Welcome Cyclone fans to what surely will be the most unpleasant series of articles you’ve ever read. For the next 100 days leading up the the first game of the most anticipated football season in the history of Iowa State, we’re going to revisit, one by one, all of the bad field goals, bad losses, bad teams, bad coaches, bad players, bad arrests, and bad officiating that we’ve become all too accustomed to seeing throughout our history.
You may be wondering why the f*** we are dredging up these terrible, horrible, no good, very bad memories. Because we’re Iowa State fans, and we have a lot of them. However, as we’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy a golden era of Cyclone basketball, and appear to be on the verge of the same in football, we need to remember where we came from so we can appreciate this all the more going forward.
Without further adieu, I present the first of one hundred band-aids to be ripped off:
David Irving’s infamous stolen stop sign during the last ever VEISHEA, which signaled the end of an inconsistent college and the beginning of a surprisingly productive NFL career.
If I told you that Iowa State had a 6’7” 290 pound defensive lineman that currently plays for the Dallas Cowboys on its roster in 2014, you’d probably say something like “Oh yeah, he was a BADASS.” At times, David Irving was just that. At his best, he was a terror on the defensive line, using enormous frame to power through offensive lineman and disrupt both the run and the pass. Just watch him tear Iowa a new one in the 2013 game at Jack Trice Stadium.
We didn’t end up winning that game, but Irving definitely showed everyone watching that he had an enormously high ceiling. Unfortunately, inconsistency on the field and legal troubles off the field prevented Irving from ever realizing anything resembling his potential in a Cyclone uniform. In 2013, Irving was arrested on domestic violence charges, but the charges were later dropped by his girlfriend. However, the straw that broke the camel’s back came on April 8th, 2014.
That evening, thousands of students were out on Welch Ave, celebrating the annual VEISHEA festival. Eventually crowds began to form, the crowds eventually turned into riots, and the riots eventually started flipping over cars, tearing down street lights and stop signs, and setting things on fire. Just your average Tuesday night during VEISHEA.
Unfortunately, Irving was swept up in the crowd, and eventually handed a stop sign which had been ripped from its mounting bolts. Though he only held the stop sign for a few seconds, it was just enough time for someone to snap what has become one of the most infamous pictures in Cyclone football history.
A few days later, Irving was kicked off the team, ending his budding college career. This article from Dallas News tells the story about the difficulties and regrets he experienced following the incident, including a one day stint at Home Depot.
However, Irving was eventually given a chance to work out for NFL teams. After the workouts at his high school in Compton, CA, the Chiefs eventually signed him to the practice squad, giving him a second chance at a football career. During the 2015 season, the Dallas Cowboys signed him from the Chiefs practice squad, and immediately gave him a chance to prove that he was worth an NFL giving him a shot. Just a few weeks later, Irving made his presence known, blocking a field goal against the Seahawks, and propelling him into a spot in the rotation.
After a successful 2016 season, Irving had a breakout 2017 season, recording seven sacks in 8 games (8 starts) while missing the first four games due to suspension, and the final 4 due to a concussion.
So, while this is certainly story of despair for Iowa State, Cyclone fans can take solace knowing that this story does have a happy ending. Cyclone fans should absolutely forget about the stop sign, but they shouldn’t forget about a talented player that made a mistake, but learned his lesson, and appears on track for the successful NFL career most people thought he could have.
Heck, maybe we could even call this a success story.