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Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

When Tua Tagovailoa hears his name called during next month's NFL draft, he will officially become the NFL's first left-handed QB since Kellen Moore retired after the 2017 season.

The irony: Tua was actually born right-handed and still does most tasks righty (writing, eating, even swinging a golf club). But when he was a toddler, his left-handed father, Galu, put the ball in Tua's left hand so he wouldn't be the lone lefty in the family and somehow it stuck.

By the numbers: Lefties make up roughly 10% of the world's population, but they make up 0% of the NFL's current QB population — not just among starters. Of the 107 QBs currently signed to NFL rosters, all 107 are right-handed.

  • The last left-handed QB to be selected in the top 10 of the NFL draft (where Tua is projected to be picked) was Matt Leinart in 2006.
  • This isn't new: Though the NFL has had a defining lefty QB in each modern era — Ken Stabler, Boomer Esiason, Steve Young, Michael Vick — only 32 southpaws have played the position in the history of the league.

Between the lines: Left-handed QBs are somewhat of an inconvenience in the NFL, since receivers have to adjust to passes that "look and spin differently," coaches have to flip plays, and O-lines have to protect the opposite blindside.

  • Former QB David Carr: "All the plays are drawn right-handed. ... For left-handed QBs, it's hard for them to go into the lineup and feel comfortable. It's like handing them a pair of right-handed scissors."
  • Former WR Reggie Wayne: "Not only does the ball turn differently, but it affects the deep ball. [A right-handed QB], his pass turns inside; a lefty, it turns the other way. That's a lot harder of a catch, especially for guys who are not as used to seeing that."
  • Former GM Brian Xanders: "If [two QBs] are totally equal in everything, [teams will sign] the right-hander. Everyone is more used to it."

The bottom line: While the NFL's implicit bias against lefty QBs certainly isn't helping their cause, the biggest factor in the dearth of southpaw signal-callers is likely baseball, which covets strong-armed lefties and offers them the clearest path to the pros (27.2% of MLB pitchers are left-handed).

Go deeper: Football's underclassmen problem

Go deeper

43 mins ago - Sports

China pulls Celtics games after Enes Kanter criticizes Xi Jinping

Celtics center Enes Kanter. Photo: Jim Michaud/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

China will no longer stream Boston Celtics games after center Enes Kanter called Chinese President Xi Jinping a "brutal dictator" in a social media post over the Chinese government's repressive policies in Tibet, according to the New York Times.

Why it matters: Kanter's criticism of Beijing has sparked another round of trouble for the NBA in China, one of its largest and most restrictive markets.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Trump's new venture could be peak SPAC

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Former President Trump last night announced plans to launch a digital media network called "Truth Social," and said it would go public via a SPAC called Digital World Acquisition (Nasdaq: DWAC).

What to know: So far, this is a joke. The press release didn't contain even basic information, such as the new company's CEO. In fact, the only execs mentioned are Trump (as chairman) and veteran TV producer Scott St. John as head of a subscription streaming service.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Tesla is outrunning the supply chain crunch

Expand chart
Data: FactSet and company release; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Tesla, citing a "structural shift" in demand for electric vehicles, reported its highest-ever quarterly profit of $1.6 billion and $13.8 billion in revenues despite supply chain problems.

The big picture: The company's third-quarter report says the chip shortage, port congestion and other woes have affected its factories but argues that "flexibility" and "ingenuity" are a counterweight.

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