Sometimes the player wants to meet celebrities. Meetings with actors Halle Berry and Will Ferrell have been requested in the past, Fitch said, noting that Mr. Irrelevants "usually want to meet someone who is shapely or funny."
Ramzee Robinson, the 2007 honoree, wanted to go clubbing in Los Angeles, so Fitch said she arranged for him to hit the town with Paris Hilton. The following year, David Vobora wanted to meet the stars of "The Girls Next Door," so Fitch got the Idaho linebacker into the Playboy Mansion to party with Miss June and dine with Hugh Hefner.
She chuckled thinking about a meeting with the interns before Vobora's arrival.
"The hands go up and one tells me, 'I'll drive him to the Playboy Mansion!' " she said. "What a sacrifice."
Salata's favorite story from Irrelevant Week came in 1983, he said. The recipient was John Tuggle, who had played on the 1982 California Bears team responsible for what is known in football circles as "The Play."
The Bears were playing their rivals, the Stanford Cardinal, who took a 20-19 lead with four seconds left. On the ensuing kickoff, the Bears executed a series of five laterals to elude the Stanford defenders, but the overly optimistic Cardinal band had already marched onto the field.
The Bears' Kevin Moen caught the final lateral, charged through the wayward musicians and spiked the ball on trombone player Gary Tyrrell in what became one of the zaniest and most controversial plays in football history.
"Dad says, 'I want to find the trombone player,' " Fitch recalled.
Salata told Tyrrell he wanted him at Irrelevant Week so he could "be a guest and play the fight song on command."
A few weeks later, Tyrrell and the Irrelevant Week crew were on the tarmac when Tuggle's plane arrived. As Tuggle disembarked, Salata cued Tyrrell to belt out the fight song, the trombonist played some awkward notes that sounded more like a broken foghorn. Tyrrell did it again at a press conference for Tuggle.
"It was something we'd never heard. It didn't sound like the fight song," Salata said. He took Tyrrell aside and scolded him: "I'm going to get mad at you because we made a deal. It's costing us money."
Tyrrell responded sheepishly, "Mr. Salata, I am playing the Stanford fight song. I'm third chair. That's my part."
One small hitch
It hasn't always been rollicking frolicking, Fitch said, explaining the New England Patriots' handling of the 2005 honor left a bad taste in her mouth. The Pats took Andy Stokes with the 255th pick of the draft that year, but coach Bill Belichik initially refused to let the tight end attend Irrelevant Week.
"Belichik likes to make his own rules and do his own deal," she said. "I'm sure I'm not the first person to be amazed by Bill Belichik."
She's also not one to be deterred by a renegade coach that doesn't realize good fun when he sees it, so she called the NFL front office, which instructed the Pats to let Stokes attend. The Pats complied but demanded that Fitch cut the week short so Stokes could return for a Wednesday 7:30 a.m. practice.
Some of Fitch's media contacts told her the Patriots didn't have practice that day, but she didn't want to push the issue. She rescheduled the week's events, set the Lowsman presentation for Tuesday night and arranged for a special airport security clearance and private jet, as well as police escorts to take him to the airport and practice.
When Stokes arrived at practice, the facility was locked and trash was blowing on the field, Fitch said.
"Belichik blew off Irrelevant Week," she said. "They just don't realize how irrelevant this is ... I mean, how important this is."
Fitch said there are no hard feelings, but "I hope the Patriots do well and never have the last pick because I'll probably go to the next-to-last guy."
That might be a disappointment to the NFL because the league embraces Irrelevant Week, as evidenced by Salata announcing the final pick at draft day, which the league began allowing in the early 1990s.
In a statement, spokesman Michael Signora explained the league's fondness for Salata's madcap merriment: "To be selected in the NFL Draft is a tremendous accomplishment, whether you are the first player chosen or the final person picked. Paul has found a unique way to celebrate that fact with the naming of 'Mr. Irrelevant' and the Irrelevant Week celebration.
"We have always heard great things from the players about their experience in Newport Beach and we look forward to following the career of this year's 'Mr. Irrelevant' as he gets to his new club."
Putting the sense in nonsense
Salata said he loves the idea of making the last pick feel as important as the first. Irrelevant Week's motto is, "Doing something nice for someone for no reason."