Despite having his career cut short due to a spine injury, Michael Irvin left the NFL following the 1999 season owning or tied for 20 Cowboys receiving records, including nearly every major career and single-season standard - career receptions (750), yardage (11,904) and 100-yard receiving games (47).
During his illustrious career, Irvin also etched his name in the NFL record books. In league history, only Jerry Rice (12) and Steve Largent (8) had recorded more 1,000-yard receiving seasons than the seven produced by Irvin when he retired. His 11 100-yard receiving games during the 1995 season is still the NFL standard, as is the seven consecutive 100-yard games he produced that same year. Irvin's 47 career 100-yard receiving games still stands as the third most in NFL history, behind Rice (65) and Don Maynard (50). The Cowboys posted a 36-11 record when Irvin topped the 100-yard mark.
In the 1990s, Irvin's consistent ability to achieve at the highest level established his place among the game's elite receivers. He finished his career tied with Charlie Joiner for 10th in NFL history on the all-time reception list, and he was ninth in league history in receiving yardage. Five years after his retirement, he is still 11th in the league in receiving yardage and 16th in receptions.
Irvin was selected to five Pro Bowls between 1991-98, giving him two more Pro Bowl appearances than any other wide receiver in club history. He is the only Cowboys player to top 75 catches in five straight seasons (1991-1995), and his reception and yardage totals for six of the years between 1991-98 represent six of the top nine single-season performances in club history: 1997 (75 receptions for 1,180 yards); 1995 (111 for 1,603); 1994 (79 for 1,241), 1993 (88 for 1,330), 1992 (78 for 1,396) and 1991 (93 for 1,523). Irvin also stands alone as the club record holder in terms of most consecutive seasons leading the team in receptions (eight, 1991-98) and most total seasons leading the club in receptions (eight). He led or tied for the team lead in catches in 85 of his last 130 regular-season games. Including playoffs games, he had a catch of 20-yards-or-more in 121 of the 175 NFL games he played.
Irvin's career receiving average of 15.9 is the fourth highest in team history, and he is second on the club's all-time receiving touchdown list with 65 - trailing only Bob Hayes (71).
Of his 750 career regular season catches, 95 went for 20- 29 yards, 38 for 30-39, 18 for 40-49, 10 for 50-59 and nine for 60 yards-or-more. He started 147-of-159 regular season games (163-of-175 including playoffs) he played upon entering the league in 1988. Irvin did not miss a start due to injury after the 1990 season, when he was overcoming a 1989 knee injury.
Always a clutch performer, he became Troy Aikman's goto- guy on third or fourth down and prospered, leading the team in catches on third or fourth down for first downs in '92 (22), '93 (16), '94 (20), '95 (27), '97 (23) and '98 (16). He had 165 first down catches on third or fourth down in his last 121 games and 185 after returning from the knee injury in 1990. His performance in the postseason was every bit as impressive as his consistent play throughout the regular season.
His six career 100-yard receiving days in the postseason are two shy of the NFL mark of eight by Jerry Rice. Irvin's 87 postseason receptions place him second in NFL playoff history behind Rice (151) and his 1,315 postseason receiving yards also ranks second in league annals behind Rice (2,245).