After getting it wrong twice, the Hall of Fame voters finally got it right. After being denied two times Michael Irvin was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.
The former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver won three Super Bowls and has 11,904 career receiving yards and 65 receiving touchdowns. Irvin ranks 20th all-time in receptions and 14th all-time in receiving yards and probably would’ve ranked higher if he had not retired at an earlier age than most receivers. Irvin was also voted to five Pro Bowls and was named to the NFL’s all-decade team of the 1990’s. As a member of the Dallas Cowboys, Michael Irvin took seven trips to the postseason where he racked up 87 receptions for 1314 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Despite all the accolades Michael Irvin was denied a trip to the Hall of Fame on his first two years of eligibility. Some will cite their reason as Michael Irvin’s off the field problems while others will say Irvin wasn’t as good as his numbers suggests, he just had the luxury of playing with Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith.
Irvin pleaded no contest in 1996 to felon cocaine possessions and four years later he was arrested on drug possession charges.
Also voted in were running back Thurman Thomas, offensive lineman Bruce Matthews, defensive back Roger Wehrli, tight end Charlie Sanders and guard Gene Hickerson.
Thurman Thomas was the NFL’s most valuable player in 1991 when he gained more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage. In 13 seasons in the NFL Thurman Thomas had 12,074 rushing yards and another 4,458 yards passing and scored 88 total touchdowns. Thurman Thomas and fellow Hall of Famer Jim Kelly went to four straight Super Bowls in the 1990’s. Thomas also had an excellent college career at Oklahoma State University. At Oklahoma State Thomas had 897 rushes for 4,595 yards, 43 touchdowns, and rushed for 100 yards on 21 occasions. Thomas was a Heisman Trophy candidate in 1987 and a first team All-American in 1985 and 1987.
Another member of the four Bills Super Bowl teams, Andre Reed, was denied an entry into the Hall of Fame. Andre Reed was Jim Kelly’s number one target and is in the top ten all-time in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. Reed ranks higher than Michael Irvin in all three categories.
Washington Redskins receiver Art Monk also ranked higher than Michael Irvin in receptions, yards and touchdowns but he was also denied entry into the Hall of Fame. Among the other denied finalists were Paul Tagliabue, Russ Grimm, Ray Guy, Bob Kuechenberg, Gary Zimmerman, Fred Dean, Richard Dent, Derrick Thomas and Andre Tippett.