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New unofficial sack totals recommend ex-Lions participant bested Michael Strahan’s sack file in ’78 rookie marketing campaign

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For 20 years, the NFL’s all-time single-season sack file has belonged to Michael Strahan. The retired Giants legend famously led the league — and all go rushers who got here earlier than and alongside him — with 22.5 sacks in 2001. However based on new unofficial statistical data from Professional Soccer Reference, Strahan could by no means have damaged the sack file within the first place. The web site now estimates it has logged most sacks recorded from 1962 up till 1982, when the NFL started formally tabulating the statistic, and signifies former Lions Professional Bowler Al “Bubba” Baker truly hit 23 sacks throughout his 1978 Defensive Rookie of the Yr marketing campaign.

Professional Soccer Reference’s numbers, in fact, are technically unofficial. However the web site has used official NFL gamebooks, which have logged unofficial sort out totals for many years, in addition to data from stat researchers John Turney and Nick Webster, to compile sack marks all the best way again to the 1960 season:

This is not terribly completely different from presenting RBI totals for baseball gamers from earlier than 1920 (the primary season the statistic was “official”). These additions permit us to print year-by-year and profession sacks totals for not simply legends akin to Deacon Jones (173.5), Jack Youngblood (151.5), Alan Web page (148.5), Carl Eller (133.5) and Joe Greene (77.5), but additionally for much less acknowledged stars like Coy Bacon (130.5), Cedrick Hardman (122.5) and Jack Gregory (106.0) whose greatness and impression can now be extra readily quantified.

The much less acknowledged stars, it appears, would come with Baker, who went to 3 Professional Bowls and earned first-team All-Professional recognition as soon as throughout a 13-year profession with 4 completely different groups, however had by no means beforehand been acknowledged — and nonetheless, formally, shouldn’t be acknowledged — because the NFL’s all-time single-season sack chief. Baker racked up 75.5 unofficial profession sacks, and his three greatest double-digit sack seasons in Detroit — 16.0 in 1979, 18.0 in 1980 and 23.0 in 1978 — would stand because the Lions’ unofficial franchise-best marks.

In complete, Professional Soccer Reference estimates it has tracked 99% of sacks from 1970-1981, 95% from 1966-1969, 80% from 1961-1964, and about 67% from 1960.

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