Most Viewed Stories
Some have become relevant, some not
Chandler Harnish's reaction to being Mr. Irrelevant:
"It can be overwhelming."
And he's not even here yet.
Harnish was the 253rd player selected in the NFL draft in April. As there is no 254th pick, Harnish, a quarterback out of Northern Illinois, joins the elite group of college football players who were the final choices in the NFL draft and thus became Mr. Irrelevant. Since 1976, the final choice of the draft is celebrated during Irrelevant Week in Newport Beach and in other communities because one city is not large enough to handle Irrelevant Week.
Irrelevant Week begins July 2 at 5 p.m., with the Arrival Beach Party at Newport Dunes. The big event is the Lowsman Banquet at Newport Marriott on July 3, when Harnish receives his Lowsman Trophy, which is an exact replica of the Heisman Trophy, with one minor difference. The player on the Lowsman Trophy is fumbling the football.
You have to be a superior football player to get drafted, and Harnish is a superior football player. He was a three-year starter at Northern Illinois, where he was a dual threat. This past fall Harnish, 6-foot-2, 220 pounds and a native of Indiana, passed for 2,692 yards and rushed for 1,351 yards and was among 15 semifinalists for the Walter Camp Award that goes to the best player in college football.
This Irrelevant Week is the first in the 37-year history of the event to occur during the week of the Fourth of July.
"The first day's always been like June 20 or the 25th," Melanie Fitch said.
Fitch organizes Irrelevant Week with her father and Irrelevant Week founder Paul Salata, who was a star receiver at USC, played in the NFL and in the Canadian Football League. Salata also acted in a few movies, made a nice sum of money with his construction supplies business and is the greatest roast-master in Orange County history.
The Indianapolis Colts delayed Harnish's release into the hands of the Irrelevant Week folks, because of mini-camps, rookie symposiums and the like.
"We'll make it work," said Fitch, thanks to the loyal team Fitch and Salata have assembled to make Irrelevant Week a highlight of every Southern California summer.
Harnish also gets a round of golf at historic Santa Ana Country Club, still one of the finer courses in the county, and a visit to Disneyland Resort.
The public events are the Newport Dunes arrival party July 2 ($20 admission includes parking, food, music and the presentation of gifts to Mr. Irrelevant) and the Lowsman Banquet on July 3 (seating starts at $150 with all sorts of packages available; as Irrelevant Week raises funds for charities and is a 501c3 organization, admission is tax deductible).
All of the information about Irrelevant Week, including the arrival, the banquet and some history, is at www.irrelevantweek.com. Irrelevant Week also is on Facebook and can be followed at Twitter.
Harnish's chances of being the starting quarterback for Indianapolis this fall are slim. The Colts in April also drafted another quarterback; they took Andrew Luck of Stanford as the No. 1 pick in the draft.
But some Mr. Irrelevants have done quite well in the NFL. Mr. Irrelevant 1992, Matt Elliott, was starting center for the Carolina Panthers for three seasons. Linebacker Marty Moore, '94, played eight seasons in the NFL, with the New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns. The most recent success story is that of Ryan Succop, '10, who is one of the NFL's better kickers with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Sometimes, football is not the path to fame for Mr. Irrelevant. Ryan Hoag, '03, played briefly for a bunch of NFL and other pro teams, but really made his mark as a virgin contestant on "The Bachelorette" TV show.
The first Mr. Irrelevant was the 487th pick of the '74 draft, taken by the Pittsburgh Steelers, little-know receiver Kelvin Kirk of Dayton. He became even littler known after being cut in Steelers training camp but went on to play seven years in the Canadian Football League. His playing days complete, Kirk then descended into the lowest levels of obscurity — he works for a newspaper.
Contact the writer: email@example.com