The “Playmaker” Likes To Play

TRIGGER WARNING: THIS ARTICLE MENTIONS SEXUAL ASSAULT!

In the early to mid 90’s the Dallas Cowboys were hands down the best team in the NFL. YEAH, I SAID IT! I mean come on, you had Troy Aikman, Deion Sanders, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin all on the same field playing for the same team. Back to back Super Bowl wins in 1993 and 1994! They celebrated 3 Super Bowl wins within 4 years. just wish I was old enough to remember it all. Don’t worry though my Dad keeps me filled in. Apparently, we had a big party at the house the last time they won the Superbowl and it was fun for all. Maybe I will get the chance to see them win another Superbowl…before I die. Nobody knew how to celebrate those SB wins better than the teams beloved wide receiver, Michael Irvin.

Michael Jerome Irvin was born on March 5, 1966, In Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He is 1 of 17 children (baby number 15). That was not a type, his parents had 17 damn kids.  He quickly became a high school football star at Thomas Aquinas High. At the University of Miami under head coach Jimmy Johnson Irvin set numerous school records. In 1987, while part of the national championship team Michael Irvin made one of the most legendary plays in Miami’s history.  He scored on a 73-yard 4th quarter touchdown pass from quarterback Steve Walsh that lead to Miami’s triumph over arch rival Florida State, and pushed them into the national championship game, the 1988 Orange Bowl, against the top-ranked Oklahoma Sooners.  Irvin passed on his final year of eligibility at “The U” and entered the 1988 NFL draft.

Irvin was selected by the Dallas Cowboys with the 11th selection in the first round of the 1988 NFL Draft. Irvin became the 1st ever rookie receiver in Cowboys history to start in a season opener game. He caught his first career touchdown pass in said game. He finished the season leading the NFC with a 20.4 yards per catch average. Between 1991 and 1998, Irvin recorded 1,000-yard seasons in all but one of those years, racking up an impressive 10,265 yards over an 8-year span. In 1995, he set franchise records for receptions (111) and receiving yards (1,603), while also scoring 10 touchdowns and setting an NFL record with 11 games with over 100 yards receiving. Dez Bryant who!?! Should have retired number 88 after Irvin left. He IS number 88.  

Irvin is the only player to play for each of the first four Cowboys coaches since the team has been owned by Jerry Jones. Tom Landry (and his phenomenal hat), Jimmy Johnson (and his phenomenal hair), Barry Switzer (and his phenomenal college as well as pro coaching), and Chan Gailey (and his phenomenal……. baseball caps?).  Michael Irvin officially announced his retirement in 1999 after Dave Campo became the fifth Cowboys coach, but Irvin never played on the field for Campo. Speaking of coaches, I am very excited to see what Mike McCarthy does with the team. I have seen Bill Parcells, Wade Phillips, and the disaster that was Jason Garett and his relentless clapping. Hopefully Mike will make something of the team again…but we will just have to wait and see. 

Irvin’s retirement was a forced one ending his career early, we might have gotten a couple more years out of Irvin. During the 5th game of the 1999 season, Irvin was tackled by Philadelphia Eagles (BOOOOOO!) defensive back Tim Hauck and went head-first into the turf.  Irvin was put on a stretcher and carted off the field. The play would unfortunately be his last. He sustained a non-life-threatening cervical spinal cord injury and was subsequently diagnosed with a narrow spinal column (cervical spinal stenosis, I’m not that smart, I use to work for a Neurologist), Many of the Eagles fans in the crowd reportedly cheered, once it became apparent Irvin was injured, and again when a stretcher was delivered onto the field. I’m not sure if that is true but they did throw snowballs at Santa Claus so…… 

Earlier I mentioned that nobody knew how to celebrate quite like Michael Irvin and celebrate he did. Irvin and fellow wife receiver Alvin Harper leased a two-story home not far from the Dallas Cowboys practice facility. They called their place of residence the “White House” and it didn’t get its nickname from the color of the siding. The inside, looked like a typical frat house with nice amenities, including multiple large-screen televisions, a pool table, and a wet bar. There was one unique feature only Irvin knew about, hidden cameras installed in each bedroom…QUIT BEING NASTY! All the players who visit the home pitched in for the basic necessities like beer, wine, liquor, entertainment, and condoms. But according to them a wild party was not complete without women and they certainly were not in short supply. Ya’ nasties, being dippity doo dogs and sticking your winkies in anything and everything, gross. Michael Irvin and Anthony “Paco” Montoya, his former personal assistant, would go scouting for young ladies on Fridays after practice. The 2 men would visit multiple topless bars and would select 10 women, who would then receive an exclusive invite to visit the White House for the weekend. That’s how it started. Once word got out, the women no longer needed to be recruited. They recruited themselves.  

The women would arrive at the “white house” on Friday afternoons with booze and drugs readily available. By now you can probably guess that the home was named after one of Michael Irvin’s favorite recreational activities, cocaine. That is right folks, Irvin loved his nose candy…. booger sugar…. white powder…. dust. I don’t know any more slang terms for the stuff and I am in NO WAY condoning drug use. Drugs are bad and ruin your life. Although, cocaine must be one hell of a drug, I mean Eric Clapton wrote a whole song dedicated to it. DO NOT DO DRUGS! I can’t stress that enough. Surprisingly, the wild and crazy parties lasted for several years. The police were never called. The media knew about it but never reported on it because they knew if they did, they would be crucified by the fans and blackballed by the team for any future interviews. During an interview with Joe Buck Irvin would state that the house was mainly used for parties because he didn’t want to go to hotel rooms and get caught up in a lot of problems. That would end up being a very valid reason for having an extra home.  

A few months after winning Super Bowl XXX (I’m not good with roman numerals, is that 30?) against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Irvin’s partying ways would catch up with him. While celebrating the win at a hotel with teammate Alfredo Roberts the 2 men were arrested along with their female companions. At the time of the arrest the group had cocaine, marijuana, and various drug paraphernalia in their possession. You can see why he didn’t want to go to hotels in the first place. A few weeks after this incident Cowboys defensive tackle Leon Lett called Irvin and told him he thought someone had broken into the White House. Irvin didn’t believe Lett and initially blew off the claims. Then, a few weeks later, the White House was featured in an investigative story on the local news. When Jerry Jones confronted Irvin about the house, he insisted that his star receiver tell him the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Irvin relayed the answer he gave Jones during the above-mentioned interview with Joe Buck. “Boss, I was trying to do the wrong thing, the right way”. Letting Jones know that he knew the drug use and partying was wrong and not beneficial to the Dallas Cowboys imagine but he was trying to keep it under control. 

Jerry Jones put an end to it all right then and there. The sex and drug fueled parties ended immediately. Irvin went to court for the hotel incident and pled no contest. He was fined $10,000 and ordered to perform 800 hours community service. The NFL also suspended him the first five games of the 1996 season. I guess Michael Irvin had a failed presidency…. get it?……the “white house”?!? The Michael Irvin saga didn’t end there though, oh no, no, no, there is more. In 1996 media reports stated that Irvin and teammate Erik Williams, while under the influence of cocaine, had sexually assaulted a Dallas Cheerleader, Nina Shahravan, held with a gun to her head, and videotaped the whole incident. Both Williams and Irvin vehemently denied the allegations. Later that year Nina Shahravan was proven to have fabricated the whole story. She recanted her story, pled guilty to perjury and filing a false police report, and was sentenced to 90 days in jail and a fine. 

Things were pretty quiet for Michael Irvin until July 29, 1998 when he was accused of assaulting fellow Cowboys offensive lineman, Everett McIver with a pair of scissors. The initial claim stemmed from Irvin demanding that McIver vacate a barber’s chair so that Irvin would not have to wait for a haircut. During the course of the argument, Irvin grabbed a pair of scissors and stabbed McIver in the neck, barely missing his carotid artery. It was rumored that Jerry Jones immediately brokered a 6-figure settlement between Irvin and McIver to prevent Mclver from pursuing criminal charges against Irvin. I guess the dude really wanted to get his hair cut and was on a time crunch. 

A year after his retirement from the NFL Michael Irvin was arrested once again for possession of cocaine, come on Mike you didn’t learn the first time around? Irvin was in a Dallas apartment with an unknown female. After refusing to open the door when police drug task force agents arrived with a search warrant. Police entered the apartment forcibly, finding drugs. Irvin and the woman were placed under arrest, though charges against Irvin were later dropped. Money talks baby and Irvin has A LOT of it. November 25, 2005 Irvin was pulled over for speeding in what was a routine traffic stop. Irvin was arrested on an outstanding warrant on an unpaid speeding ticket in Irving, Texas, but was also cited for misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia after police searched his car and found a pipe, and plastic bags with marijuana residue. Michael was later arrested for a Class C misdemeanor and was released. On December 1, 2005, ESPN suspended Irvin for the Sunday and Monday night “Countdown” shows on December 4 and 5, 2005. He later returned to both shows with no mention or consequence of the past incident.  

For the next 2 years Irvin managed to stay out of trouble and fly under the radar. On July 4, 2007, Irvin was accused of sexual assault while staying at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Holywood, Florida. Charges were never filed, but a civil suit was filed against him in 2010. Irvin filed a $100 million defamation countersuit in return, which was dropped when the case was settled out of court in January 2011. In 2017, Fort Lauderdale police investigated Michael Irvin for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman in Florida on March 22 that same year. He denied the allegations.On July 24, the Broward County State Attorney’s Office announced that they had closed the investigation and would not charge Irvin in the case. If the glove don’t fit you must acquit……Oh wait, that was the OJ Simpson trial. 

For his career, Michael Irvin earned five Pro Bowl honors, won three Super Bowl rings, set numerous records, and earned a spot in the Cowboys “Ring of Honor”. Despite his crazy ways he will always be a valued part of Dallas Cowboys history. You can now watch Michael Irvin alongside Rich Eisen, former NFL coach Steve “Mooch” Mariucci, and former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner on NFL Gameday Morning. That show is a riot and Irvin will make you laugh until you cry. Other players may wear number 88 for the Dallas Cowboys but there will no one that can fill Michael Irvin’s shoes. Irvin was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame in 2000 and into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007. On October 14, 2007, Michael Irvin accepted his Hall of Fame ring at Texas Stadium during halftime of the Dallas Cowboys–New England Patriots game (I remember watching that!). In his speech, he proposed to Commissioner Roger Goodell that all drafted rookies should have a tour of the Pro Football Hall of Fame to better understand their football history. 

Sources:

Michael Irvin’s White House – Sportscasting

The Party’s Over – Sports Illustrated

Michael Irvin’s Fall From Grace – Jrank Sports

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