NFL: Brett Favre Says Michael Strahan Was a ‘Hell of a Player’

by Josh Lanier

Brett Favre has opened up about his time competing against Michael Strahan in the NFL.

Strahan is now a television host, but he became famous through football. He spent his 15-year career as a defensive end for the New York Giants, and Favre remembers his effect on the field vividly.

Memorable Moment on the Field With Strahan

Brett Favre is the most sacked quarterback in NFL history, but the one he’s most known for is one that some say wasn’t a sack at all.

The play happened on Jan. 6, 2002. The Packers were playing the Giants and New York defensive end Michael Strahan was half a sack away from tying the all-time record. With three minutes left in the game, the Packers are up 34-25. Favre takes the snap, runs a few steps, and then falls down right in front of Strahan. Strahan falls on the quarterback and claims the single-season record.

Some people believe it was a setup, believing Favre had taken a dive to give the record to his friend. Even Favre’s teammates were upset about it.

The Giants announcers couldn’t believe it. In the video of the play, one of the announcers says “Brett Favre ran right into him. Almost looked like it was a designed play. They’re buddies.”

Former Jets defensive end Mark Gastineau, who set the record of 22 sacks in a season in 1984, told ESPN earlier this year that the record should still be his. He believes the Favre sack “tarnished” it.

“It’s a good record, and it took me a long time to get that,” Gastineau said. “It took a lot of work, a lot of work to get that record. So many years I worked my butt off to get it, and I finally got it, and it shouldn’t have been cheapened like it was. It’s like a tarnished record.”

Brett Favre Clears The Air About That Strahan Sack

Eric Bolling asked Favre about the play when the former quarterback was a guest on America This Week with Eric Bolling. The host asked the Hall of Famer to clear the air, but Favre still says it wasn’t planned.

“I ran a bootleg. (Strahan had) been crying and bellyaching for a sack the whole game,” Favre said. “I’ve known Michael for a long time. Michael’s a hell of a player.

“I had an option to run or hand it off, and I ran. I just knew he was going to be there to just paste me. And he wasn’t there. … We had the game won. So the worst thing I could have done was go out of bounds, and I just ended up falling down.”

A New York Times story from 2002 tells the story a little differently, however. The paper reported then that Packers coach Mike Sherman called for a run play, but Favre changed it without telling his linemen. Favre rolls out to the left side — Strahan’s side — where the offensive line isn’t expecting the play to go. The linemen believe the play is a run toward the opposite side of the line. So Strahan is able to record what may be the easiest sack of his career and take the record.

After the game, Sherman and several Packers players were upset with their quarterback, according to the New York Times. “Strahan can get sacks on his own,” Sherman said then. ”We don’t have to give it to him.”

Favre told Bolling that it wasn’t a set up. In fact, he joked that if it had been planned, Strahan owed him.

“I never got a thank you,” Favre joked. “I never got a new car, I never got anything.”