In 2019, a Harris Poll study found that out of 3,000 kids aged 8-12 in the United States, nineteen percent wanted to be professional athletes, while 11 percent wanted to be astronauts. If you were to ask Arizona Cardinals quarterback Joshua Dobbs what he would choose at that age, he would probably choose both. As an NFL player, Dobbs is working in the off-season to tackle the final frontier as an Aerospace engineer.
From a young age, Dobbs excelled in the classroom and on the gridiron. When he was seven, he fell in love with science and space when he and his family visited the Kennedy Space Center for the first time. Years later, he would make a name for himself through the air, throwing for over 3,000 yards and 29 touchdowns as the quarterback at Alpharetta High School in Georgia. After high school, the three-star recruit committed to the University of Tennessee, where he would play for the next four seasons.
While in Knoxville, Dobbs and his team would improve each season. He started in just five games as a freshman but would earn the starting role as a junior and lead the team to two straight 9-4 records, the team’s best consecutive record in a decade. His career culminated in a ten-point victory over the No. 24 ranked Nebraska in the Music City Bowl, where Dobbs earned the honor of MVP after a four-touchdown performance with over 100 rushing yards to boot. He threw for over 7,000 yards in his career, adding another 2,000 yards on the ground. When Dobbs wasn’t on the field, he pursued his Aerospace Engineering degree. As a sophomore, he was named one of the 14 smartest players in college football, and a year later, he landed an internship with Pratt & Whitney, an American aerospace manufacturer. In 2016, Dobbs graduated with a 4.0 GPA and would declare for the 2017 NFL draft.
In the draft, Dobbs was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 135th pick. His time in Pittsburgh was short-lived, and after two seasons, he was sent to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Over the next five seasons, Dobbs suited up for seven teams. Dobbs kept grinding and in 2023, was named the starter for the Arizona Cardinals. Dobbs’s signing by Arizona was so sudden that the team store didn’t have his jersey. However, three weeks later, there is no mistaking who Josh Dobbs is. In his four starts this season, he has thrown for over 800 yards and four touchdowns. He also led the team to its first win of the season in an upset victory over the undefeated Cowboys in week three. Check out some highlights from the game below.
The Next Chapter
Throughout his NFL tenure, Dobbs has made it a point to plan for his life after football. In the off-season, Dobbs interned at the Kennedy Space Center as part of the NFLPA Externship program. During the internship, Dobbs put his college degree to good use, working in numerous departments within the space center.
While reflecting on his internship, Dobbs explains that he has always had a plan for a career beyond the NFL.
“I think you have to have a plan at the end of the day to see the bigger picture and take advantage of the opportunities you’re given,” he told the NFL Players Association. “Maximizing my time all the time. On the field and in the weight room. Then off the field, maximizing my time to enjoy those other interests while also setting myself up with opportunities to build myself as more than an athlete.”
Although many of us won’t become rocket scientists like Dobbs, we can make an effort to take advantage of every day and every opportunity that we have to become better versions of ourselves. Whether it be getting extra reps on the field, diving into a new hobby, or starting a business, you never know what can happen when you make the most of every day.