This is a series that focuses on the last games and/or (when possible) the last plays of various members of the Cowboys. The final plays for a few of these players, such as Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman, and Michael Irvin, are well known. Others may be more difficult to research, but I will do my best.
Anyone old enough to remember the Cowboys of the late 1990s and early 2000s will remember the last plays of Michael Irvin and Troy Aikman. For that reason, I present them together in this post.
Michael Irvin’s skills had eroded by the late 1990s. He was far less effective in 1997 and 1998. In fact, his poor performance against the Arizona Cardinals in the 1998 playoffs (four receptions, 32 yards) caused some to wonder if the Cowboys should release the future hall-of-famer, even though he was still a 1,000-yard receiver.
But then Irvin caught two touchdown receptions in a season-opening thriller against Washington, and it appeared that he might be back. He followed that performance with two sub-par games, but Dallas was 3-0 early in the 1999 season, so most did not focus heavily on Irvin’s importance.
Michael Irvin never played football again after this play.
Irvin went across the middle against the Eagles on a slant pattern, and Troy Aikman hit Irvin in stride. As he was being tackled, Irvin was hit on the back of the head by an Eagle defender. Irvin did not get up from the play and was carted off the field (as Eagle fans cheered the injury).
Dallas went 5-8 for the rest of the 1999 season. The team only won 15 games over the three seasons after that. No, it was not all because of Irvin’s injury, but the team lost a key leader, and the Cowboys were not the same team once he was gone.
Troy Aikman led Dallas to three Super Bowl titles and was only 34 years old in 2000. He played, however, more like he was 44. He threw only 7 touchdown passes compared with 14 interceptions, and fans routinely booed him and the Cowboys during a terrible season.
He started the week 14 game against Washington.
LaVar Arrington’s hit near the sideline gave Aikman yet another concussion, and Aikman never played another down of football in the NFL again.
Dallas had already declined when Aikman suffered his injury. However, his retirement led to the team’s carousel of quarterbacks. Dallas could not find a franchise quarterback until the emergence of Tony Romo six years after Aikman suffered his injury.
This is a series that focuses on the last games and/or (when possible) the last plays of various members of the Cowboys. The final plays for a few of these players, such as Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman, and Michael Irvin, are well known. Others may be more difficult to research, but I will do my best. […]