When I first heard the news that Michael Irvin would be running a reality show to find a player for the Dallas Cowboys my first reaction was that this would be another distraction for the team to deal with. After watching last night's debut of 4th And Long on Spike TV I will admit that I was dead wrong. The show is no joke. The coaches and former players running the drills on the show are no joke. The players trying to get one last shot at an NFL roster are no joke. All I can say after watching the show is...wow!
Obviously the players vying for the 80th roster spot are not first round draft pick material but they are all former college players who didn't make it to the NFL for whatever reason. Some of them seem to have come up with excuses to justify their shortcomings, but some of them seem to have real reasons that derailed their careers. For example, one player tore his MCL the day before his pro day in college and ended up not getting drafted. That seems legitimate. One guy wanted to blame his agent for his failures. That is a bogus excuse to me.
Regardless of all that the former Dallas Cowboy coaches and players are not running the show like you might expect when you hear about a reality TV show. Coach Joe Avezzano, Bill Bates, Michael Irvin, and Nate Newton are making it clear to the 12 players that they are going to have to show that they have the talent and especially the desire to earn the 80th roster spot. Players were throwing up just a few minutes into the first episode. No one had sympathy for them. Drew Pearson showed up to give a short speech about making the most of their last chance. He was an undrafted player out of college and ended up with over 500 career receptions.
Michael Irvin reminded me throughout the show that even if he had off the field issues as a player, there is no doubting that he knows the value of hard work and desire. You can see exactly why he was the inspirational leader for the Super Bowl teams of the 90's. Some of his lines during the show actually gave me chills because I felt ready to strap on a chinstrap and run through the drills with those guys. I didn't expect to be saying this, but I will be watching every episode of this show. You never know...maybe one of these guys can actually help the Dallas Cowboys this season.