Mark Gastineau wants his single-season sack record back

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Nineteen years after Packers quarterback Brett Favre gifted Giants defensive end Michael Strahan the single-season sack record, the guy who previously held it wants it back.

It’s my record, and I want it to be known that it’s my record,” former Jets pass rusher Mark Gastineau told ESPN on Monday. “I’m not going to say, ‘I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings.’ It’s my record.”

Gastineau held the record with 22.0 until Strahan capped the 2001 season with Favre going rogue, rolling out to Strahan’s side of the field, and sliding toward the player “tackled” Favre for 22.5.

Yes, it was clearly an inside job. But if the NFL didn’t wipe the sack off the books at the time, the NFL isn’t going to do it now.

“I feel like there’s just something wrong,” added Gastineau, who personally congratulated Strahan on the day the record was broken. “This is on my head all the time. It goes through my head all the time. I want to clear things up. . . . I just want to be recognized for the record. . . . I don’t think it’s good for the NFL. It was never good for the NFL, and I’m surprised the NFL didn’t step in.”

Technically, 22.0 is no longer Gastineau’s record alone. In 2011, Vikings defensive end Jared Allen racked up 22.0 sacks. Three years later, Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston matched 22.0.

Here’s hoping someone eventually gets a legitimate 23.0 sacks so that we won’t have to keep thinking about and acknowledging Strahan’s asterisk-worthy record. Because Gastineau is absolutely right. The record was flawed in 2001, and it’s still flawed now. The record will continue to be flawed until it’s no longer the record.

25 responses to “Mark Gastineau wants his single-season sack record back

  1. I had a negative reaction to this play watching it live on TV. I hope Gastineau can accept that most football fans know how that went down. It sucks when you don’t get the credit in life. But, it’s not something in this case that isn’t being overcome. Farve gave up on the play. It should not have even been a tackle, let alone a sack.

  2. Florio wouldn’t care if it weren’t for the fact that Jared Allen would share the record. It was a cheap ‘sack’ to get the record, but not as cheap as Allen was. The guy constantly went after quarterback’s knees. One day an offensive lineman did the same to him and the threw a fit that was the envy of every teenage girl. Dude was a punk on the field. Seems like he was a decent guy off the field, but one of the all time jerkoffs on it.

  3. I think it’s kind of sad when athletes crow about this kind of stuff from over 30 years ago. “Record” or not, the eras are always hard to compare. Others might nudge Mr. Gastineau’s memory about certain anabolic assistance he had in his career as well. So if you want to put an asterisk, fine, but don’t cherry pick. It goes next to his name too.

  4. Not a Jets or Giants fan but, hmmm…Is Gastineau willing to have an asterisk next to his record to or share it with Joe Klecko??….the reason he was able to get all those sacks was because Klecko was so talented that he was double as sometimes triple teamed which allowed Gastineau to get to the QB.

  5. ‘Yes, it was clearly an inside job. But if the NFL didn’t wipe the sack off the books at the time, the NFL isn’t going to do it now.”

    How EXACTLY could they have wiped it off the books even at the time? There is nothing in the NFL rule book covering intentionally allowing the opponent to do something. And that is largely by design because there are times (you’re trailing late and decide to concede a TD to get the ball back) where that is a legitimate strategy.

    Now, it wasn’t a classy move by Favre, imo, but it certainly wasn’t impermissible. And how many sacks have been setup throughout history by linemen who were mad at their QB and just decided to let the defender go? No doubt that has happened, probably with a fair degree of regularity.

  6. Well once the NFL goes to 17 (and then 18) games, you’ll surely get your wish of this record “officially” being broken, although this “stats inflation” is one reason – in addition to player safety concerns – that I am opposed to expanding the regular season.

  7. Meh. It was pretty obvious what Favre did, but it doesn’t warrant an asterisk. Just like Gastineau shouldn’t have an asterisk in the record books for being a known steroid and drug users along with beating the crap out of his girlfriend. There are plenty of PEDs still hanging around in today’s game along with dirtbags playing it. The record will be broken again eventually. Aaron Donald could do it. And Danielle Hunter and T.J. Watt haven’t even hit their peak yet.

  8. Never was his record … Players like Deacon Jones, Al Baker, Harvey Martin surpassed 22 sacks in a season long ago, in less than 16 games but the NFL just never officially recognized it.

  9. All this is just junk. Yes, the Favre “sack” was ridiculous, but are we going to go through every one of Gastineau’s 22 sacks to see which ones were justified and earned too?

    It’s pretty well known that home team statisticians inflate their star player stats regularly. I remember Ray Lewis used to get extra 1/2 sack or tackle credits, even though he was the third man in and the opponent was already on the ground when he touched him.

    Announcers have this problem too – they’re so into hyping a star defensive player, that they constantly give wrong credit to the tackle, even as you watch the replay as they’re talking…

  10. Yeah he ‘slid down’ when Strahan was already on top of him. If anyone was guilty it was #88 who failed to block him.

  11. It’s always funny to me whenever this silly story pops up every now and then.
    The truth of the matter is Brett Favre is playing chess while everyone else is playing with themselves.

    After the Packers easily dispatched the Vikings the previous week, and another 12-4 season was well within grasp, that fateful Sunday’s contest with the Giants was still in question.

    Clinging to a 9 point lead with just under three minutes to play, Favre astutely allowed himself to be sacked by Strahan.
    The ensuing celebration over the record allowed valuable seconds to tick off the clock as the Giants never called a timeout, thus thwarting any possibility of a comeback bid.
    This was the real Brett Favre, Genius, at it’s finest!

    Former players and sportswriters can argue and whine about records and statistics all day long, they can knock themselves out with all that.
    The truly great ones will just focus on what’s really important, the only thing that truly matter, wins!

  12. I appreciate the competitiveness here Mark, but just be thankful you’re not, say, Armando Galarraga, who was one out away from pitching a perfect game in 2010, had an ump blow a clear “out” call on the final base runner (and even admit it right after the game that he should have called him out!), and have it stand as a 1-hit game in the record books.

  13. No its not, its Harvey Martin with 23. He led Cowboys in sacks seven times during a nine-year period, with athe record of 23 sacks in 1977. A 14 game season. So sit down and shut up Mark unlesss you want to count the real sack record.

    His 1977 season was one of the greatest ever by an NFL player. In a 14-game season he totaled 85 tackles and a league-leading 23 sacks (more than Michael Strahan’s 22.5 record in 16 games), he was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, a consensus All-Pro selection, was a key player in the Cowboys winning Super Bowl XII, and a co-MVP of the game with Randy White.

  14. If everyone one wants to be totally honest…. Deacon Jones owns all the sack records.
    Which is even more impressive due to the fact they didn’t pass the ball as nearly as much as they do now and that he didn’t have 16 games to do it.

  15. I dont care what anyone says, Favre was just as Surprised as everyone else when Mike was right there. And he slid down because Mike is 6’7 300lbs.

  16. That’s such a myth. Favre went down to avoid getting nailed or injured. The Packers already had the game out of reach there was nothing lost from him fighting Strahan and getting creamed. Strahan already had him dead to rights, just go down. Same thing as sliding. Strahan earned that record

  17. jzorbo73 says:
    February 11, 2020 at 1:31 pm
    If everyone one wants to be totally honest…. Deacon Jones owns all the sack records.
    Which is even more impressive due to the fact they didn’t pass the ball as nearly as much as they do now and that he didn’t have 16 games to do it.

    If you REALLY want to be honest, you would have to reduce the Deacon Jones total to about 1/2 of that by today’s rules, because he “head slapped” his opponent on about 50% of them which draw penalties by today’s standards and nullified the play completely.

    Taking nothing away from him. Just pointing out how stupid it is to compare stats from eras. It rarely fits.

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