Many times a player who’s getting a little older makes a decision to retire just at the right time. It seems like perhaps Michael Strahan, who spent 15 seasons in the NFL, has in life, as he did on the football field, impeccable timing. Strahan has achieved every goal a professional player can possibly achieve. He appeared in seven Pro Bowls, been a six-time All-Pro selection selection and he’s a Super Bowl Champion.

That final goal was reached last season when his New York Giants upset the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII by a score of 17-14. The Giants won the title crown partly due to the outstanding play of the New York Football Giants defensive line.

Strahan is a future Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee who is going out like a true professional—on top. Strahan, who played his entire 15-year career with the New York Giants still holds the record for most sacks in a single NFL season—22.5. In 2001, he was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year and in 2001 and 2003 the NFC Defensive Player of the Year.

Strahan, who turns 37 in November, came out of Texas Southern in 1993. He was the 40th pick overall in the 1993 NFL Draft, with the Giants picking him in round two. The Associated Press and other organizations designated him as an All-American in 1992. In college, he was also a two-time First-team All-SWAC and a two-time SWAC Defensive Player of the year.

In 1992, he posted a school record 19 quarterback sacks and 32 tackles that resulted in losses. The yards lost to the DE’s tackles that season totaled 142. He recorded 62 tackles that year.

With the Giants, Strahan played in a total of 216 regular season contests, averaging 14.4 games per season. The durable defensive lineman appeared in at least 15 games in 12 out of 15 seasons. In 2007, he played in every game. Over the course of his career, he totaled 854 tackles with 667 being unassisted. He forced 24 fumbles, including 6 in 2001 when he broke the season sack record.

The record for most sacks in a season had been 22, which was set by New York Jets DE Mark Gastineau in 1984. However, there was controversy when Strahan set the new record. The sack that put the New York Giants’ defensive end in the regular season record books occurred in a game against the Green Bay Packers.

Just prior to the play that would set the record, future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre spoke briefly to Strahan, his friend for many years. During the play that would give Strahan the sack record, Favre went back to pass and then scrambled towards Strahan’s side of the field. The Green Bay quarterback then took a quick dive to the ground, allowing Strahan to fall on top of him.

Many of the Giants defensive players smacked Favre on the helmet as if to thank him. The favor that Favre apparently granted Strahan did not go unnoticed by the media. Still, the record stands and Strahan, despite this controversy, leaves the NFL as a highly respected professional. Look for Michael Strahan to be voted into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on the first ballot.

Paul mroczka
Sports Pundit member

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