Michael Irvin (1988-1999)
The heir to the throne of the superstar wide receiver was the unbelievably entertaining wide receiver, Michael Irvin. Without a doubt, he is the most decorated of all the other Cowboys receivers.
After being selected in the first round of the 1988 draft, he had to wait for his opportunity to flourish. In the first three seasons, he played in 32 of 50 games. While the start to Irvin’s career was slower than Pearson’s, Irving sure showed up with a bigger bang.
In 1991 he caught 93 passes for 1,523 yards and eight touchdowns. He led the league in yards, made his first Pro Bowl, and was a first-team All-Pro.
This was the start of a five-year span where Irvin would be one of the best wide receivers in the league. In the following four seasons, he made the Pro Bowl every year and eclipsed 1,200 yards each season.
While he never led the league in receiving yards again during this span, he did place second twice. Put that alongside a catching percentage north of 60 percent each season.
Let’s not forget the amazing runs in the playoffs during that great five-season period. Irvin played a key part in capturing not one, not two, but three Super Bowls. He was most effective during the ’92 and ’93 run when he eclipsed 200+ yards and 69+ percent catching percentage.
Come the 1996 season, you can see Irvin began to slow down. He still had a very good season, catching 64 passes for 962 yards and two touchdowns in only 11 games. He led the league in receiving yards per game, but it was the last amazing season for Irvin.
During the last three seasons from 1997 to 1999, Irvin’s catching percentage would remain under 60 percent. There was good production there, but you can see his career is starting to end.
He did manage to get 1,180 yards and nine touchdowns in ’97, but he had a 47.8 percent catching percentage. In ’98 he had 1,057 yards and a 57.8 percent completion percentage, but only one touchdown.
Overall, it was an unbelievable career for Irvin. Three Super Bowls, five Pro Bowls, one first-team All-Pro, all topped off with being enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Of course, the electric Irvin also has his name in the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor.
Because of the loaded receivers in the ’90s, Irvin didn’t make the first-team All-Decade team. He did; however, make the second-team All-Decade team.
From here, Irvin would go on to become an entertaining and successful analyst. He sat back and watched his Cowboys collapse until a bright spot emerged at his former spot once again.