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