Michael Strahan has finally accomplished what every American football player dreams of accomplishing. He’s been voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The 2014 class was announced on Saturday night during the NFL Honors awards show at Radio City Music Hall.
Joining the longtime Giants defensive end in the Hall will be wide receiver Andre Reed, offensive tackle Walter Jones, linebacker Derrick Brooks, defensive back Aeneas Williams, defensive end Claude Humphrey, and punter Ray Guy.
During his 15 years in the NFL, all of which were spent with the Giants, Strahan recorded 141.5 sacks, which are good for fifth in NFL history and are tops in Giants history. The 22.5 sacks that Strahan collected in 2001 are still a single-season NFL record, and he ended his career in storybook fashion – with a Super Bowl championship in 2007.
Drafted by the Giants out of Texas Southern in 1993, Strahan began his ascent to stardom in earnest with 14.0 sacks in 1997 to help the Giants win the NFC East. He followed that up with 15.0 sacks in 1998 before setting the NFL record three seasons later.
In addition to winning Super Bowl XLII with the Giants, Strahan led the team to the 2000 NFC Championship when New York beat the Minnesota Vikings 41-0. The Giants’ defense, however, was overshadowed in the Super Bowl that year by the eventual champion Baltimore Ravens.
Despite his place among the elite pass rushers in pro football history, Strahan had to wait a year to get elected into the Hall of Fame. In 2013, his first year on the ballot, he didn’t get enough votes to qualify.
One critic who was quick to point out Strahan’s absence from the Hall of Fame was legendary defensive tackle Warren Sapp. Sapp has gone on record saying that Strahan doesn’t deserve to be part of the elite group of players. That led to a war of words in which Strahan replied, “The tiger does not pay attention to the opinion of the sheep,” and Strahan’s longtime teammate Osi Umenyiora called Sapp an idiot.
Fortunately, that mess is under the bridge now. With Strahan getting elected into the Hall of Fame, Sapp apologized for his prior comments, and the two can now coexist while enjoying American football immortality.
Now working as a daytime talk show host in addition to serving as an NFL analyst on Sundays, Strahan is endearing himself to a whole new audience. He may be more famous now than he was during his playing days, but Strahan will never be more beloved than he was when he was sacking the opposing quarterback in Giants Stadium.