Jets legend calls Michael Strahan's NFL single-season sack record a sham, says it should belong to him

For nearly two decades, the NFL's single-season sack record belonged to former Jets defensive end Mark Gastineau. However, that all changed in 2001, when Michael Strahan topped Gastineau's mark after a sack on Brett Favre in the Giants regular season finale that, to this day, is stilled viewed as controversial. 

The sack on Favre gave Strahan 22.5 for the season, which topped Gastineau's 1984 record-setting total of 22.0. Apparently, Gastineau isn't happy about the fact that Strahan set the record with what he believes was a sham sack, and after 19 years of silence, the former Jets legend is speaking out. 

During an interview with ESPN this week, Gastineau said he wants the record back. 

"It's my record, and I want it to be known that it's my record," Gastineau said. "I'm not going to say, 'I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings.' It's my record."

The 63-year-old, who spent 10 seasons with the Jets, said that he thinks about the record constantly.  

"This is on my head all the time," Gastineau said. "It goes through my head all the time. I want to clear things up."

Strahan's record-setting sack in 2001 came in the Giants regular season finale, and it definitely came with some controversy. At the time, many people felt that Favre took a flop so that Strahan could set the record. The Packers quarterback rolled out on the play and then fell down right in front of Strahan. 

Although the sack looks somewhat legitimate from that angle, the problem with the sack is that Favre went rogue on the play. According to a 2002 story from the New York Times, Packers coach Mike Sherman called for a running play, but Favre changed it at the last second "without telling his offensive line," which meant Strahan was going to get the easiest sack of his life. At the time the sack happened, there was just under three minutes left to play and the Packers were up two scores (34-25). 

Favre's decision cost Gastineau the record, a record the former Jets player now views as "tarnished."

"It's a good record and it took me a long time to get that," Gastineau said. "It took a lot of work, a lot of work to get that record. So many years I worked my butt off to get it, and I finally got it, and it shouldn't have been cheapened like it was. It's like a tarnished record."

Gastineau would now like some credit for the record, but for that to happen, the NFL would either have to put an asterisk next to Strahan's name in the record book or take the sack away, which probably isn't going to happen.  

"I just want to be recognized for the record," Gastineau said. "You wouldn't want your son getting a record like that. I don't think it's good for the NFL. It was never good for the NFL, and I'm surprised the NFL didn't step in."

Even if the NFL did step in and give the record back to Gastineau, he'd actually be sharing it with two other players. Gastineau's mark of 22 sacks has been tied by both Jared Allen (2011) and Justin Houston (2014), so there would be three guys tied for the single-season record if the NFL ever decided to subtract a sack from Strahan's 2001 total. 

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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