFL with the unfortunate reputation for having a much better name than his actual career.  Born in Honolulu, Ma’Fala is one of few Hawaiian football players to make a name for himself.  He attended Saint Louis High School in Honolulu and rushed for over 800 yards on under 100 carries in his senior season.  This helped him to earn a scholarship to become a Utah Ute.

At Utah Ma’fala had a successful career from the start, earning Freshman of the Year honors for the WAC conference.  He continued to have a strong collegiate career in route to becoming a sixth round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers. His professional career began slowly in his first few seasons as he struggled to make ground in a crowded Pittsburgh Steelers backfield.

2001 was his best statistical year as a pro, and consequently the year where he supplanted himself as a fan favorite in Pittsburgh through his mediocre game sparks, and of course due to his entertaining name. When he made a play the fans would all yell “fuuuuuu” as appreciation for both the name and effort on the field. He also inspired a fan favorite t-shirt shown below which the quote “He’s One Bad Ma’afala.” He tallied 453 rushing yards, 127 receiving yards, and 4 touchdowns in his career year.  He tallied 126 rushing yards and 53 receiving yards in a game against the Lions which would end up being the best performance of his pro career.

2002 did not lead to the same returns as the 2001 campaign, and it was Ma’fala’s last in a Pittsburgh Steeler uniform.  He went on to play 2 more uneventful seasons for the Jacksonville Jaguars.  Fuamatu Ma’fala retired after the 2004 season and currently resides in Honolulu, and works for a youth sports organization and stays active by playing racquet ball.

There’s an unwritten rule: you’re not a true Steelers fan if you can’t pronounce Chris Fuamatu-Ma’afala.

-Childs

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