Saturday, February 03, 2007

Hall of Fame Material

Michael Irvin left but one question unanswered when a cervical spine injury ended his playing career in 1999: Would his tremendous numbers be enough to overshadow his off the field problems and allow him deserved entry into the Hall of Fame?

Well today, after being deprived of the honor in 2005 and 2006, Irvin was rightly voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Under the tutelage of Jimmy Johnson, Irvin became of one of college football's most dominating WRs. His rare combination of size, speed and strength allowed him to set Miami school records in career receptions, receiving yards and TD receptions. After a dominating college career, Irvin was drafted 11th overall by the Dallas Cowboys, and within a year, would again be coached by Jimmy Johnson. After two injury plagued seasons in 1989 & 1990, Irvin announced his arrival to the NFL with 93 receptions (a Cowboys record) and a league leading 1,523 receiving yards. Irvin's performances, along with those of QB Troy Aikman, RB Emmit Smith and an extremely talented Dallas Cowboys team, led to three Super Bowl victories in four years (A record recently equalled by the New England Patriots). Irvin would retire in 1999 after setting numerous Cowboys & NFL records:
  • 750 Receptions (Leads Cowboys, 10th All time)
  • 11,904 Receiving yards (Leads Cowboys, 9th All time)
  • 65 Receiving TDs (Leads Cowboys)
  • 47 Career 100 Yds Receiving games (Leads Cowboys, 3rd All time)
  • Leads Cowboys and 2nd all time in postseason receptions (87), receiving yards (1315) and 100 Yds Receiving games.
  • Picked for the NFL's all-decade team of the 1990s and 5 Pro-Bowls
Irvin's off the field problems tarnished his image around the league. In 1996, Irvin pleaded no-contest to cocaine charges and was suspended for the first 5 games of the following NFL season. He was also falsely accused of sexually assaulting a woman, which bought along more negative media coverage to Irvin and the organization. Despite all these altercations, Irvin still remained the unquestionable leader of one of history's most dominant teams, displaying the passion and emotion that carried the franchise throughout the 1990s.

Michael Irvin will now take his place amongst history's greatest, a place where he belongs. Congrats to the Playmaker.

No comments: