NEWPORT BEACH, CA — What’s in a name?
“I don’t really have a whole lot of words to describe that moment. It was special,” said Brock Purdy as he described the moment he heard his name called in NFL Draft as the 262nd pick. Aside from reaching a childhood dream as a draft pick the Iowa State University Cyclone great and new San Francisco 49ers Quarterback also earned the exclusive title of Mr. Irrelevant for the final pick of the draft.
“The 262nd pick out of hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people trying to pursue the NFL so I look at it like man I’m so blessed,” Purdy said.
CEO of Irrelevant Week Melanie Fitch whose father created the volunteer organization out of Newport Beach, California hopes Purdy and his family are prepared to be the center of attention for a nearly week-long celebration. “Being treated just like the first guy drafted and we feel he’s just as special so it’s kind of a misnomer. My dad, who thought this all up, he wasn’t a marketing guy,” said Fitch with a laugh.
Fitting that the red carpet will be rolled out for a Cyclone that holds nearly all of Iowa State’s passing records. Brock said, “They’ll have a parade at Newport Beach and I’ll learn how to surf and sail.”
Two of the most popular amusement parks in California are fighting for Brock to make an appearance. Knott’s Berry Farm and Disneyland. Fitch said, “Goofy would wanna catch a ball from him or Mickey Mouse. Knott’s Berry Farm has miners and gold panning and they want the 49er to come to Knott’s Berry Farm.”
The fanfare will be memorable says Fitch. “The Los Angeles Angels, the baseball team is in town during the time and they’d like him to come out and throw the last pitch in the game instead of the first pitch.”
Brock knows that just reaching the NFL isn’t the endgame. He said, “I’m not finished. Just because I got drafted doesn’t mean everything is set for me moving forward. I still have to go in and do the work.”
Purdy is just the second athlete from an Iowa college or university to become Mr. Irrelevant. The first almost never had the chance to enjoy the perks at all. Tight end Andy Stokes from William Penn University in 2005. “Andy Stokes was drafted by the Patriots and Coach Belicheck wasn’t going to let him come out. We had to have the commissioner call the owner and the owner had to tell him we want him to go,” Fitch said.
Purdy’s college accolades and trophies may be over but one more trophy will be heading his way at a Mr. Irrelevant Lowsman Banquet meant to roast and honor Brock. “A bronze statue but has a ball coming off of his knee as opposed to the Heisman catching it,” said Fitch.
For an athlete who changed the perception of Cyclone quarterbacks getting drafted, the last being Seneca Wallace in 2003, the name Mr. Irrelevant may just be another term he can spin downfield towards success. Purdy said, “I have a chip on my shoulder. I have this thing that is part of my story and I can take this thing that looks like not the best and I can turn it around and make people go wow.”
Since the award began in 1976 there have been at least three Mr. Irrelevants that have gone on to win the Super Bowl. Irrelevant Week is targeting late June for the celebration as they plan to invite Brock and his family once the 49ers take a long break from practices.