DENVER — One of the top storylines of this year’s Super Bowl is the fact that the starting quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, Brock Purdy, was selected last in the NFL Draft. It gave him the title of "Mr. Irrelevant," one that’s shared by a Colorado man and CU alum.
“I was taken in the NFL draft. Yeah. Last,” Jim Kelleher told Denver7.
Kelleher stood outside Empower Field at Mile High, donning a University of Colorado jacket, smiling. Back in 1977, then-CU fullback Kelleher was picked by the Minnesota Vikings with the 335th and final pick of that year’s draft.
“That is the title of Mr. Irrelevant,” he said, explaining that the pick itself, not the person it was used on, was dubbed as irrelevant.
With that title, Kelleher was given a trophy of a football player fumbling a football, titled the "Lowsman Trophy," in contrast with the well-known Heisman Trophy for college’s best player. He was also treated to a week of pomp and circumstance as part of "Irrelevant Week," all about him being the last pick.
"They had a band waiting at LAX when you got of the plane, they had a really big press conference," he said, showing photos of the events in a magazine from 1977. "There’s a picture of me with Mickey Mouse, we went to Disney World."
Jim would go on to have what he calls a "short" NFL career, only playing in a few exhibition games. He said he still has a sideline jacket from the Vikings during his brief time there. But the title of "Mr. Irrelevant" he gets to keep and cherish, including when a fellow member of that exclusive club, now gets to shine in the Super Bowl.
"I think Brock Purdy has definitely helped bring back the positive aspects of being Mr. Irrelevant," Jim said. "I’m sure he makes anyone who wears that Mr. Irrelevant moniker proud."
Jim still lives in Colorado, and said he’ll be rooting on Purdy in the Super Bowl on Sunday. As for another Colorado connection to the title, in 2017, the Broncos had the final pick in that year’s draft, and used it to select that year’s Mr. Irrelevant — quarterback Chad Kelly.