Throughout their history, New York Giants have had several Hall of Fame defensive players. Traditionally, the Giants have bestowed many honors upon the best defensive player or players from their most successful teams. Hall of Fame defensive players Emlen Tunnell, Andy Robustelli, Sam Huff, Lawrence Taylor, Harry Carson, and Michael Strahan have been inducted into the Giants Ring of Honor.
The Giants have inducted plenty of former greats into their Ring of Honor, but they have not retired any numbers in recent years. The last Giant to have his jersey retired was quarterback Phil Simms, who retired in 1993. Interestingly, it is true that Tunnell, Robustelli, Huff, and Carson have not had their jerseys retired. All four players played in starring roles for defenses that won a Super Bowl or NFL Championship. Even today, all of those names are household names.
Since their retirements, there have been several Giants who have worn the numbers of Tunnell, Robustelli, Huff, and Carson. The debate for whether the Giants should retire the numbers of those four players is a debate for another day. A franchise cannot retire too many numbers, since there are only 99 of them to choose from. However, there is a case to be made for any or all of those players.
That brings us to the case of Strahan. The Hall of Fame defensive end racked up some impressive statistics in his 15 NFL seasons. Strahan is the Giants all-time sacks leader and ranks sixth in NFL history with 141.5 sacks. He led the league in sacks twice, and he still holds the NFL record for sacks in a single season. His record (22.5 sacks in 2001) is considered by some to be illegitimate because Brett Favre took a dive and gave Strahan the sack that he needed to break the record. That argument makes no sense. Are Peyton Manning‘s passing records illegitimate because his receivers took some short passes for long touchdowns? Are Emmitt Smith‘s rushing records illegitimate because he ran behind some great offensive lines? Of course not. Like it or not, Strahan owns the single-season sack record. To quote Strahan, “If you don’t like (the sack record), then break it.”
In Addition to boasting impressive statistics, Strahan has some impressive accolades. He made seven Pro Bowls, was named First-Team All-Pro four times, was named 2001 AP Defensive Player of the Year, and was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame All-Decade team for the 2000s. He was one of the premier pass-rushers of his generation, and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his second year of eligibility. Strahan’s final game was a memorable one, as he and his defense harassed Tom Brady and led the Giants to victory in Super Bowl XLII.
Strahan was the quintessential Giant. He spent his entire 15-year career as a member of the Giants. Strahan is a busy man these days, but he has always made time to come back to the Meadowlands for special events. For example, in 2016, Strahan returned to give Justin Tuck his jacket when Tuck was inducted into the Giants Ring of Honor. In 2017, he returned to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Giants’ victory in Super Bowl XLII.
No Giants player has worn the No. 92 jersey since Strahan retired. There is a reason for that. No one wants to be the one to follow a legend.
Strahan’s No. 92 has already been unofficially retired. It is time for the Giants to make it official. In 2019, the Giants should officially retire Strahan’s number.
If you would like to receive an email each time a new New York Giants article is published, fill out our email notification form.