Does Michael Strahan Truly Own The NFL’s All-Time Single-Season Sack Record?

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Former New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan is now mostly known for his entertainment antics, but once upon a time, he was known for chasing quarterbacks on Sunday.

Strahan broke the NFL’s all-time single-season sack record when he totaled 22.5 sacks in 2001. He’s held the record ever since.

Now though there’s some controversy popping up about whether he is, indeed, the rightful owner of that record.

Pro Football Reference uses official NFL gamebooks, which have logged tackles for years, and stat researchers John Turney and Nick Webster to compile sack totals all the way back to the 1960 season.

The player that Pro Football Reference says is the true holder of the single-season sack record is actually Al ‘Bubba’ Baker who, as a rookie in 1978, recorded 23 sacks, half a sack better than Strahan.

Baker took home the 1978 Defensive Rookie of the Year award for his record breaking season, but his sack record was never acknowledged. The league doesn’t identify sacks prior to 1982, which is why Strahan’s mark remains the official league record.

As for Baker, he racked up 75.5 unofficial career sacks with four teams over 13 NFL seasons.

Written by Matt Loede

Matt has been a part of the Cleveland Sports landscape working in the media since 1994 when he graduated from broadcasting school. His coverage beats include the Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Cavaliers. He's written three books, and won the "2020 AP Sports Stringer Lifetime Service Award."


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