Friends and coworkers Nick Dolin and Lisa Bennett were producers on HBO's Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel. The duo seemed like a great fit; they had similar interests (he had a love for the Mets while she was a die-hard Phillies fan) and were close friends.
Romance seemed like the next reasonable step in their relationship but Bennett was reluctant. She'd been "involved" at work before and wasn't keen on taking the plunge again, least of all with her closest platonic friend.
In late 2001, much was made about Michael Irvin's self-proclaimed new lease on life. With the help of friends and family, Irvin supposedly abandoned the world of drug abuse and sexual license for that of born-again Christianity, and the skeptical sports media was champing at the bit for the story.
Real Sports sent Dolin and Bennett to Dallas to get the exclusive.
The producers met Irvin at the home of the Good Reverend Deion Sanders. Whether Sanders was clad in some crazy zoot suit and fedora typical of his preacher years is unknown and, well, irrelevant, but soon after the interview began, Irvin turned the tables on Dolin and Bennett, and asked why they weren't a couple.
According to reports, their faces turned beet red in embarrassment, but we all know that the Playmaker left no time for the awkward silence often found in situations of this nature. He pressed them on their status, insisting that God put them together for a reason.
"I had to say something," said Irvin. "In that other world, that spiritual world, that soul mate world, there was something going on soul to soul, not body to body."
I wonder what his soulmate speech sounded like. Did he quote scripture? Did he get the gruff rumble in his voice that is often heard when he's making inane comments during Monday Night Countdown?
Though these facts are probably only known to the Dolins and Irvin, I know one thing: if his talk was anything like his lockerroom speech with the Miami Hurricane football players before their game against Florida State last season, this union would could have been in the gutter before ever getting off the ground.
Fortunately, Irvin gives better trumpet calls for romance than he does rivalry football games (the Canes lost their season opener to FSU, 10-7). His words planted the seeds of possibility, and last December, Nick Dolin proposed to Lisa Bennett.
The couple recently married at a TriBeCa restaurant, and while reception guests dined on a do-it-yourself cheeseburger buffet, the newlyweds were greeted by a video message from Michael Irvin: "Your love, even when you were not together, it was a beautiful thing to watch. You were like two little kids playing together." Irvin continued to wax poetic, suggesting that the Dolins name their soon to be born baby after him. "Michael, or Michaela if it's a girl."
And that makes complete sense. Only a set of parents that were completely off their rockers would take pause when naming their child after a former drug addict who treats the English language like a two-dollar hooker.
Until now, I thought the only thing Michael Irvin could hook me up with was a crown and coke, a fur coat, and the location of the nearest crack den. But look at the Playmaker, taking his skills to the next level. It's almost too good to be true, isn't it?
Michael Irvin, a modern day Yente.