Smart move, Michael Strahan.
The Giants' defensive end not only leaves the game on his terms; he leaves it at just the right time. Where Brett Favre bowed out with an interception, Strahan leaves with a Super Bowl victory.
|Strahan reacts after sacking Tom Brady in the third quarter of Super Bowl XLII. (AP)|
And like Elway, Strahan should wind up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. OK, so that's pretty much a given, right? Well, uh, no, actually, it's not the no-brainer you might assume.
I know because I know most of the people who make that decision, guys who covered this game for decades, and when I spoke to some of them Monday they admitted they were uncertain of Strahan as a first-ballot pick.
That doesn't mean he doesn't make it. He should. And, in all likelihood, he will. But it does mean he will be the subject of debate.
"If Michael Strahan is not in the Hall of Fame," said Tony Agnone, Strahan's agent, "we're all in trouble."
I hear you, Tony, except pass-rushing specialist Charles Haley isn't in the Hall of Fame. In fact, the guy can't get a sniff, and all he did was win five Super Bowl rings. Yeah, well, so what? So Haley was the key figure in a vastly underrated Dallas defense and the "elephant" linebacker Bill Walsh coveted with his 49ers.
Derrick Thomas isn't in the Hall of Fame, either. You talk about a dominant pass rusher. The guy had seven sacks in one game and seven or more seasons with 10 or more sacks, including a career-high 20 in 1990. He also set an NFL record with 45 forced fumbles.
Yet Thomas -- named to the Pro Bowl nine times and to the All-Pro team on eight occasions -- is 0-for-4 in his attempts to make the Hall. The smart money says he gets there, but the question is: When?
I guess my point is that there's a line of deserving players queued up for the Hall, and Strahan has five years before he steps into it. He might have to wait his turn, too, just as Thomas is waiting, but, eventually, I can't imagine him not getting in.
"I agree," said Ira Miller, a member of the Hall's 44-person Board of Selectors, "but I don't think he's a slam dunk. I think we all know that if you play in New York you're overglorified, and he was. But the thing that Strahan did so well was pass rush from the strong side. Not many people realize there's a big difference."
Miller makes a good point. Remember when former New England linebacker Andre Tippett came up for discussion in February? One of the arguments made by former Boston Globe writer Ron Borges was that Tippett had similar numbers to Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor, producing 100 sacks to Taylor's 115 during the 11 seasons they both started.