Historical New York Giants clips is a weekly Giants 101 feature that takes a look back at vintage video of Big Blue, both in color and black and white, over the course of their illustrious history. Whether it's a win or a loss, the purpose of this feature is to help educate newer generations of Giants fans and to bring older generations of Giants fans back in time. Enjoy.
Already out of the playoff hunt, the New York Giants had little left to fight for during a week 17 matchup with the Green Bay Packers to close out the 2001-2002 NFL season. The sole highlight of the year, to that point, had come in week two against the Kansas City Chiefs – the first game after the terrorists attacks of 9-11. However, eyes would be fixed on defensive end Michael Strahan throughout the game, as he needed only a single sack to break Mark Gastineau's record of 22 set in 1984.
Leading 34-25 with 2:46 remaining in the game, quarterback Brett Favre and the Packers' offense needed only one first down to seal the game and finish the season with a 12-4 record. To that point, Strahan had been held sackless, and his final opportunity would be upcoming. So as Favre snapped the ball on first-and-10, faked a hand-off and rolled to his right, #92 bared down on him and fell on top of the sliding quarterback. There it was. 22 1/2 … the record had been broken.
Immediately, as Strahan and his teammates celebrated, the sack was called into question.
"Favre ran right into him. It almost looked like it was a designed play," the broadcaster said. "They're buddies! He just slid down in front of Strahan … you gotta be kidding."
For years following the game, Favre and teammate Mark Tauscher insisted the sack was legitimate, claiming the game was not over at that point and it would be foolish to take such a risk.
"We wanted to avoid that sack," Tauscher said in 2004. "I know Earl (Dotson) and the offensive line as a group wanted to keep that from happening. But it happened. It's over with."
At the end of the day (royalties to Antrel Rolle), the sack stood and Strahan remains the NFL's single-season sack leader with 22 1/2. Many players, namely DeMarcus Ware and Jared Allen, have come close to breaking the record, but never quite got over the hump.
In time, the record will again be broken and that's something Strahan has publicly said he's fine with. For now, #92 remains #1 with 22 1/2.
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