Saturday, February 03, 2007

Irvin gets his Hall pass

So it's true what they say: third time's a charm.

Today Michael Irvin officially became a Hall of Fame wide receiver. After not receiving enough votes his first two opportunities, Irvin is headlining the Hall of Fame class of 2007.

I can only assume that the prolific receiver who became known as The Playmaker was simply being "punished" by voters that did not want him to be a first-ballot inductee. This honor for Irvin is overdue. (Read the "No Joshin'" post from after his first year on the ballot.) Perhaps not as long overdue as Rayfield Wright's induction last year, but long enough.

When I first saw the news this morning (well, morning out here on the West coast), I - as a Cowboys fan - felt a sense of vindication and relief. It was a feeling similar to what Peyton Manning may feel if he's successful in tomorrow's big game. Cowboys fans knew this moment would one day arrive. But when?

Irvin fell short two consecutive years. Even though last year he saw his teammate Troy Aikman become a Hall of Famer, the moment had to be bittersweet for the man who caught so many of those passes.

He admitted today on ESPN that he had some butterflies in his stomach this morning. How could he not? After the way voters had treated him the past two years, some doubt had to be creeping into his mind. For a player who never seemed to doubt his abilities during his playing days, some thoughts of "Will it ever happen? And if so, when?" had to infiltrate his mind.

Today, aah, today brings relief. Michael Irvin will forever be immortalized in the history of Pro Football.

It makes sense, really. If Troy Aikman is in, and Emmitt Smith will be in - once he's elligible, he's in on the first ballot thanks to his 18,355 rushing yards - wouldn't their seem to be a void when you mention their names as Hall of Famers.

Irvin is forever linked to Aikman and Smith. They are The Triplets. They - together - ruled professional football during the 1990s. If you wanted to hoist the Lombardi Trophy, you had to go through Dallas. To do that, you had to stop a Hall of Fame caliber trio. It's only fitting they all be together once again.

When the NFL's all-time leading rusher becomes eligible for induction, the three cornerstones of the Dallas dynasty will find themselves together once again - in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

When Emmitt takes his place in Canton, I'll say the same thing: third time's a charm.

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