Mark Craig: Strahan rushing among the legends

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 22, 2007 - 4:58 PM

The Giants Michael Strahan belongs in the conversation among the best pass rushers of all-time.

Giants Mini-Camp Football

New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan.

Photo: Bill Kostroun, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Giants defensive end Michael Strahan received no greater compliment in the Vikings' locker room this week than the one from nose tackle Pat Williams.

Asked to name the top three pass rushers in the 88-year history of the NFL, Williams veered from his penchant for verbally body slamming opponents days before he physically body slams them.

"I think it's Lawrence Taylor, Bruce [Smith] and then Strahan because Strahan brings it," said Williams, whose Vikings visit Giants Stadium on Sunday. "I love watching him on tape. And I also like Reggie [White]. I'd put him up there, too."

Lawrence Taylor, the original "LT," is in the Hall of Fame. So, too, is the late Reggie White. And Smith, a former teammate of Williams in Buffalo, will be there as soon as he's eligible in 2009.

Strahan, who turned 36 on Wednesday, is going strong toward the end of his 15th season. He leads active players with 140½ sacks, eight of them this season, including three last week in Detroit.

Identifying the greatest pass rusher in NFL history is a purely subjective endeavor. Particularly since the league didn't start keeping track of sacks as an official statistic until 1982, the year after the excitement generated in New York by Taylor's rookie season and the Jets' "Sack Exchange" defense.

All sack totals before 1982 aren't recognized by the league, which has made some graying greats awfully grumpy through the decades. Deacon Jones, the old Rams "Fearsome Foursome" end and the guy who coined the term "sack," summed up the frustration best years ago.

"Since when does 'all-time' begin in 1982?" said Jones, who by many unoffical reported accounts had 173½ sacks in a career that ended in 1974.

"Deacon Jones is one of my really good friends, and like my mentor," Strahan said. "According to Deacon, he has like 3,000 sacks. And it grows each year. Those guys who played before they had all the stats, they do have some kind of legitimate gripe. But at the same time, Reggie and Bruce up at the top, they put up record numbers that probably won't ever be broken."

Most if not all unofficial individual totals reported over the years do not surpass Smith's official record of 200. White had 198.

Although the Vikings' current pass rush is still a work in progress, the team's history includes as many great pass rushers as any other team in the league. Hall of Fame end Carl Eller's unofficial total of 130 sacks is recognized as the team's career record. Hall of Fame tackle Alan Page has been reported to have had 148½ career sacks, including 108 with the Vikings. The team also has had Jim Marshall, John Randle and Chris Doleman, among others.

"As the best of all-time, I'd have to go with Reggie White," said Bob Lurtsema, who played for both the Giants (1967-71) and Vikings (1972-76). "But from my era, Alan Page was the best pass rusher. Without question. His hands were so strong and he got off the ball so fast. Before the offensive lineman could get set, Alan was already into him. And he didn't do that once or twice. He did it all the time."

A walk through the Vikings' locker room Wednesday served as a reminder that a lot of these kids were born in the 1980s.

"The best I ever seen?" said defensive end Ray Edwards, a New Year's baby in 1985. "Dwight Freeney."

Strahan said his top three is Smith, White and Taylor. But where does Strahan himself fit in? After all, he owns the official single-season mark of 22½ (2001), and there's a chance he'll keep playing beyond this season.

"I've never thought about all that as a player," Strahan said. "I just kind of went out and played. But sometimes I do look back and go, 'Wow.'"

  • related content

  • One man's Top 5 pass rushers

    Thursday November 22, 2007

    1. Lawrence TaylorOLB, Giants, 1981-93• The original "LT" was the best defensive player in NFL history. He revolutionized the outside...

  • The Giants' Top 5 in QB sacks

    Thursday November 22, 2007

    1 Michael Strahan, DE, 1993-currentHas 140½ entering Sunday's game against the Vikings.2 Lawrence Taylor, OLB, 1981-93Credited with 132½ sacks, although...

  • NFL games of the week

    Thursday November 22, 2007

    EAGLES AT PATRIOTSUpset or another embarrassment?The betting line has been as high as 23½ points this week. But safety Brian...

  • Conference Crawl Two Views On The Nfc And Afc:

    Thursday November 22, 2007

    NFC: Kinder, gentler CoughlinMuch has been made about the different approach that Giants coach Tom Coughlin is taking and whether...

  • Many teams thankful for 612 area code

    Thursday November 22, 2007

    Raiders owner Al Davis wants to win two more Super Bowls before he retires. So, let's see ... if our...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Toronto - LP: M. Stroman 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: W. Chen 5
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: E. Santana 2
Miami - WP: S. Dyson 6 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: J. Familia 5
NY Yankees - LP: S. Kelley 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Peralta 1
Cincinnati - LP: P. Villarreal 0 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: H. Rondon 1
Chicago WSox - LP: J. Petricka 3 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: W. Davis 4
Cleveland - LP: Z. McAllister 1 FINAL
Houston - WP: C. McHugh 3
Detroit - WP: K. Ryan 8 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: C. Fien 6
Los Angeles - WP: J. Wright 11 FINAL
Colorado - LP: C. Bergman 3
San Francisco - LP: R. Vogelsong 2 FINAL
Arizona - WP: W. Miley 6
Seattle - LP: H. Iwakuma 1 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: M. Shoemaker 8
Philadelphia - LP: J. Williams 0 FINAL
San Diego - WP: A. Cashner 1
Philadelphia 30 FINAL
Indianapolis 27
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How do you feel about the decision to reinstate Adrian Peterson?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close
Giants Mini-Camp Football