For the last few years, the single-season sack record has come close to being broken. In 2011, it was Minnesota Vikings' defensive end Jared Allen who finished the year with 22 sacks — leaving him only a 1/2 a sack away from tying the record. Then, a season ago, Houston Texans' superstar J.J. Watt and San Francisco 49ers' outside linebacker Aldon Smith both had their shot at breaking the record, but fell just short. Alas, retired New York Giants' defensive end Michael Strahan and his record 22 1/2 sacks still stand tall.
However, getting close has only served to motivate Smith, who still has the record, which was set in 2001, in his sights.
"It's a goal, but I'm not punching myself in the face at the end of the season if I don't get it," Smith told NFL Network. "I'm young, and I'm learning a lot and I'm getting better. My goal is really just to get better every year. As long as I do that, if it was 14, then 19.5, at that rate it should keep going. Hopefully, I should be able to trump that record and keep going."
As it turns out, Smith has some company (see: competition) in his quest to break Strahan's record as former Giants' DE, and current Atlanta Falcons' DE, Osi Umenyiora, also has plans to break the single-season sack record.
"Yes, Mike. That sack record is going down. Care for a friendly wager?" he tweeted in February.
Is it possible someone will manage 23 sacks in a single season? Of course. It's a record that will, likely, be broken at some point. How soon that will be however, remains to be seen. But one thing is for certain: Watt, Allen, Umenyiora and Smith are all very talented pass rushers who stand as good a chance as any at setting a new single-season mark.
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