Marcus Mariota had an outstanding start to his NFL career, and that got us to thinking about memorable debuts across all sports (both collegiate and pro). This is by no means a complete list (feel free to share others in the comments), but it's a list of some of the best we could think of that were in line with what Mariota did on Sunday afternoon.
Sunday: Mariota threw four touchdown passes, tying Fran Tarkenton for the most by a player in his NFL debut. After starting the game 0-of-2, Mariota completed 13 of his final 14 attempts and finished with more touchdowns (four) than incompletions (three).
Sept. 2, 2013:Jameis Winston’s first game at Florida State was an impressive one. He was 25-of-27 for 356 yards with four touchdown passes, a touchdown run and no turnovers.
Sept. 11, 2011: No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton had a memorable debut against the Cardinals. Despite the 28-21 loss, his 422 yards were the most ever by a quarterback in his first career game. He broke the 61-year-old record previously held by Hall of Famer Otto Graham.
June 14, 2010: No. 1 pick Stephen Strasburg strikes out 14 Pirates in seven innings allowing only two runs to earn his first major league win. It’s the most strikeouts in a debut since J.R. Richard had 15 for the Astros in 1971. It was one of two memorable debuts that season. A month earlier, Starlin Castro set a major-league record with six RBIs in his debut for the Cubs against the Reds.
Oct. 29, 2003: No. 1 overall draft pick LeBron James scores 25 points, grabs six rebounds, hands out nine assists and makes four steals, but his Cavaliers lose to the Kings 106-92
Sept. 6, 1998: Randy Moss, after falling to the No. 21 pick of the first round to the Vikings in 1998, catches four passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-7 victory over the Buccaneers.
Moss' first touchdown at the end of the first quarter was an acrobatic 48-yard catch that he bobbled a few times before grabbing.
Nov. 1, 1996: No. 1 overall draft pick Allen Iverson scores 30 points and hands out six assists, but his 76ers lose to the Bucks 111-103
Sept. 4, 1994: Marshall Faulk sets the tone for future greatness by rushing for 143 yards and three touchdowns in a win over the Houston Oilers. It was similar to the debut of Billy Sims for the Lions (153 rushing yards, three touchdowns) against the Rams in 1980.
March 6, 1985: Eighteen-year-old Mike Tyson knocks out Hector Mercedes in 107 seconds in the first round of their heavyweight fight, foreshadowing future success. Tyson finishes the year 15-0, all knockouts.
Oct. 11, 1984: Mario Lemieux steals the puck from Hall of Famer Ray Bourque and scores the first of his 690 goals on his first shot, but his Penguins lose to the Bruins, 4-3.
Sept. 6, 1980: Georgia's Herschel Walker runs over Tennessee All-SEC safety Bill Bates scoring from 16 yards out to lead the Bulldogs to a comeback win over the Volunteers in Knoxville. Georgia would go on to be national champions that year.
April 14, 1967: Red Sox pitcher Billy Rohr throws a one-hit shutout at Yankee Stadium. Rohr was one out away from a no-hitter, but Elston Howard singled in the ninth inning to spoil a shot at the first no-hitter in a debut since Bumpus Jones had one for the Reds in 1892.
July 19, 1960: Future Hall of Famer Juan Marichal allowed only one hit and struck out 12 in a complete-game win over the Phillies.
Sept. 22, 1954: Karl Spooner of the Brooklyn Dodgers strikes out 15 in a shutout of a Giants team that would go on to win the World Series.