New York Giants: Hall of Famer Michael Strahan
By Michael Stewart
In the 1993 NFL draft, the New York Giants didn’t have a 1st round selection and had to wait until the 2nd round to make their first selection. In the Giants case, good things come to those who wait as the Giants selected DE Michael Strahan (Texas Southern) 40th overall. Strahan didn’t take the NFL by storm immediately as he only played 9 games in his rookie season (due to injuries); however; in 1997 Strahan had a breakout year recording 14 sacks.
He was voted into his first Pro Bowl and was also named First Team All-Pro by the Associated Press. In 1998, Strahan continued his success, racking up 15 sacks and being voted into his second Pro-Bowl and All-Pro team.
Few defensive ends in the NFL were more dominant than Strahan from 1997 to 2005. He was named the 2001 NFL Defensive Player of the Year and was a two-time NFC Defensive Player of the Year (in 2001 and 2003). Throughout the greater part of the 2004 season, Strahan was injured with a torn pectoral muscle, which limited him to only 4 sacks. He rebounded in 2005, returning to the Pro Bowl, along with Osi Umenyiora the Giants had arguably the best set of DE in the league as they combined for 26 sacks that year. Not only was Strahan dominated as a pass rusher, but he was outstanding against the run; which made him the most complete DE in the league at that time.
Strahan nearly retired after the 2006 season as he didn’t report to Giants training camp and missed the entire preseason. Fortunately for him and the Giants, both parties agreed to a one year deal. Strahan’s final season as a Giant was memorable as Strahan surpassed Lawrence Taylor as the Giants all-time sack leader and the Giants had a magical run in the playoffs that eventual resulted in a Super Bowl victory over the undefeated New England Patriots. Winning a Super Bowl ring was the icing on the cake for Strahan and solidified his place in Giants history and also a shine in Canton.
Strahan finished his career with 141.5 career sacks (5th all-time when he retired) 854 tackles, 4 career INTS, 24 forced fumbles and 3 career TDS in a total of 200 games that spanned through 15 years (all with the Giants). Also, Strahan was a 7x Pro Bowler, a 4x 1st team All-Pro, 2x second team All-Pro, 2x defensive player of the year and a member of 2000s all decade team. However; if you ask Strahan what he cherishes the most in his 15 year career, it would be winning a Super Bowl.