Obscure Athletes

Where the 15 Minutes of Fame Never End

Obscure Spotlight: Elvis Grbac

Within the pantheon of badass names in the realm of professional sport, close to the top simply HAS to be obscure former NFL quarterback Elvis

Grbac at Michigan, no doubt trying to find Desmond Howard somewhere on the field.

 Grbac. Grbac had a roller coaster ride of an NFL career, highlighted by a 2000 season in which he threw for over 4,000 yards and landed in Honolulu for the Pro Bowl.

Cleveland product Grbac attended Michigan, where he set several passing records by giving Desmond Howard the football and seeing what happens. He was picked in the now-defunct 8th round of the draft in 1993, and the 49ers somehow benched the future NFL great in favor of the considerably less obscure, but not-so-well-named Steve Young.

Grbac would finally get to start in the NFL in 1997 when the Chiefs brought him in and named him their starting quarterback before camp even started. In that season he started 10 games for KC and threw 11 touchdowns and 6 picks, despite completing only 57% of his passes.

"ELVIS GRBAC IS MY GODDAMN QUARTERBACK!," quips obscure coach Gunther Cunningham upon being questioned about his depth chart.

Grbac experienced 15 minutes of mainstream fame in 1998 when he was named People Magazine’s Sexiest Athlete Alive, a story that would become infamous when Deadspin reported that the decision was a mistake and that Grbac’s teammate at the time, quarterback Rich Gannon, was intended to be bestowed the title, but due to a failure to communicate adequately, Elvis Grbac was named People Magazine’s Sexiest Athlete Alive, in certainly the most obscure manner in the history of the incredibly prestigous award.

In Elvis Grbac’s best season– the 2000 campaign, he threw for 4169 yards and made the Pro Bowl, and led his Chiefs to a stunningly unimpressive 7-9 record.

The following season, Elvis once again left the Midwest to pursue greener (and purpler) pastures for the Baltimore Ravens. That season, 2001, saw Grbac supplant team leader and fellow obscure athlete Trent Dilfer for the starting job in Baltimore. Grbac was 8-6 as a starter that year, throwing just 15 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. Elvis was essentially booed off the field by boisterous Trent Dilfer supporters and retired after that season, but not before leading the Ravens to a playoff victory over the  Dolphins.

Men named Elvis seldom fade into obscurity. 8th round picks from Cleveland, Ohio, who go 40-30 in the NFL, get berated in Baltimore by raucus Trent Dilfer fans, and end their careers with slightly above average passer ratings, often find themselves in such a position. Mr. Grbac is no exception here.


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