Today Michael Strahan will get voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This will come as no surprise to the regular readers of this NY Giants blog. Almost 5 years ago, before Strahan officially announced his retirement, we wrote about this future event:
I reread the post and savored the memories of Strahan in blue (and white and red for XLVI). Man Crush? Absolutely. But in my defense, I think I may only be the 2nd best booster of #92 in this household, as my wife probably likes Stray even more than me! 10 years ago at the First Annual Draft Day Party (do they still do those?) at Giants Stadium, my girls gleefully reported to their mother that Strahan's locker was Super Messy. I think that sealed it for Gap Tooth.
All joking aside about the locker, I am continually amazed about the shallow discussion of Strahan's football career. The sacks were the tip of the iceberg. It was all about the COMPLETE player on every single defensive snap, pass OR run. If I had to rewrite that ode to the Giants legend, I would layer in one more point alluded to in the reference to Jeff Garcia. You see, there are sack artists and there are football players. As good a football player and as vital a component as Osi Umenyiora has been to XLII and XLVI, he is literally an entire level below Strahan. Strahan maintained pocket integrity whenever he went at the QB. My memory of his pass rush mechanics does not go back to the very beginning of his career, but once he was established, I cannot recall Strahan selfishly going south and allowing the QB to saunter out of the pocket for easy pickings. He contained Garcia beautifully on that pass rush and he did it that way every time he went to the QB. The genius of Strahan was how he forced Garcia to pass in it in the first place, being ever so careful to prevent the nimble QB from even THINKING about running out of the pocket.
Today's game has the read option with Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton, RGIII.... this means pocket contain pass rushing, where your lane is protected, is more vital than ever. How do you think Strahan's skills would have fared in the latest wrinkle of the NFL?! He'd stomp you out.
A toast, NFL fans everywhere, to the best NY Giants Defensive End of All Time and Hall of Famer #92, Michael Strahan.