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What will be Strahan’s legacy?

June 10, 2008

I was able to catch a snippet from Michael Strahan’s presser today on ESPNEWS while home for lunch. Since the Super Bowl win, I’ve been wondering what Strahan would do. His lack of a decision immediately after the game indicated to me that there was a significant chance that Strahan would return. So I was a little taken aback when I heard late yesterday that Strahan had made his retirement official and would not be returning to the Giants.

It’d be a mistake to think that the sports-loving public has seen the last of Michael Strahan. He’ll be in a booth or at a table next season (maybe he can join the 15 people that already populate NBC and CBS’ pre-game gabfests). Funny, smart, witty, intelligent, a little sarcastic, Strahan was made for television and will no doubt be very good on television. If ESPN has the good sense to send Keyshawn and the newly-acquired Cris Carter packing, and bring in Strahan, ESPN very well could have the best pregame show in the land despite the fact that it is typically followed by bowling.

What I wonder though is what legacy Strahan leaves behind? He is certainly one of the great pass rushers of this generation and owns the NFL’s single season sack record (no thanks to pal Brett Favre who pretty much slid under him to give him the final sack he needed in Week 17). But where does he rank amongst the best pass rushers ever?

Eagles tackle Jon Runyan, who was habitually owned by Strahan during most of his years in Philadelphia, told reporters yesterday that he put Strahan “up there with Reggie,” referring to Reggie White. That comparison, though I could see how Runyan could make it since Strahan blew by him so any times, is laughable. Reggie White has 198 career sacks. Michael Strahan retired Monday with just 141.5. You can’t measure a player’s impact on the game by sacks alone but you 50 sacks is a huge statistical difference.

Strahan’s name is a brief mention in the dialogue of the game’s greatest defensive names but he doesn’t stay in that conversation for long.

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