what would become a career-ending neck injury in the fourth game.
But he knew the score this time. He knew with the Cowboys, in a 10-year Hall of Fame drought, would be hard pressed to get two players selected this time, let alone three. Heck, this would have been an upset if the Cowboys advanced three players into the final six alone. The cards were stacked against him since Aikman was a no-brainer - after all - and Wright was somewhat of a sentimental choice.
Irvin would suffer the consequences.
"That's him, look at him," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said, more fondly of Irvin than out of pity. "He was set for anything tough. He was genuinely happy for Troy.
"He's right at the cusp (of the Hall of Fame). I think he'll get there."
So do I, and so do several members of the 39-man selection committee. From what I'm told, about the only negative point made during the discussion process in the meeting was that Irvin "pushed off" his entire career. What a petty, short-sighted observation of a guy who caught 750 career passes and 65 career touchdown passes. If that were the case, then the guy should have some pretty tired arms by this stage in his life and the NFL must have some pretty poor officiating in those days to let those "infractions" take place 750 times.
In fact, not an off-field issue was broached, I'm told. Not once, so no reference to his latest besmirching headline. That, though, does not take into account some committee member's subconscious thoughts, or, for that matter, their less than objective way of following the Hall of Fame bylaws which implicitly implore off-field matters not be considered. As Emmitt Smith said the other day, "This is the Pro Football Hall of Fame, not the Life Hall of Fame."
Michael Irvin will get his day. Just not this day.
He was having to go to work, and had to leave. Irvin is here working for ESPN, and has a Super Bowl XL pre-game show to do Sunday. There was still prepping to do.
"I got to go up and hug my quarterback," said Irvin, who gave him a man-hug.
But unlike last year, there will be no crying himself to sleep. Irvin brought with him an emotional elixir this time: His three Super Bowls rings.
"You got 'em," I asked him.
"They're up in the room," he said.
I smiled, and he knew what that smile meant.
"And you better believe I'll wake up tomorrow and look at them," he said.
And I knew what he meant. No committee can ever take away his success with the Cowboys. Those rings are more for posterity than glittering jewelry.
So what you gonna do now Mike?
"I got to go to work," Irvin said. "I got a big show Sunday I'm worried about right now."
Life does go on.