The Can’t-Miss Panini America Interview: Dallas Cowboys Legend Michael Irvin

July 28, 2011

Michael Irvin doesn’t have hands. He has velvet-covered Vise-Grips – soft enough to secure 750 career receptions, strong enough to support the weight of three Super Bowl rings (and unwittingly gnash the knuckles of a certain card company marketing manager with a simple handshake).

For 12 seasons, the fiery Irvin used those massive mitts to make some of the most consequential catches of the 1990s. He also used them to carry the emotional compass of the Dallas Cowboys’ dynasty that won three championships in a span of four seasons.

It’s that right hand in particular that collectors care about most today. That’s the one Irvin uses to proudly and respectfully sign one of the most coveted autographs in franchise history.

Today, 11 years after he retired and four years after he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the man known as “Playmaker” remains one of the most popular and provocative personalities the NFL has ever known. (Coincidentally, he appears to have remained in tip-top game shape, too.)

Late last week following his private signing with Panini America’s Joe White, I sat down with Irvin to discuss, among other things, his past, his penmanship and his perfect card. Spoiler alert: Irvin’s response to that last question may ruffle a few feathers in the Deion Sanders and Rod Woodson households.

As you’ll see throughout the candid conversation, Irvin remains the NFL’s career leader in charisma all these years later.

Want more Michael? Check out these exclusive images from last week’s signings: