Dez Bryant and No. 88: Three Reasons It’s a Good Idea
By now, you know owner Jerry Jones personally provided rookie Dez Bryant with No. 88. A lot of media types have since criticized the move, claiming it was Michael Irvin’s number and will bring unnecessary pressure to Bryant.
We couldn’t disagree more, and here is why:
1. As a first-rounder, there is already a ton of pressure on Bryant. His number won’t add to that.
Do you really think that as Bryant is going to be up in the air attempting to catch a deep ball from Tony Romo thinking, “Oh crap. . .I better catch this because I am wearing No. 88”? Of course not.
As a first round pick (and an NFL player in general), there will be nearly unfathomable amounts of pressure on Bryant each and every week. That is simply part of the job description. His number, as it relates to his on-field play, is incapable of adding onto what is already one of the most pressure-packed careers in the world.
2. It isn’t “Michael Irvin’s number”–Drew Pearson had it before him, and Antonio Bryant since.
The Cowboys do not retire jersey numbers. If they did, perhaps Irvin would have never gotten an opportunity to wear the double-eights.
In the same way that Irvin didn’t “take” Pearson’s number, Bryant isn’t taking Irvin’s. Perhaps in a decade or two, we will criticize an incoming Cowboys’ rookie for taking Bryant’s No. 88.
3. With so much tradition behind No. 88, Bryant will work to uphold its honor.
While on the football field, there is no time for Bryant to think about any perceived pressure his number could bring. On the other hand, there is plenty of off-the-field time for Bryant to ponder the honor which comes with No. 88 and subsequently make smart decisions. We whole-heartedly believe Bryant’s yearning to uphold the honor of his number will far outweigh any perceived pressure it brings him.