New York Jets legend Mark Gastineau is looking to reclaim his sack record from Michael Strahan thanks to Brett Favre’s giving actions.
The New York Sack Exchange may be looking to make one more acquisition.
Legendary New York Jets defensive lineman Mark Gastineau is looking to reclaim the NFL’s single-season sack record. Gastineau was king of the quarterback takedown by earning 22 sacks in 1984. A New Yorker on the other side of the Meadowlands, Michael Strahan, broke the record during the Giants’ 2001-02 campaign.
The final portion of Strahan’s tally remains controversial. In the season finale against the Green Bay Packers, opposing quarterback Brett Favre fell down on a broken play.
His fall allowed Strahan to get on top of him and earn the record-breaker. Favre would be accused of intentionally diving to give Strahan the record.
It was later claimed that Favre changed the play at the line of scrimmage from a run to a pass.
Gastineau made his claims in a phone interview with ESPN’s Rich Cimini.
“It’s my record, and I want it to be known that it’s my record,” Gastineau said in Cimini’s report. “I’m not going to say, ‘I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings.’ It’s my record.”
Gastineau explained to Cimini that he chose to pursue the issue after a battle with colon cancer. The 63-year-old also took inspiration from Pete Rose. MLB’s all-time leader in hits has recently vamped up his campaign to have his lifetime ban from baseball rescinded.
The ban, brought upon by accusations (later confirmed by Rose himself) that he gambled on games as a player and manager, has prevented Rose from being inducted into Cooperstown’s Baseball Hall of Fame.
“It’s a good record and it took me a long time to get that. It took a lot of work, a lot of work to get that record. So many years I worked my butt off to get it, and I finally got it, and it shouldn’t have been cheapened like it was. It’s like a tarnished record.”
Gastineau’s banner year was one of two seasons in which he earned at least 20 sacks. The first came in 1981, the year before sacks became an official stat. His official tally of 74 sacks still stands as the best career haul in Jets history. Since Strahan’s questionable sack, Gastineau’s record has since been tied by Minnesota’s Jared Allen (2011) and Kansas City’s Justin Houston (2014).
The defender made it clear he has no ill will toward Strahan and Favre. Gastineau was in fact in attendance at Giants Stadium for Green Bay’s 34-25 win and congratulated Strahan afterward.
“Being nice and being a good sport, that’s good, but it’s not real. In fact, I’m kind of a liar in a way. I feel like there’s just something wrong,” Gastineau remarked. “It goes through my head all the time. I want to clear things up.”
Strahan has yet to comment on Gastineau’s new claims. In a 2013 episode of the NFL Network documentary series A Football Life, Strahan admitted that the record was “diminished” after the accusations toward Favre. He also remarked “I love Mark Gastineau. I appreciate him” in the same special.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490