Tuesday, January 8th, 2002
The most controversial story of Week 17 had nothing to do with the playoffs.
Nor was the biggest headline related to the firings of some of the league's
top coaches. Those who thought the resignation of one of college football's
best coaches was the biggest news of the end of the season were also
Actually, with all that happened in the final week of the season, it's hard
to believe that one play with less than three minutes to go in a game that
was already over would have made such a big deal. However, that is the case.
Even as the Jets secured their playoff spot in dramatic fashion, even though
Emmitt Smith passed Barry Sanders in career rushing yards, and even with
Dennis Green's hasty removal as Vikings head coach, one insignificant play
made the biggest headline of all.
Michael Strahan's record-breaking sack seemed to have everybody in an uproar.
Can somebody please tell me what the problem is exactly? Michael Strahan
needed one sack to break the record, and he got it. It doesn't matter how
he recorded the sack, all he had to do was make a play on the quarterback
behind the line of scrimmage.
Packers quarterback Brett Favre called an audible before the play. He rolled
out in what was supposed to be a running play, and all he saw was a big blue
shirt with the number 92 on it. There is less than three minutes on the clock
and the Giants have already lost the game. Why throw it somewhere and risk
an interception, and worse yet, why take that hit and risk an injury before
Did Brett Favre give Michael Strahan that sack? There is no question about
it, Favre took the fall. But he didn't necessarily take that fall just so
Strahan's name would erase another. Brett Favre made the right call by avoiding
what could have been a disastrous hit.
However, let's assume for a moment that Brett Favre didn't really call an
audible. Even if Favre gave Michael Strahan that sack, who honestly cares?
Strahan had one hell of a season. That additional sack didn't change anything
but a record. It didn't change the fact that the Giants didn't make the playoffs.
If he would not have picked up the final sack, it wouldn't have meant that
he did not have a career year.
The idea around the NFL seems to be that Strahan didn't deserve the record.
However, Strahan didn't ask Brett to call a naked bootleg. He didn't ask
Bubba Franks to miss the block. Strahan simply did his job when he fell onto
the quarterback to stop the play. All that sack actually meant was that a
whistle needed to be blown and it was time for the game to move on.
It's time for everyone to move on from this story. The record belongs to
Strahan. All he did was make the game move on.