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Here is why Josh Dobbs might be the coolest guy in the NFL


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Vince Carbonneau
November 27, 2023  (10:05)
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Minnesota Vikings fans have been thrilled to witness the rapid ascent of 28-year-old quarterback Joshua Dobbs in recent weeks. This unexpected rise has not only generated excitement among football enthusiasts but has also sparked a surge in interest from the scientific community, even though "The Joshua Dobbs Effect" may not be a scientifically proven phenomenon.

For NASA, Dobbs' remarkable journey has created a buzz of a different kind. Ever since he assumed the role of quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings and led them to a 2-1 record, interest in science has been on the rise. When NASA's Glenn Research Center in Ohio shared a post about Dobbs in early November, it received over 3 million views and saw a 216% increase in followers, far surpassing the center's 2022 average engagement per post.
Since Dobbs' standout performance on November 5th, which propelled the Vikings to a 31-28 victory against the Atlanta Falcons, Google Trends has shown a significant increase in searches related to him, such as "Is Josh Dobbs an astronaut" and "Josh Dobbs NASA."
This newfound interest in science hasn't gone unnoticed among those in the space industry. Scott Colloredo, the director of engineering at NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center, expressed, "Nerds are cool. Josh has made engineering cool. We want to ride this wave as long as we can."
While Joshua Dobbs isn't an astronaut yet, he has publicly stated his aspiration to venture into space. He would follow in the footsteps of Leland Melvin, the first professional football player turned NASA scientist to achieve this dream. Melvin, who was drafted by the Detroit Lions in 1986 but faced injuries and career setbacks, ultimately pursued a career as a NASA scientist and became an astronaut, logging over 565 hours in space.
Melvin sees parallels between the worlds of football and space exploration. He emphasizes the importance of mental preparation, data analysis, and the ability to perform under pressure in both fields. Melvin also highlights the rigorous physical training required for both athletes and astronauts.
Dobbs' success with the Minnesota Vikings has been a standout story in the NFL season, attributed to his academic background and adaptability, as he has played for multiple teams and learned various playbooks. With a degree in aerospace engineering and a minor in business administration, Dobbs graduated with honors from the University of Tennessee in 2017. He has drawn parallels between the mental preparation needed for both football and aerospace engineering.
Colloredo, a fellow Tennessee engineering graduate who recruited Dobbs to NASA, appreciates the similarities in the training and preparation required for elite-level football and space exploration. Dobbs has had a diverse NFL career, playing for multiple teams and even externing with NASA during his journey.
Dobbs' presence in the scientific community has already sparked interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education, particularly among young students and educators. The Science Museum of Minnesota, in partnership with the Vikings, has organized educational programs centered around "The Passtronaut," as Dobbs is affectionately known. These initiatives aim to inspire young individuals and break stereotypes about who can excel in STEM fields.
In summary, Joshua Dobbs' unexpected rise in the NFL has not only captivated football fans but has also ignited a newfound interest in science. His journey from the football field to the realm of aerospace engineering has drawn attention from NASA and the scientific community, demonstrating the exciting intersections between sports and space exploration.
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