Carson, CA, June 22, 2015 – The Goodyear Blimp turned 90 this year and nearly 13-year-old “Spirit of America” is set to retire. As Goodyear celebrates its brand icon’s anniversary, it is joining the Foundation for the Undefeated in celebrating the career start of former Louisville Cardinals tight end Gerald Christian, who was named Mr. Irrelevant when the Arizona Cardinals selected him as the 256th and final pick of the NFL Draft in 2015.
On Thursday, July 9, Christian will be among the last passengers to take flight in the “Spirit of America” Goodyear blimp as the countdown to the airship’s retirement continues into mid-August. The blimp ride is one of several activities planned for the 40th Annual Irrelevant Week, an event that was established in 1976 by NFL alumnus Paul Salata to champion stories of perseverance in sports to inspire greatness in others.
“I founded Irrelevant Week in 1976, and this year marks the celebration’s 40th anniversary,” said Paul Salata, former NFL player and founder of the Foundation for the Undefeated. “Irrelevant Week is about celebrating someone who has persevered through challenges and continues to succeed; it’s a week full of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and a ride on the Goodyear blimp is certainly one of those memorable experiences!”
Following the exclusive blimp flight, Christian will participate in a variety of other Irrelevant Week events, including the Community Field Day and Unified Flag Football Game at Estancia High School in Costa Mesa on Saturday, July 11. He will also be the guest-of-honor at the Foundation’s Annual All-Star Banquet on Friday, July 10, an evening gala that gives past and present sports stars and celebrities an opportunity to roast and toast the newest member of the elite “Irrelevant Club.” The event is marked by the presentation of Irrelevant Week’s Lowsman Trophy, a light-hearted parody of the Heisman Trophy, and a silent and live auction fundraiser to benefit a charity selected by the foundation each year. For more information on Irrelevant Week and these events, please visit www.TheUndefeated.org.
In 2015, as the Special Olympics World Games will be held in Los Angeles, the Foundation for the Undefeated has selected the regional Special Olympics of Southern California chapter as the benefactor of the funds raised during Irrelevant Week. Goodyear has donated a 30-minute blimp ride certificate for two passengers to the Foundation’s auction, which will be held at Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach as part of the All-Star Banquet on July 10. Charity auctions present the only opportunities for the general public to receive an invitation to ride the Goodyear blimp.
About Irrelevant Week and the Foundation for the Undefeated
Launched in 1976 by NFL alumnus Paul Salata, Irrelevant Week is the annual celebration recognized by the National Football League that honors the last player to be picked in the NFL Draft. Today, Irrelevant Week is the cornerstone of the Foundation for the Undefeated, a national nonprofit organization based in Newport Beach, California that champions stories of perseverance in sports to inspire greatness in others.
Over the past 40 years, Irrelevant Week has become a much-anticipated and beloved celebration honoring football’s underdog, while also making charitable contributions to the community. Through Irrelevant Week, the Foundation for the Undefeated has donated more than $1 million to charities over the past three decades. Previous beneficiaries include the American Cancer Society, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Goodwill Industries, YMCA, Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity, NFL Alumni, and the American Red Cross, among others. For more information about Irrelevant Week, visit www.theundefeated.org.
About The Goodyear Airship Fleet
In 2015, Goodyear celebrates 90 years of its iconic brand ambassador, the Goodyear Blimp, and 60 years of aerial broadcasting. Since its first aerial broadcast over the 1955 Rose Bowl, the Goodyear Blimp has become synonymous with the largest, most-watched sporting events in the world. Today, the fleet consists of three North American airships — “Spirit of America” in Carson, Calif.; “Wingfoot One” in Akron, Ohio; and “Spirit of Innovation” in Pompano Beach, Florida. Complementing its milestone year, Goodyear continues construction on the second airship in its all-new fleet of NT Zeppelin models.
For more information about the Goodyear Blimp, visit www.goodyearblimp.com.
Goodyear Blimp Social Media
About The Goodyear Blimp “Spirit of America”
“Spirit of America” was christened on September 5, 2002. The airship’s name was chosen as a tribute to the patriotic spirit of the United States following September 11, 2001. Today, the blimp is one of only two GZ-20A classified airships that still exist in the world.
As an aerial ambassador for Goodyear, the “Spirit of America” Goodyear blimp has made noteworthy appearances above the annual Rose Parade, Academy Awards, ESPY Awards, Super Bowl Week activities, X-Games and hundreds of NCAA, NBA, MLB and NHL games. The airship has appeared on television shows such as American Ninja Warrior, Hell’s Kitchen and The Apprentice. It is also the Goodyear Blimp that was rebranded in 2011 to promote the world premiere of the adored Disney/Pixar film “Cars 2.”
“Spirit of America” will be decommissioned in August 2015. To learn more, read the press release.
About The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
Goodyear is one of the world’s largest tire companies. It employs about 67,000 people and manufactures its products in 50 facilities in 22 countries around the world. Its two Innovation Centers in Akron, Ohio and Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg strive to develop state-of-the-art products and services that set the technology and performance standard for the industry. For more information about Goodyear and its products, go to www.goodyear.com/corporate.