Michael Strahan’s jersey retirement ceremony will occur this Sunday afternoon.
The relentless ability to reach the quarterback; the witty sense of humor; the infamous gap in his teeth.
Michael Strahan solidified himself as one of the more memorable players in the history of the Giants franchise in more ways than one. And on Sunday, nearly 14 years following his last game with the team (Super Bowl 42), the Giants will finally be retiring his jersey. The ceremony will occur at halftime of Big Blue’s matchup with the Eagles, who Strahan competed against various times.
It’s a surprise it took this long for the team to retire the No. 92 uniform, but it’s not a surprise whatsoever that it’s occurring, period. You cannot write the book about this organization and its history without including the various unforgettable moments involving the superstar defensive end.
What are some of those unforgettable moments, you ask?
Single-season record-setting sack vs. Green Bay
In 2001, Strahan recorded a whopping 22.5 sacks. It was the most single-season sacks from one player in NFL history and an official mark that still stands today.
The record-setting sack came against the Packers in Week 17 of that year, but it came with some controversy.
Many believe Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre, who Strahan sacked in order to achieve the record, actually helped Michael on the play. The belief is that Favre purposely fell to the ground when Strahan pursued him instead of attempting to avoid the oncoming pass rusher.
Regardless, a record is a record, and thanks to that sack (or “sack,” as some would put it), Strahan was part of a historic moment that’s still relevant 20 years later.
Franchise record-setting sack vs. Philly
Strahan also holds the record for the most career sacks in Giants franchise history.
He set the mark in his final year in the league — 2007 — against, ironically enough, the Philadelphia Eagles.
It was a Sunday night game at the old Giants Stadium when Strahan sacked longtime Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. The sack gave him 133.5 for his career and put him ahead of Lawrence Taylor on the all-time Giants sack list.
It was a special moment in East Rutherford. However, it was sort of overshadowed by Osi Umenyiora’s six sacks that night (the Giants got to McNabb a whopping 12 times in the victory).
Winning 2001 Defensive Player of the Year
Strahan’s 2001 sack record solidified himself as the top defensive player in the NFL that season. The then-veteran earned the 2001 Defensive Player of the Year Award for his efforts — it was the only time he won the prestigious honor throughout his long career.
Not only did Michael lead the league in sacks that year with 22.5, but he also set league-high marks in tackles for loss (24) and forced fumbles (six).
From a production standpoint, it was Strahan’s best season of his career and one of the better overall seasons from an edge rusher in NFL history.
The Hall of Fame Induction
The 2001 Defensive Player of the Year, six All-Pro selections, seven Pro Bowl nods, and the sack record led to Strahan earning induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014.
This occurred after Strahan failed to earn induction in his first year of eligibility — the fact he wasn’t a first-ballot Hall of Famer is still something that likely bothers many fans of the defensive end.
Lifting the Lombardi
Strahan’s final moment throughout his playing career was likely his favorite — he hoisted the Lombardi Trophy following the Giants’ Super Bowl 42 win over New England.
It took Strahan 15 years to finally earn a Super Bowl ring — he came close in January 2001 when the Giants lost to the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl 35.
During Super Bowl 42, Strahan racked up three combined tackles, two quarterback hits, and one sack — the final sack of his NFL career.
Thanks to the defensive efforts (the Giants allowed the Patriots to score just 14 points) and Eli Manning‘s late-game heroics, New York earned its third Super Bowl title.
A few months following the win, Strahan called it quits, retiring as one of the top players in the history of this storied franchise.
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