In the past 25 years, there has been just one former member of Purdue University’s football team who comes close to being more famous than Drew Brees. He might even make Brees pale in comparison when you take into account an international audience.
He’s not a Len Dawson, not a Bob Griese, not a Gary Danielson, nor a Kyle Orton. He’s a former walkon two-way lineman who played one season before transferring to Georgetown University, where he continued to play football at a lower level in the NCAA divisional setup.
He then went on to be known for other things.
This is a man who writes jokes about being pale and over-indulging on food of various qualities. He’s a man with cameo appearances in such films as speeding driver in Super Troopers, a hotel manager in Igby Goes Down, and as a hockey commentator in an objectively terrible movie I love anyway called The Love Guru.
The man: Jim Gaffigan.
Gaffigan was born in Elgin, Illinois before his family settled in Chesterton, Indiana. He lettered in football at La Lumiere School in nearby La Porte, the future high school of eventual Boilermakers basketball star Jaden Ivey.
July 4th means 60 days until Purdue football. For some reason I've had this image of Jim Gaffigan as a walk-on saved onto my iCloud for like seven years. pic.twitter.com/6ULRrbqgh8— Gurt Sherm (@GarrettShearman) July 3, 2023
While the former #60 went on to be known for jokes about Hot Pockets as opposed to blocking for or rushing toward a hot pocket passer, he did reflect on his time at Purdue while performing in West Lafayette in 2007:
“I have so many fond memories from Purdue. Most seem to involve walking. I walked onto the football team and walked away after I didn’t like getting my head bashed in. I remember walking to some classes that were, for some reason, at 7:00 a.m., walking to Hardee’s at 11:30 at night, finally buying a bike, and then walking after it fell apart after two days. Go Boilers!”
The universally beloved father of six will be releasing his tenth hour-long comedy special, entitled Dark Pale, on July 25th via Amazon Prime. I wish I got paid to plug it, but really I just have always loved my generation’s version of America’s Dorky Dad.
Editor’s note: The exact year Jimmy G. was at Purdue seems hard to verify but he stayed one year and graduated from Georgetown in 1988. So assuming he took 4 years to graduate it appears he was at Purdue in 1984-1985.