Paul Salata, creator of Mr. Irrelevant Award, dies at 94

Paul Salata, who created the Mr. Irrelevant Award that honors the final choice of the NFL draft after taking part in soccer at USC and within the NFL and Canadian Football League, died Saturday. He was 94.

He died of pure causes at dwelling in Newport Beach, California, a day earlier than his ninety fifth birthday, nephew Nick Salata instructed The Associated Press.

Although the NFL draft dates to 1936, Salata created the Mr. Irrelevant Award in 1976. The participant and his household have been invited to spend every week in Orange County having fun with actions, together with a visit to Disneyland and a golf match. The honoree obtained the Lowsman Trophy depicting a participant fumbling a soccer. Kelvin Kirk of Dayton University was the primary to be given the title because the 487th decide that 12 months.

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“Irrelevant Week” generated a lot publicity that in 1979 the Los Angeles Rams, who owned the subsequent-to-final decide, deliberately handed to let the Steelers, with the final decide, select first. Pittsburgh additionally needed the publicity and handed as properly. Both groups refused to decide on a participant till commissioner Pete Rozelle pressured them to choose, with the Steelers successful. That led to the so-known as Salata Rule, which bars groups from passing to get the ultimate choice.

In February, a Mr. Irrelevant performed in and gained a Super Bowl for the primary time. Placekicker Ryan Succop of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers began within the sport. He was the final decide of the 2009 draft.

Salata was a large receiver at USC in 1944, ’46 and ’47. The Trojans gained league titles every year and performed within the Rose Bowl in 1945, when Salata caught a landing of their 25-0 victory over Tennessee. He missed the next season whereas serving within the Army Air Corps throughout World War II.

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Salata additionally was an infielder on the Trojans’ baseball group in 1948 that gained the varsity’s first College World Series title. He later performed minor league baseball.

He performed within the NFL for the San Francisco 49ers (1949-50), Baltimore Colts (1950) and Pittsburgh Steelers (1950-51), catching 50 passes with 4 touchdowns in his profession. He additionally performed within the CFL with the Calgary Stampeders in 1952, incomes All-(*94*) honors that season, and with the Ottawa Rough Riders in 1953.

After retiring, Salata labored in building, notably as a sewer contractor.

Salata appeared in 18 films primarily within the Nineteen Fifties, together with “Angels within the Outfield” with Janet Leigh. His uncredited appearances included “Singin’ within the Rain,” “The Ten Commandments,” “Stalag 17” and “The Joker Is Wild.”

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“Every time ‘Stalag 17’ got here on TV, we would watch it for the 800th time,” Nick Salata mentioned. “I can image him coming dwelling to Aunt Beverly and saying, ‘Honey, I’m going to depart soccer and appearing and change into a sewer contractor.’ He was a beautiful man.”

Salata is survived by his second spouse, Carolyn, son Bradley, daughter Melanie Fitch, two granddaughters and brother George. He was preceded in loss of life by his first spouse Beverly in 2003.