Mr. Irrelevant #262

Written by Posted On Friday, 13 May 2022 00:00

If you spent 3 days of last week watching the 2022 NFL draft of 262 college football players, you probably were bored, unless you had a “dog-in-that-fight” meaning you had a player or team in whom you were interested. There were lots of player/team draft parties held throughout the country. I spent some of last week waiting to see who would get picked as the “last draft choice.” That in itself sounds like it could have been a waste of time — but not for me.

It was in 1975  when Paul Salaita showed up at my Newport Beach home to ask if I would help with a project he was planning? I said “Of course! What do you have in mind?” Paul said, “I want to do something for someone for no good reason. “And that’s it, I countered?” “I want to honor the NFL’s last draft choice,” he said. And he did! Paul, always a philanthropist, continually thought about helping others and had no hesitation using his own money to do so.

Thus, he founded MrIrrelevant honoring the NFL’s last draft choice. “I mean, he continued, what could be more irrelevant than the last choice.”  Not more than 100 players of those drafted each year manage to maintain an NFL career. The first draft choice, in 1976 proved his point.  Kelvin Kirk, the first Mr. Irrelevant out of University of Dayton, missed his flight from Dayton to LAX. Salaita immediately recruited a Hispanic friend to take the place of Kirk, who is Black, in the parade. I mean it’s irrelevant!

It worked! Kirk arrived the next day. When he did, the inaugural parade had already taken place, so now with Kirk on board, we all went to Disneyland – our next irrelevant adventure. Mr. Irrelevant is treated to a week in Newport Beach, CA with a boat parade in the Newport/Balboa Harbor and many other pleasant surprises. At the concluding evening banquet, he is “roasted” by a cadre of sports celebrities who, while making fun of the irrelevant tag, honor him with gifts and a fun evening, which is capped off with the presentation of the Lowman Trophy (as opposed to the Heisman Trophy) and presented by Paul Salaita.

Sadly, Paul died October 16, 2021, one day before his 95th birthday. The irony of this year’s Mr. Irrelevant is that pick #262 Brock Purdy is a San Francisco 49er pick – a team that Salaita had played for after graduating from the University of Southern California.

Will you enjoy watching the newest members selected in this year’s NFL draft?

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Dr. Jim Tunney

Jim Tunney had an exemplary career in sports. A former high school coach, teacher, principal and district superintendent, he had a 40-year career in officiating football and basketball.

Thirty-one of those years he was an NFL Referee working a record twenty-nine post-season games including four Super Bowls, ten NFC/AFC Championship games, six Pro Bowls and twenty-five Monday Night Games.

He officiated some of the most memorable games in NFL history. His book Impartial Judgment: “The Dean of NFL Referees” Calls Pro Football As He Sees It, chronicles his NFL career.

As a Professional Speaker, he is Past President of The National Speakers Association and a Charter Member of its most prestigious group – The CPAE Speakers Hall of Fame. Jim holds every professional designation of the NSA, including the Oscar of Professional Speaking – The Cavett. NSA named him Philanthropist of the Year in 2007.

Dr. Tunney (a doctorate in Education from the University of Southern California) continues to serve his community as  Trustee Emeritus of both Monterey Peninsula College and York School; where he once served as Headmaster. In 1993, he founded the Jim Tunney Youth Foundation to support local community programs that develop leadership, work skills, wellness and self-esteem in youth. He and his wife Linda live in Pebble Beach, California. They have six children and sixteen grandchildren.

As an author he has written and/or co-authored thirteen books: Impartial Judgment, Chicken Soup for the Sports Fan’s Soul, Speaking Secrets of the Masters, You Can Do It!, Super Bowl Sunday, Insights into Excellence, Lessons in Leadership, Build a Better You and his most recent book, It’s the Will, Not the Skill.

If you are looking for a keynote speaker who educates, motivates and entertains with a lifetime of stories about leadership, team building and sports 831-595-3258.

tunneysideofsports.com/

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