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‘Tears simply began working down my eyes’

Professional Soccer Reference’s deep mathematical dive has uncovered unofficial sack totals for myriad pass-rushing pillars reminiscent of Deacon Jones, Alan Pages, Jack Youngblood and on and on.

Brown’s 23 sacks, which as aforementioned unbelievably got here throughout his rookie marketing campaign of 1978 when he collected AP Defensive Rookie of the Yr, would put him — unofficially — half a sack forward of Michael Strahan’s 2001 commonplace of twenty-two.5. Although Strahan’s 22.5 sacks have all the time been acknowledged formally — and nonetheless are — as the highest single-season mark in NFL historical past, it is typically been accompanied by controversy because the record-breaker got here on a play through which many really feel then-Packers quarterback Brett Favre gifted him the highest spot.

Baker was one of many many.

“The conversations that I might have was when individuals would come as much as me and they might say, they’d discuss to me about Michael Strahan’s twenty second and a half sack. That was an issue for me, the way in which that went down. That was an issue,” mentioned Baker, who’s been a hit in his post-playing days as a restaurant proprietor in Ohio. “Trigger Michael had an ideal yr. To see that, it had nothing to do with my 23, it simply needed to do with, properly, why does he want to do this? Now it is tainted, in my view, and that bothered me.”

Sacks weren’t counted as an official statistic within the NFL previous to the 1982 season. So Strahan’s record-breaking efficiency handed up former Jets star Mark Gastineau’s 22-sack 1984 displaying, a lot to the dismay of Gastineau. However now there’s an unofficial argument with statistics to help it that Baker was one higher than Gastineau and half a sack forward of Strahan all alongside.

Meditating on his patio when he came upon about Professional Soccer Reference’s arduous analysis resulting in his all-time acknowledgement, Baker’s second of Zen instantly remodeled right into a lifetime’s price of emotion. In his profession, neglected and understated not, Baker now unofficially has 131 profession sacks in 13 seasons with the Lions, Cardinals, Browns and Vikings organizations to go along with an official Defensive Rookie of the Yr nod, three Professional Bowls and an All-Professional choice.

Maybe Professional Soccer Reference’s onerous work will rekindle Baker’s Corridor of Fame argument. Maybe it will not. However because the offseason days burn away forward of the 2021 NFL season, Baker’s spectacular 1978 season has been realized for simply how really particular it was.

“You say to your self, transfer on. And that is what I did, I simply went on with my life,” Baker mentioned.

For therefore very lengthy, recognition eluded Baker as quarterbacks most frequently couldn’t. Now he is acquired all of it these autumns later.

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