Irrelevant Week XXXV: A relevant helping hand

Homer Bludau, Newport Beach's former city manager, is executive director for this year's Irrelevant Week .

June 15, 2010|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza,
(Don Leach / Daily…)

Being from Texas, Homer Bludau knows a little bit about football. He probably wouldn't be hanging around a throwback player like Paul Salata if that weren't the case.

As the former city manager of Newport Beach, Bludau jokes that it was his job to make sure the garbage man picked up Salata's trash. He must have collected at Salata's house on a daily basis.

Salata, a former USC and San Francisco 49ers player, has no complaints about Bludau's 10 years on the job. As a reward, when Bludau retired in September, Salata gave Bludau a new job in town to stay busy.

The 64-year-old, who was making six figures before he retired, was now an unpaid volunteer for Salata's Irrelevant Week. The title, executive director, was at least a lofty one for Bludau.

The position had Bludau dealing with more than Salata's jokes. Salata planned for Bludau to negotiate with the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell.


Working with Salata was the fun part. Under Goodell's watch, the NFL can be the "No Fun League" at times.

The NFL is a business and anything with its iconic red, white and blue shield is usually a moneymaker. The logo adorns everything, from jerseys, to hats, to gloves, to unrelated NFL items like golf balls.

One event that Bludau knows isn't irrelevant to the NFL is Irrelevant Week.

Salata made it Bludau's responsibility to make sure the NFL shield protects the event Salata founded in Newport Beach that has celebrated the last player chosen in the NFL Draft for the past 34 years.

The party turns 35 on June 30. Salata said it's time for the NFL to have a formal partnership with Irrelevant Week.

"They've been partners, undercover partners," Salata joked of the NFL. "They provide us with things. The commissioner always sends a dull watch. The commissioner sends us a letter for that. They send T-shirts and stuff they use for official garb, and they send us a bunch of hats."

Irrelevant Week in Newport Beach can't survive on just donated clothes. Everyone who has met Salata understands he will gladly take the NFL gear.

What Salata receives, he gives a chunk back to the community. Since 1976, Salata said Irrelevant Week has raised more than $1 million for charities in Orange County.

But the man, whose daughter, Melanie Salata-Fitch, said wears a hat that resembles a spaghetti strainer, has reached a boiling point. The time and energy Salata has devoted in getting sponsors to donate to keep the event honoring the underdog alive is waning.

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