Michael Irvin. One of the all time great game day players. A champion and leader on the field. Exhibiting pride and character with every route run and every block thrown. Giving all he had for the team. Maximum effort on every play. A career finally rewarded with a bronze statue and yellow blazer. The Playmaker is going to Canton.
How can anyone dispute his worthiness? An integral part of 3 Super Bowl winning teams. His stats, though excellent, don't accurately reflect his worth to his team and the important role he played on those teams. Yet, some columnists have been spewing bile and vitriol at Irvin's election. Angrily and self righteously proclaiming that because Michael lived life in the fast lane he didn't deserve to be in the Hall.
To those columnists, we can only say that the precedent has already been set. As long as Lawrence Taylor is in, trying to bar some one's entry because they had a taste for wine, women and neck bone (so to speak) is a losing proposition.
We've read Jason Whitlock's columns castigating Irvin and labelling him a "bo-jangler". Making fun of Mr. Irvin's flamboyant style and taste for fine (if somewhat gaudy) dress attire. Belittling Irvin's analytical skills and taking every opportunity to try and contradict what Irvin says.
So, it's easy to see that Irvin's election frustrates and angers someone like Whitlock. You know Whitlock. Mr. Real Talk. The Ovah Weight Lovah. The man who revels in his own Negro-ness by taking the time to point out those he deems to be too Negro. Might it be that Irvin's comfort in his skin reminds Mr. Whitlock how much he hates himself being a Negro? Might Mr. Whitlock's taunts of "bojangler!" really be veiled admissions of self loathing?
Irvin reached the pinnacle of his profession and is being immortalized. Whitlock will be quickly forgotten when hypertension, diabetes, heart disease or some other malady related to his love of soul food and fat belly cuts his career and life short. He will be lowered into the ground in a piano case sized casket by a small crane and covered in dirt. In contrast, children for generations will pay homage at Canton to the legend of the Playmaker.
We suspect that any "bo jangler" would happily dance on that grave (it certainly will be the size of a dance floor).
Other columnists quickly began whining and crying about their beloved Art Monk being left out. To their thinking, it was unfair for Irvin to get in and Monk to be left out. Monk had better stats (albeit in over 60 more games) and he wears a few rings on his fingers. Plus, he was a gentleman. And according to them, Irvin was not. But in the highly subjective world of Hall of Fame voting, why does Irvin's election have any connection whatsoever to Monk's inability to garner the requisite votes for entry?
A lot of players were class acts, put up nice stats and won a ring or two. But, a lot of those same players were not the foundation upon which the championships were built. And that is Monk. A guy that kept his nose clean off the field and put up nice stats on the field. But take him away, and chances are those 'Skins teams still win Lombardi Trophies. Take away the Playmaker? Well, those Cowboys teams might have won a Trophy and had some deep playoff runs, but would certainly not be considered one of the greatest "dynasties" of all time.
And that is why Michael Irvin is now "Hall of Famer" Michael Irvin. We hope Michael celebrated the news by heading over to Bo Jangle's for some chicken. He deserves it.