Strahan's record sack still a sore subject

Originally Published: September 30, 2004
Associated Press

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers want to prevent Michael Strahan from getting to the quarterback on Sunday, not rehash his record-breaking sack of Brett Favre three years ago.

"We wanted to avoid that sack," right tackle Mark Tauscher said. "I know Earl (Dotson) and the offensive line as a group wanted to keep that from happening. But it happened. It's over with. It's a new year.

"He's got three sacks already this year, so he might close in on that record again, just hopefully not this week."

Strahan and the New York Giants (2-1) face Favre and the Packers (1-2) on Sunday for the first time since their infamous meeting on Jan. 6, 2002.

Favre, who had joked the previous week that he might let Strahan set the record early, rolled out on what had been called as a running play and went down at Strahan's feet. That gave Strahan 22½ sacks for the season, breaking Mark Gastineau's record of 22 set in 1984.

Favre's fall raised questions about whether he gift-wrapped the sack for his friend, and public reaction ranged from commendation to condemnation. Strahan said the resulting controversy took away a lot of the joy from breaking the record.

Favre said he never had time to contemplate the controversy because he had to prepare for the playoffs and two weeks later he was home hunting.

"I'm sure Michael was confronted with it much more than I was," Favre said. "One play doesn't define a player, doesn't define a team and what Michael Strahan did that year, as well as other years says that. He is an outstanding player."

Some people called Favre's fall his worst acting performance since his stiff cameo in the movie "There's Something About Mary."

"What the heck. We've got to have something to talk about," Favre said this week. "And that was a lot more harmless than some of the things we have to talk about these days."

Strahan's record-breaking sack was surely one of his easiest.

In the closing minutes of the game the Packers had well in hand, "93-blast," a run play to the left side, was sent in from the sideline. But Favre changed the call -- without telling anyone in the huddle -- from a handoff to Ahman Green to a "keep-pass," where he rolls out on a bootleg to run with the ball or pass it.

Tight end Bubba Franks, thinking it was a run play, didn't block Strahan, who simply fell on Favre when the quarterback tucked the ball and went down.

Offensive coordinator Tom Rossley, who said all 11 players are supposed to know whenever there's a keep-pass, didn't like talking about the sack three years ago and he's not fond of doing it today, either.

"That's long gone. I think at the time it was too much of a focus on the game that we won and we were getting ready to go into the playoffs," he said Thursday. "That's past. We want to hold him sackless Sunday, I know that."

They almost did last time, until Favre changed the call and rolled right by himself, smack into Strahan.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index