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NFL - The End of the Story

By Andrew Kulp
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 incorrect.

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 the playoffs?

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.

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