Tag Archives: nfl hof 2007

Irvin, Michael

Cards: Score 1989, SkyBox 1992
Acquired: In Person Dallas Cowboys Training Camp 1990, Berger Stadium 1997.

Let’s face it, Michael Irvin’s public relations man for the Cowboys should have gotten into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot and certainly Michael Irvin shouldn’t have gotten in sniffing distance within his first 10 tries. Michael Irvin was another player from the productive University of Miami under Jimmy Johnson. Irvin was drafted by Tom Landry‘s Dallas Cowboys in the first round of the 1988 draft.  His impact was not amazing and his first three seasons were injury plagued starting only 27 games. (In 1991, it was even rumored Irvin was on the bubble to even make the team.) He’d respond in 1991 by leading the league in receiving yards with over 1500 yards receiving en route to 5 straight 1200+ yard seasons only interrupted by a drug suspension in 1996 where he had only 962 yards. In 1997 he’d rebound for 2 more 1000 yard seasons before retiring in 1999 after a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Veteran’s Stadium where Michael suffered a devastating concussion. As Irvin laid motionless on the turf and when he was brought off the field- the fans actually cheered. During his time as a member of the ‘Dallas Triplets’ (Irvin,Aikman,Smith) the team won 3 Superbowls and Irvin was named to 5 straight ProBowls being named 1st team All-Pro in 1991.

After a comical incident with the Austin Police department where he was busted speeding and evaded arrest by parking his car in a lot- that turned out to be the Austin Police Department’s car lot back in the early 90s- Irvin’s legacy was tarnished by his controversial off the field record. You see, Michael Irvin had some…. ‘issues’ as a cocaine user.While never being officially busted under the league’s drug rules, Michael was busted in 1996 throwing a stripper filled, cocaine fueled 30th birthday party bash by the cops. In 1998 Irvin attacked teammate Everett McIver with a pair of scissors slashing the player’s neck. Michael also was caught in a drug sting by Dallas Police exchanging a lamp for a bag- ‘of something’. Michael then was busted in 2000 on drug paraphernalia charges and in 2005 was also pulled over for speeding, cited for more paraphernalia, and then arrested for outstanding warrants. He was fired from ESPN in 2007. In 2010 he was facing a civil lawsuit from a sexual assault allegation but still managed to be hired by the NFL Network as a commentator. (I’ve never been impressed by his commentary either and recently they allowed him to bring his ‘insight’ to the table for the 2011 NFL draft.)

Despite all these things, Michael was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on his third try in 2007 with other more deserving wide receivers and players left waiting at least another year. In receiving yardage, Irvin is currently ranked 17th. In receptions, Irvin is tied for 27th and in touchdowns, he fares even worse ranking 47th in this category. Such names as Irving Fryar, Cris Carter, Henry Ellard and Andre Reed dominate him across the board. Apparently his SuperBowl victories and mouth meant more to the voting committee than either the other quieter players of the eras numbers or Irvin’s immense rap sheet.

Michael had an infamous run-in with me. After the Oilers left- in a time of temptation before I quit the sport for a few years, I went to an autograph appearance by the Cowboys at Berger Stadium in Austin. Irvin and Walker were set up at the same table that I was at, and when I got to the front- I humbly expressed my happiness that, “The last two Landry era Cowboys were there.” Michael brushed me off stating, “Sure, we hear that all the time and then laughed at me.” Herschel looked awkwardly my way after he and Irvin signed my cards. I then told Irvin, “He could use my other card to cut his drugs with,” and promptly left to his angry cat-calls. I still think he’s a jerk.

G/Gs 159/147      Rec  750     Yds 11904   Avg 15.9     Td 65   Lg 87T

Matthews, Bruce

Cards: Action Packed 1990, Topps 1988, SkyBox 1993
Acquired: In Person 1991, 1994. TTM, 2009. Houston Oilers Training Camp, Texans Blitz

One of the greatest linemen to play the game, Bruce Matthews is one of the most decorated linemen in NFL history. At 6’6″, 289 he is the perfect blend of speed and power to play the guard position. In fact over his career Matthews would play every position along the line, being named to the Pro Bowl at both center (5 times) and guard  (9 times), playing in more games than any other player (outside of kicker and punter) with 296 games in three different decades.  Named All Pro 9 times and selected to the NFL All Decade team of the 1990s, Matthews was originally a 1st round choice out of USC by the Houston Oilers. He, along with Mike Munchak would form the best guard combo perhaps in league history allowing the team to soar to new offensive heights, blocking primarily for the Oilers during the Warren Moon and Steve McNair eras.  Matthews resented the move of the team from Houston to Tennessee due to the roots he had planted in the city, but played there through 2001 before retiring.  He was named to the Hall of Fame in 2007 during his first year of eligiblity.

Bruce has remained fairly close to the sport since retiring. Ironically he had not suffered any notable injuries through out his long career- but has had knee problems since colliding with children while standing on the sidelines of one of his children’s pee wee games. He worked for the Houston Texans through the 2010 season but was hired to coach the offensive line for Mike Munchak in Tennessee beginning in 2011.

Action Packed made some nice cards, and with their second run in 1990, had great photos and a simple gold frame and an embossed card. It stands in contrast to the Topps submission, with an inglorious sideline shot of Matthews. This SkyBox 1993 Impact was a nice idea, but the Impact logo is just too big on the card. It also takes away from Bruce’s moving figure and his name in that pastel Oiler Hawaiian blue. The moving figure effect was probably created by a motion blur in the background, and is primitive yet effective.

The first time I met Bruce Matthews was back in 1988 or 1989. Josh and I didn’t have cards at the time and were outside waiting for the players. As Josh walked up to the door an player ran him over. Josh stumbled to his feet and it was none other than Bruce Matthews who clobbered him by accident. He apologized and gave us a hearty laugh and went back inside. Good times.