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I Can't Believe I'm Defending Michael Irvin

Illustration for article titled I Can't Believe I'm Defending Michael Irvin

Irvin says he'd trade his three Super Bowl rings and his Hall of Fame induction to have one undefeated season. Despite the pundits' ensuing ridicule and scorn, his hypothetical choice could be the right one.

Irvin's comments turned some heads and blew some minds, because this is what Michael Irvin does. He speaks before he thinks, and usually comes out with some gems. We get an uncensored, unedited look at his brain. So when Irvin says he'd rather go 19-0 than have Super Bowls XXVII, XXVIII and XXX on his resume, that's all Michael Irvin's id talking.

Which is funny, because Michael Irvin is all ego. The self-proclaimed "Playmaker" is out for his name, and his name only. He just wants to be seen by the world with the same reverence he has for himself. And there's no better way to do that then be part of an undefeated team.


Think about it; a team wins a Super Bowl every year. A good number of players, even wide receivers, have won three, including Troy Brown and Jerry Rice, neither of which Irvin would want to be considered equals with.

But perfection is immortality. Is Earl Morrall remembered as a serviceable journeyman QB, or the man who started the majority of the 1972 Dolphins' games. Is Mercury Morris a back who reached 1000 yards just once in his career, or is he best known for a champagne toast over another team's first loss? Is Garo Yepremian just another funny-sounding foreign kicker, or is he — well, the fact that we even remember a kicker from 39 years ago says it all.

Even secondhand association with perfection is memorable. David Tyree's name will be remembered as long as Irvin's, all because of 18-1.

And as for giving up his Hall of Fame bust, even that wouldn't be forfeiting his legacy. The names of HOF DTs Ernie Stautner, Arnie Weinmeister and Leo Nomellini haven't stood the test of time, but Manny Fernandez's has.


Look, I'm not saying that reaching the team pinnacle of the NFL three times, and then reaching the individual pinnacle of football wouldn't be the ultimate dream for most players. But this is Michael Irvin. Great isn't enough. One of the best isn't enough. He always wanted to be the absolute best, and if you need an absolutely quantifiable measure, 19-0.

So props to you, Mr. Irvin, on reaching for the stars. Now let's all be glad you never got there.

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