NFL does not plan to make pre-1982 sacks official

Getty Images

The NFL did not make sacks an official stat for defensive players until 1982, and even though researchers have now done the work to make pre-1982 sack totals available to football fans, the league has no plans to make those sack totals official.

A source with knowledge of the league’s record keeping told PFT that the league doesn’t anticipate any changes in its sack records, which means that only sacks recorded in 1982 and later will count toward defensive players’ statistics.

The NFL does count sacks as an official quarterback statistic going back to 1963. So in the NFL Record & Fact Book under “Most times sacked, game,” the records include Bert Jones being sacked 12 times in one game in 1980 and Charley Johnson getting sacked 11 times in one game in 1964. The issue is not that the NFL doesn’t acknowledge sacks at all prior to 1982, the issue is only that the NFL counts those earlier sacks only for the quarterback getting sacked, not the defensive player doing the sacking.

Pro Football Reference estimates that it has accurately logged 99 percent of the sacks from the 1970 AFL-NFL merger through the 1981 season, as well as most of the sacks from both the AFL and the NFL in the 1960s. Among the researchers’ findings are that Detroit’s Al “Bubba” Baker should have the single-season record with 23 sacks in 1978, and that Deacon Jones led the NFL in sacks a record five times.

Perhaps some day, those accomplishments will be officially recognized by the league. But for now, the great pass rushers of the 1960s and 1970s will have to settle for unofficial recognition.

27 responses to “NFL does not plan to make pre-1982 sacks official

  1. Since Farve rolled out and slid for Strahan’s final record breaking ‘sack’, i’m ok with Al Baker getting recognized.

  2. Only laziness and allocating a small budget to the people who must do the meticulous work to build the missing stats keeps this from happening. Ridiculous.

    Deacon Jones

  3. Yet another show of stupidity courtesy of the No Fun League. Everybody knows Deacon Jones is the best pass rusher who ever lived.

  4. If the NFL truly want to completely honor the history and legacy of the league then they should be made official.

  5. I understand the reluctance to accept unsolicited third party stat evaluations however, it would not be difficult to evaluate and validate the methods used and officially accept them or if preferred, duplicate that work in-house. Either way, just because a kid doesn’t start counting his own birthday until he’s 4, doesn’t mean we don’t count his first 3 years on earth.

  6. Just as any other sport accomplishment, if the majority of fans didn’t see it on TV, …it didn’t happen!

  7. Why did it take Jack Youngblood so long to get to the Hall? A cross between the idiots at the HOF, the dolts in the east coast media and of course the Rams ownership.

  8. This is odd to me. Baseball embraces stats as far back as they can go. Some football stats are less interesting or just don’t translate well between eras because the game itself has changed so much in the last 100+ years.

    But sacks? I don’t see the reasoning.

  9. Favre announced he’s willing to take as many dives as would be needed to get Strahan the record back.

  10. This can be easily solved and the fans would really love it. Therefore the NFL will make sure to do the oppopsite and tell us to pound sand.

  11. “Most of the sacks in the 1960s” is nowhere near good enough. You could maybe argue that 99% of the post-merger (1970-1981) sacks is sufficient for compiling an accurate stat book, but that’s still over 100 sacks unaccounted for.

  12. Why wouldn’t they count? those sacks occurred in real legitimate NFL games, right?

  13. If a former Cowboy player had held the sack record Jerrah would have made sure the stat became official!

  14. So the NFL recognizes sacks prior to 1982 only as a negative for the offense but ignores it as a positive for the defense. Now they have a chance to rectify that and they’re saying nah. What is wrong with these people

  15. Back then it was easier to get sacks because offensive linemen weren’t allowed to hug and hold defenders like they are today. Im all for having all official stats but they must be in context of the rules at the time.

  16. The fact sacks are recorded under QB stats is enough evidence to calculate for crediting the defenders. Do the right thing!

  17. I agree with alot of the posters her. Deacon Jones was great but his and others in that 1970- 2982 didn’t play vs really good O lineme. Getting sacks vs 240- 260 lb lineman. The BEST DE in NFL history is Reggie White. Not sure where I read it but remember the best stat ever with White. Out of 198 sacks 124 were on 3rd or 4th down ( and vs 325 lb linemen too) his sacks came when the D needed a sack..very clutch player and he played the run very well.

  18. Why isn’t Clyde Simmons In the NFL HOF. 121 sacks isn’t good enough but, Howie Long has 50 fewer and is in?

  19. This raises the point I’ve made for years that pre-merger championships should also be a part of the record. Storied franchises that were the backbone of the NFL’s championships didn’t exist to the NFL if it happened before the merger, but they will list stats on losing records, etc.

  20. Sacks??? They still can’t even get the air pressure in the football right.

    Par for the course.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.