Today, we have the final contest in the Paul Tagliabue Regional. Seventh-seeded "The Beautiful" Harvey Martin, who makes a strong case as the greatest pass rusher in team history, goes up against second-seeded Michael Irvin, "The Playmaker," who is, without question, the greatest receiver to wear the star. Who will join Roger Staubach, Jason Witten and Jimmy Johnson as this regional's representatives in the Sweet Sixteen? Read the bios and comments and hit the poll, faithful readers!
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Player: Harvey Martin
Position: defensive end
How he got here: defeated Don Perkins, 539-157
|Name||Years||Career AV||Pro Bowls||All-Pro||RoH||HoF|
|Harvey Banks Martin
Bio: Martin was drafted in the third round of the 1973 , and made an immediate splash. Although he played only on passing downs as a rookie, he still led the team in quarterback sacks with 9. He was a rotation player for two season, offering an electric pass rush while he developed strength and honed his craft (a process that was advanced by the fact that he went up against Hall of Fame OT Rayfield Wright in practice every day) so that he could become an everyday player.
Martin became the full-time starter in 1975 and, in '76, registered 15.5 sacks and made the Pro Bowl for the first time. His 1977 season was arguably the best ever by a pass rusher; in only fourteen games, he totaled 85 tackles and a league-leading 23 sacks (note that this is more than Michael Strahan's 22.5 record in 16 games), was a consensus All-Pro selection, and earned NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors. In addition, he was helped lead the to a dominating win in XII, and was named a co-MVP of the game with Randy White.
He followed up his 1977 season with double-digit sack performances from 1978 to '81. Although the NFL didn't start recognizing quarterback sacks as an official stat until the year before Martin retired, the Cowboys did keep sack records, and their charts credit Martin with a career sack total 114 sacks after leading the Cowboys in QB bags seven times during a nine-year period. His unofficial career franchise sack record stood for 30 years, before it was broken by in 2013. And, to top it off, he had an awesome nickname, being known as "Too Mean" (to go with "Too Tall" Jones, Randy "Too Strong" White and Jethro "Too Jethro" Pugh).
Have to go with The Beautiful Harvey Martin Show
Doomsday II cornerstone, and another glaring omission in the Ring of Honor
Some highlights of Martin from 1977.
Martin had a year for the ages... 23 sacks in 14 games translates to 26 in a 16 game season
Better than anyone from this era and better than anything Demarcus Ware did, explosive RDE in a 4-3 Flex scheme.
Player: Michael Irvin
Position: wide receiver
How he got here: defeated Bill Bates, 600-150
|Name||Years||Career AV||Pro Bowls||All-Pro||RoH||HoF|
|Michael Jerome Irvin
Bio: Irvin was drafted by the Cowboys in the first round of the 1988 NFL Draft, as the last first rounder selected by the Schramm-Brandt-Landry triumverate. He became the first rookie receiver in Cowboys' history to start a game in 20 years, finishing his rookie season with a 20.4 yards per catch average, tops in the NFC. After two injury-plagued seasons, he exploded in 1991, leading the NFL in yards (1,523, on 93 catches) and making the first of five consecutive Pro Bowls. In 1992, he helped lead the Cowboys to Super Bowl XXVII, where he caught seven passes for 114 yards and the two second-quarter touchdowns that essentially sealed the game.
At 6'2" and 207 pounds, Irvin was a big, physical receiver who manhandled cornerbacks and often was able to use his big body to make tough catches in traffic. He was also a vocal, emotional leader who set the tone for the great 90s Cowboys through his passion and work ethic. He was instrument in the Cowboys again winning Super Bowls in 1993 and '95. In 1995, he set Cowboys records for receptions (111) and receiving yards (1,603), while scoring 10 touchdowns and setting an NFL record with 11 games with over 100 yards receiving.
From 1991 through 1998, Irvin recorded 1,000-yard seasons in all but one year (1996, when he missed the season's first five games), and racked up an impressive 10,265 receiving yards. Irvin finished his career as the Cowboys receiving leader in games played, receptions, and yards, and second to Bob Hayes in touchdowns. His 47 100-yard receiving games remains the third most in NFL history, and his 87 postseason receptions and 1,315 postseason receiving yards place him second in NFL history behind Jerry Rice. Irvin was inducted into the Ring of Honor in 2005 and elected to the Hall of Fame in 2007.
Irvin has some of the best yards/team passing attempt stats in NFL history and is one of the greatest WRs of all time.
During his best five years (1991-1995) Irvin had more yards per team passing attempt than anyone in their best five years in the post merger era, including Jerry Rice.
Irvin is the man
What he did off the field was none of my business. When he wore the Star, he was all about winning, he did it at the U & did it here. Without the Playmaker, the 90’s may have turned out differently. He was the ringleader in the locker room, he pushed his teammates & himself to levels never seen before.
Alright, BTBers, which man advances to the sweet sixteen?