Because of his off-the-field issues, Michael Irvin had to wait a couple years before getting thumbs up from the Hall of Fame committee to be inducted into Canton.
People argue whether or not off-the-field issues should play a factor and I used to be of the opinion that it shouldn’t but have somewhat changed my stance on that.
If a person is great off it, it adds to that greatness and in my opinion, helps determine whether or not someone is truly a Hall of Famer.
When he did get inducted, Irvin gave one heck of a speech that left people in tears as they stood to their feet applauding the newest member in Canton, Ohio.
There have been some amazing people and athletes to strap on the uniform of America’s Team and if it weren’t for some of Irvin’s off-the-field issues, I might have him higher on the list and I have no problem with opinions that he should be higher than No. 8.
At the same time, however, the list of people to land in front of him on this list is made up of some pretty darn impressive Hall of Famers.
I’ll never forget the day Irvin went down with a career -ending injury in Philadelphia. He went down hard, head-first on that rock-hard turf and was lying there still, leaving Cowboys fans scared, not just for the sake of losing one of the triplets but for the health and safety of the man himself.
Eagles fans, on the other hand, cheered when they realized Irvin was down and cheered as he was put on the stretcher.
That injury eventually led to his retirement after spending his entire 11-year career with the Cowboys.
He was the last player to retire who was drafted by Tom Landry.
Irvin’s first couple of years were brutal for him and the Cowboys as they won only four combined games.
The receiver took the losing hard but before too long, his college coach from the University of Miami, Jimmy Johnson, was named head coach of the Cowboys and helped turn the franchise around.
Irvin was a key part of the franchise’s three Super Bowl victories in the 1990s.
Irvin’s numbers are quite impressive. Not only did he win three Super Bowls but he was named to the Pro Bowl five times, led the NFL in receiving yards in 1991 and was named to the NFL All-Decade Team of the 1990s.
Irvin caught 750 passes for 11,904 yards and 65 touchdowns.
He’s both a member of the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor and the Pro Football Hall of Fame and, in my book, No. 88 deservedly lands at No. 8 on the list of the greatest Dallas Cowboys ever.