This is an article from the Oct. 12, 2009 issue
Michael Irvin SURPRISINGLY GOOD DANCER
The Pro Football Hall of Famer and NFL Network analyst was still in the mix after the first two episodes of Dancing with the Stars
Dan Patrick: Where have you been, Mike?
Michael Irvin: You know, we work for the people that we work for, and sometimes we allow them to keep us from a moment together.
DP: It's the Man that's been keeping us down. But it's good to have you on.
MI: I listen to you, Dan. I heard you the other day with Charles Barkley getting on the receivers. Charles said, "Do some of these guys really think the coach doesn't want to get them the ball?"
DP: I liked it when Charles said, "I love T.O." I asked, "Would you want him as a teammate?" His answer: "No." You know, you belong in that new Cowboys Stadium. Could you imagine that—you, Troy and Emmitt on the big screen?
MI: It's one of the few times that I thought, God, why couldn't I be born 15 years later? I've had some bumps—no, no, no, no, I've had more than bumps, I've had a few mountains in my way—that I had to climb over. I wasn't willing to trade any of it. But the other day, when I was in that new stadium, I was like, Oh, God, I would go back to play games here.
DP: Why is everybody piling on Tony Romo?
MI: Well, I'll say so when Romo doesn't play well, like in the Giants game [a 33--31 loss on Sept. 20]. But I will cool down my opinion before it gets to "Romo can't do it" or anything like that. Go back in the history of the quarterbacks for the Dallas Cowboys. We had Drew Bledsoe, Quincy Carter, Ryan Leaf.... Compared to those guys, Tony Romo is God himself. He hasn't won playoff games, I understand that, but don't talk about getting rid of Tony Romo. There's some things he needs to work on, but certainly he is a good quarterback.
DP: What advice would you give [49ers holdout] Michael Crabtree?
MI: I would tell him, I appreciate you want to show people you are a serious businessman. And I think you've accomplished that to a certain degree. But I'm ready to see the football player tell the businessman, Enough is enough. Never let other men's egos get in the way of your money. Michael Crabtree needs to understand that his agent, Eugene Parker, wants a great deal for all the other people that are coming after [Crabtree]. The 49ers, they're trying to give as little as they can so they can save [money] and look great. I would step in the middle and say, Hey, y'all put your egos aside and get my greens in my pocket and get me on this field.
DP: It's been good visiting with you. And good luck with Dancing with the Stars.
MI: You think you can do that, Dan? You think you can [dance]?
MI: Stop it.
DP: Mike, if [Mark] Cuban can, I can. And you know I've got some rhythm, you've seen it.
MI: I did see it? Oh, God, I did see it! Hey! Have you ever told that story about the—
DP: I've got to go, Mike. We'll tell that story another day.
Remember how Kobe Bryant's marketability was destroyed after he was accused of sexual assault in 2003? (The case was dropped and Bryant reached a settlement with his accuser.) Well, his jersey is again the top NBA seller in the U.S. "I think he's back," CNBC sports business reporter Darren Rovell told me. "Will a blue-chip brand that's not associated with basketball ... go with him? That's the last step. But he's close to being the league's most marketable player."
UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel has a theory why so many freshman QBs—USC's Matt Barkley and, before he suffered a broken jaw, the Bruins' Kevin Prince, to name two—are starting. Many coaches fail to cultivate capable backups, so when a star leaves, the race to replace him is wide open. "The guys who've been in the wings haven't been coached," Neuheisel said. "No one is [that far] ahead of [a freshman]."
Line of the week
It's been more than a month since Raiders coach Tom Cable allegedly broke assistant Randy Hanson's jaw during an argument. So why is the Napa, Calif., police investigation taking so long? Fox's Jay Glazer knows: "The other Raiders assistants in the room at the time fear Al [owner Al Davis] more than the law."
Now Hear This
Listen to the podcasts at danpatrick.com/interviews
1. Orlando's Dwight Howard chats about the NBA preseason.
2. Michael Moore discusses his film Capitalism: A Love Story.
THE FINE PRINT: Rio beat out Chicago. The IOC just didn't like President Obama's plan to replace gymnastics judges with a death panel.