88 Days Away From NFL Kickoff: Michael Irvin

Michael Irvin

We are officially 88 days away from NFL kickoff. Dallas visits the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Thursday, September 9th. Since we are 88 days away, let’s take a look back at Michael Irvin – arguably the best player to wear #88 for the Dallas Cowboys.

Michael Irvin: 88 Days to Kickoff

Before the NFL

Michael Irvin played his college football at the University of Miami for three seasons. While at Miami, he held records for receptions (143), receiving yards (2,423), and touchdown catches (26). Irvin led the Hurricanes to a national championship in 1987. Irvin opted out of his senior season and elected to enter the draft. Dallas drafted Irvin 11th overall and employed the wide receiver for all 12 years of his career. Off the field, Irvin is the 15th out of 17 siblings. After his career in the NFL, he served as a broadcaster for ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown and currently works as an NFL analyst for NFL Network. Irvin earned a spot in the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame in 2000, the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor in 2005, and the NFL Hall of Fame in 2007.

Irvin in Dallas

While in Dallas, Irvin helped lead the Cowboys to Superbowl wins in 1992, 1993, and 1996. Irvin racked up 11,904 receiving yards, 65 touchdowns, 750 receptions, and started 147 out of 149 games for Dallas. With his career shortened by a significant neck injury, Irvin currently ranks 28th all-time in receiving yards, 40th in receptions, 58th in touchdowns. His 47 100-yard receiving games rank 8th all time. The Hall of Fame pass-catcher contributed as one of the Cowboys’ “Triplets,” alongside Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith.


Michael Irvin’s NFL career ended prematurely. During a contest against the Philadelphia Eagles, Irvin was tacked by Tim Hauck and fell head-first onto the field. He was carted off the field with a spinal cord injury and later diagnosed with spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the nerve root canals limiting innervation to his upper extremities. The injury was non-life-threatening but could have been much worse. Landing on his head/neck area could have potentially disrupted the nervous connection from his neck to the rest of his body.

Irvin earned the moniker “Playmaker,” routinely making big plays and swinging momentum in his team’s favor. Irvin’s greatest performance was in Super Bowl XXVII when he caught two touchdowns in 18 seconds. No other player has caught touchdowns in a shorter span of time. He added five more catches to that stat line racking up seven catches for 114 yards and two scores. Irvin also made big plays in college. In 1987 he scored on a 73-yard pass from Steve Walsh that would help propel the Hurricanes over rival Florida State University. Miami went on to defeat the University of Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl that same season.

Off the Field

Michael Irvin has had a good career off the football field as well. Outside of his analyst and commentary jobs, he has carved out a role in other entertainment avenues. Irvin co-starred in The Longest Yard in 2005 alongside Adam Sandler and Chris Rock. He also guest-starred in Jack and Jill with Adam Sandler again in 2011. Irvin represented the “Pros,” in Pros vs. Joes and hosted 4th and Long. The legendary wide receiver competed in season 9 of Dancing with the stars. He was the ninth celebrity to be eliminated.

Everyone Will be Compared to Michael Irvin

Irvin is one of the best pass-catchers to play football, let alone in the NFL. He played part in changing the NFL from the pro-style ground and pound game into the high-octane and pass-heavy league it is today. Irvin was a pivotal contributor to the Cowboys’ success in the early ’90s. Every wide receiver, including stars today such as CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, and Amari Cooper, will always be compared to Michael Irvin as the standard for greatness in a Dallas jersey.

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