Launched in 1976 by NFL alumnus Paul Salata, Irrelevant Week is the annual celebration recognized by the National Football League that honors the last player to be picked in the NFL Draft. Today, Irrelevant Week is the cornerstone of The Foundation for the Undefeated, a national nonprofit organization based in Newport Beach, California that champions stories of perseverance in sports to inspire greatness in others.
“We established Irrelevant Week to drive home an important message – that it’s not a negative to be picked last in the NFL Draft; rather, it’s an honor to be drafted at all,” says Salata. “The last draft pick’s demonstration of perseverance is lesson that resonates not only with NFL players and fans, but also with people everywhere.”
Over the past 40 years, Irrelevant Week has become a much-anticipated and beloved celebration honoring football’s underdog, while also making charitable contributions to the community. In fact, through Irrelevant Week, the organization has donated more than $1 million to charities over the past three decades. Previous beneficiaries include the American Cancer Society, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Goodwill Industries, YMCA, Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity, NFL Alumni, and the American Red Cross, among others.
The focus of international acclaim and media attention, the annual Irrelevant Week celebration kicks off at the NFL Draft with Paul Salata presiding over the official naming of “Mr. Irrelevant” as the last player drafted. Then, in early summer, Mr. Irrelevant is feted with a weeklong series of events held in Newport Beach, California. Mr. Irrelevant is the toast of an Arrival Party welcoming him to town, where NFL fans and the local community come out in force to cheer the player and shower him with gifts from businesses and patrons near and far.
This party is followed with a week of fun for Mr. Irrelevant and his guests, as they tour Disneyland, participate in media opportunities at the NFL Network in Los Angeles, visit the charity beneficiary selected for that year, participate in a sailing regatta in world-famous Newport Harbor, and attend a Major League Baseball Game (either Los Angeles Dodgers or Angels) to receive special recognition.
Then, later in the week, Mr. Irrelevant is the guest-of-honor at the annual Lowsman Banquet, an evening gala that gives past and present sports stars and celebrities a chance to roast and toast the newest member of this exclusive club. The high-spirited celebration includes a silent auction and the awarding of the Lowsman Trophy, a statuette that depicts a player fumbling the football. Proceeds from this event are provided to selected charity.
“I – and the entire team at The Foundation for the Undefeated – remain steadfast in our commitment to applauding those who exude the principles of enduring effort and sportsmanship. The Irrelevant Week tradition shares an inspirational story about a champion of perseverance – and that’s an important message for today’s society.”
The Lowsman Trophy
The Lowsman Trophy is a parody of the Heisman Trophy, which is awarded to the outstanding American college football player of the year. The Lowsman Trophy itself mimics the Heisman, but depicts a football player fumbling a football.
Irrelevant Week’s Lowsman Trophy award ceremony is a highlight of the annual week-long celebration in Newport Beach, CA.