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NY Post
New York Post
18 Nov 2023

NextImg:Josh Dobbs’ parents detail ‘innate’ humbleness that has him taking NFL by storm

Joshua Dobbs was 4 years old and in the backseat when his father was stopped for speeding. 

“My wife was working on a corporate assignment,” Robert Dobbs recalled over the phone. “We were living in Birmingham. I had Joshua through the week with me. And I was late to work one morning. And I needed to get him to pre-K to drop him off, and I was speeding on the parkway leaving the community. And next thing I looked up I see blue lights on. So I was frustrated, so I pulled over. And the officer came up and said, ‘Sir, why are you in such a hurry? Do you know you were speeding?’ 

“I said, ‘I wasn’t speeding at all, officer.’ ” 

That’s when young Joshua Dobbs set the record straight. 

“Dad,” he said, “you were doing 55. Don’t be mean to the police officer. You should be nice to the police officer.” 

Robert Dobbs: “I was so embarrassed, that I couldn’t do anything but smile and said, ‘Officer, I’m guilty as charged. My kid has already told me I’m guilty,’ and the officer smiled and said, ‘Sir, slow it down a little bit, you have a nice young man there in the backseat. I’m gonna give you a warning this time.’ 

“From that day on, it set the tone. If you would tell him something that he really didn’t think was right, he would ask you 55 questions, or he’d convince you that you are in the wrong, you need to do the right thing.’ ” 

Josh Dobbs is taking the NFL world by storm.
Getty Images

Joshua Dobbs was 8 years old in the backseat when his mother pulled up to a Krispy Kreme drive-thru for her son’s favorite donut. 

“The young lady was handing me the change back,” Stephanie Dobbs told Serby Says. “And I think the change was 35 cents. I would let him engage with whomever, so he actually gave her the money. She in turn handed him a quarter and two nickels. Well as she handed it to him, it slipped out of their hand and fell to the ground. As he was opening the back door and bending down to pick up the money, I said, ‘Don’t worry about that,’ because I’m thinking safety. I can’t see him from behind the seat and it’s taking too long. And I said, ‘What are you doing? Get back in the car!’ 

“When he leaned down, there was all kinds of money laying there on the ground. But he knew that his change was 35 cents. So he was looking for the quarter, then two nickels to get that 35 cents. No matter what else was down there on the ground, he was making sure that he only got what was his in that pickup. 

“It wasn’t something my husband and I attempted to teach him. From our perspective it just seems to be innate in his personality.” 

Joshua Dobbs is the 28-year-old journeyman quarterback playing for his seventh franchise and fifth in the last calendar year who has rescued the 6-4 Vikings these last two weeks following the Kirk Cousins Achilles thunderbolt with two Ripley’s Believe It Or Not heroics armed with a new playbook and new teammates and now a new lease on NFL life as folk hero. 

He is the humble, down-to-earth Passtronaut who graduated the University of Tennessee with a 4.0 GPA in aerospace engineering, who has interned at the Kennedy Space Center and been an ambassador for NASA’s Glenn Research Center. 

“Absolutely loved getting to the airports early,” Stephanie Dobbs said. “He just wanted to get there and watch the planes fly. Tuskegee Airmen Camp in the summers. Visits to Kennedy Space Center spring break. That’s what his passion was.” 

He was able as a young boy to identify 747s from 737s from 707s and the like from the air. 

“Josh was such a fascinated kid with planes and how they worked or how they operated,” Robert Dobbs said, “to the degree that he was so excited that every now and then the pilot recognized that or flight attendants and give him the little Delta wings or let him come up to the cockpit and take a look at that. That was pre-9/11.”

Josh Dobbs scores during the Vikings-Saints game on Nov. 12, 2023.

This was Joshua in 2017, shortly after the Steelers drafted him in the fourth round to be a sponge under Ben Roethlisberger: “In engineering, you have to spend a lot of time behind the scenes in the library studying, so there are a lot of correlations between a successful engineer and a successful quarterback. At the end of the day, you are a problem solver in both worlds, because you are thinking critically under pressure — and figuring solutions in a short of amount of time.” 

He had thrown 17 career passes before making his first NFL start for the Titans on Dec. 29, 2022, after signing with them off the Lions practice squad nine days earlier when Ryan Tannehill (ankle) was placed on IR. He is the second quarterback in NFL history to start for three different franchises in a calendar year.

“He’s never been a ‘Why me?’ person,” Stephanie said. “It’s a ‘My opportunity will come’ person.” 

His opportunity of a lifetime finally came when the desperate Vikings surrendered a fifth-round pick to the Cardinals for him on Oct. 31. 

“There were some times in there that he was very frustrated about it,” Robert Dobbs said. “But again, he would go back to the logic: ‘OK, there’s 32 teams, there’s about 100 quarterbacks a year fighting for those opportunities, and I’ll just have to continue to work until I get my opportunity.’ That was always his attitude and approach. There’s a lot of negativity out there in this world right now, but what Josh will tell me, ‘OK, find me 100 folks that can do this job better than I. I’m in that 100 number, I just don’t know where I’m gonna fall right now in the pecking order, but eventually I’ll get in that top 32 if I keep working hard.’ ” 

And Joshua Dobbs never stopped chasing his dream. 

“In the offseason when no one’s looking, and the excitement is gone, there’s no games going on, he’s up at 5 a.m. in the morning going to work out,” Robert said. “Come back, relax a little bit, do some things that he needed to take care of, then in the afternoon, he’s back out there working out a second time a day. And he’s been doing that forever and a day.” 

Stephanie was a regional manager in corporate human resources of United Parcel Service. Robert was a senior VP at Wells Fargo in Alpharetta, Ga. From the time Joshua began playing 65-pound football, basketball and baseball at age 5, she has never missed a game in any of the sports. He has missed three. The mandate in the household from the start was no grades, no ball. Robert mentions a book he asked Joshua to read by author Jon Gordon. 

“The best of the best want to leave a legacy,” Robert said. “But in order to do that, you have to do the ordinary things better than everyone else. The best of the best draws people into them through not a me type of personality but a we approach to life.” 

Stephanie was busy with the movers at Joshua’s Scottsdale home this week before flying on Friday night to Denver for his third start as a Viking. You can only imagine what she felt when her son threw a 6-yard TD pass to Brandon Powell to cap a dramatic 11-play drive with 22 seconds remaining to beat the hometown Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta in his first start. He had been a Viking for five days when he was summoned off the bench (20-for-30, 158 yards and 2 TDs passing, 7-66-1 TD rushing) after rookie QB Jalen Hall suffered a first-quarter concussion. 

“It was surreal because knowing all the times he had been at one of those two [Atlanta] stadiums and never had an opportunity to play himself on the field,” Stephanie said. 

Then came last Sunday’s 27-19 victory over the Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium — 23-for-34, 268 yards and 1 TD passing and 8-44-1 TD rushing. 

“Just ecstatic to be able to be there obviously to witness it, his first game and a win in that stadium with the new team,” Stephanie said. 

When Robert Dobbs thinks about his son’s shining moments, he travels back in time to the 2016 season when Joshua threw four TD passes and ran for a fifth TD in the second half of a Tennessee comeback win that ended its 11-game losing streak to Florida. 

“It kinda goes back to what Josh would talk to me about as his dad,” Robert said. “It doesn’t matter how you start, it’s how you end. He never blinked an eye. he determined before he left Tennessee that they were gonna beat Florida, and they did.” 

Joshua Dobbs is as easy to root for as anyone playing any sport. 

“He comes across as a sincere person, and he’s had a story that everyone can relate to,” Stephanie said, “of someone that is working hard toward a goal, that’s demonstrated success in some areas and shortcomings, and despite whatever lies in the path to achieve those goals, to see a person that continues to work and had confidence in themself. It’s a story that we can appreciate, and see it in our self, no matter what aspect of life we experience. … You understand the battles, the victories, and the joys and sadness that fluctuate in that experience, and they can appreciate his journey.” 

Josh Dobbs throws during the Vikings-Saints game on Nov. 12, 2023.
USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

His is a story of perseverance and dedication. 

“And one other — humility as well,” Stephanie said. 

Joshua Dobbs refused to give up. 

“There’s people that see the glass half-full versus half-empty,” Robert Dobbs said. “I don’t care what it is, what scenario you’re dealing with, he’s gonna find a positive in it and find a way to make it a positive outcome. And even if I would sometimes get frustrated, he would tell me, ‘Dad, chill out, I’m fine. I’ll be fine. Just let things work out.’ ” 

The Passtronaut: Out of this world.