From the time he walked off the field as a champion in Super Bowl XLII and into retirement, the No. 92 on the New York Giants has been reserved exclusively for Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end and franchise legend Michael Strahan. But somehow, nearly 15 years have passed without Strahan's number officially being taken out of the rotation and put in the rafters of MetLife Stadium for good.
That changes on Sunday, as the Giants will officially retire Strahan's No. 92 at halftime of their Week 12 game against the Philadelphia Eagles. It's an honor that Strahan, the Giants' all-time leader in sacks, iis looking forward to. But all the same, he has openly wondered why it took the Giants so long for them to officially retire his number.
Here's what Strahan said, via the Associated Press:
"I'll be honest with you, I would have honestly expected it a long time ago. I've been in the NFL Hall of Fame for seven years now. All of the things that I did with the Giants, I would have expected it a little bit sooner, but it's still an honor. Things come in the time in which they're meant to come and not at the time in which you want them to come sometimes. That's the way I'm looking at it. I don't want it to look as if I'm ungrateful or I'm not honored by it, because I truly am. I probably would've expected it to come a little bit sooner than it did, yes."
While the Giants had never officially retired Strahan's number until now, it had been effectively retired and off-limits to players since his retirement at the end of the 2007 season. Defensive lineman Leonard Williams revealed last week that he had wanted No. 92 when he joined the Giants, but chose No. 99 after his request was denied by the team.
The Giants could certainly use Strahan's "stomp you out" energy against the Eagles. They enter the game against one of their most-hated rival at 3-7 and coming off a short week that saw them fire offensive coordinator Jason Garrett after a humiliating offensive output against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Although the Giants won their last games against Philadelphia, the Eagles have spent the last decade torturing Big Blue with 12 wins in their last 14 meetings. Things were different in Strahan's era, as he reveled in being an Eagles Killer -- 21.5 of Strahan's 141.5 career sacks came against Philadelphia, more than any other team in the NFL.
"I always loved playing the Philadelphia Eagles," Strahan said. "They were always good for a few sacks a game."
Strahan will become the 14th player in Giants history to have his number retired and the second this season. Earlier this year, the Giants retired quarterback Eli Manning's No. 10 at halftime of their Week 3 game against the Atlanta Falcons.