Looking at the NFL’s sack leaders, it’s clear that some players are just better at getting to the quarterback than others. But who is the very best? Let’s take a look at the NFL’s sack leaders to find out.
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Michael Strahan is a former American football defensive end who played his entire 15-year career with the New York Giants of the National Football League (NFL). He is the NFL’s all-time sack leader with 22.5 sacks in the 2001 season.
22.5 sacks in 2001
In 2001, Michael Strahan had 22.5 sacks, which is the most in NFL history for a single season. He was a part of the New York Giants team that won the Super Bowl in that year.
18.5 sacks in 2003
In his second season as starting defensive end for the New York Giants, Michael Strahan recorded a career high 18.5 sacks. This performance tied him for the NFL sack record with Reggie White and earned him the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award.
15.5 sacks in 2005
In 2005, Michael Strahan had one of the best seasons ever by a defensive player. He set the NFL record for sacks in a season with 22.5, and helped the Giants win Super Bowl XLII.
Reggie White is a former American football player who was a defensive end in the National Football League (NFL) for 15 seasons. He played college football for the University of Tennessee, and was recognized as an All-American. He was selected in the first round of the 1985 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles, and later played for the Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers. During his career, he was a member of the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, and the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
21 sacks in 1987
Reggie White had 21 sacks in 1987, which was the most in the NFL that season. He also had 20 sacks in 1988 and 1989, making him the only player in NFL history to have 20+ sacks in three different seasons.
18 sacks in 1988
In 1988, Reggie White had 18 sacks, which is tied for the most sacks in a season in NFL history. He also had 21 tackles for loss, which is the second-most in NFL history.
15 sacks in 1989
Reggie White holds the record for the most sacks in a season with 21. He accomplished this in 1987 while playing for the Philadelphia Eagles. White also holds the record for the most sacks in a career with 198.
Bruce Smith is a former professional American football defensive end who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 19 seasons, primarily with the Buffalo Bills. He is considered one of the greatest defensive players of all time, and holds the NFL record for career sacks with 200.
19.5 sacks in 1990
In 1990, Bruce Smith had 19.5 sacks, which is the most in NFL history for a single season. He was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year and was selected to the first of his 11 Pro Bowls. Smith played his entire 19-year career with the Buffalo Bills and retired as the NFL’s all-time leader in career sacks with 200.
18 sacks in 1991
In 1991, Bruce Smith had 18 sacks, leading the league for the second time in his career. He also had career-highs in tackles (80) and forced fumbles (5) that season. Smith was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year for his performance, becoming the first player in league history to win the award multiple times. He was also named a first-team All-Pro for the sixth time in his career.
16.5 sacks in 1992
Bruce Smith is a former American football defensive end who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 19 seasons. He is considered one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history, and holds the record for most career sacks with 200. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009.
Smith was born in Norfolk, Virginia, and played college football at Virginia Tech. He was drafted by the Buffalo Bills first overall in the 1985 NFL Draft, and spent his first 15 seasons with the Bills. He then spent four seasons with the Washington Redskins, before retiring in 2003.
During his career, Smith was selected to 11 Pro Bowls and named First-team All-Pro eight times. He was also named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1987 and 1996. In his 19 NFL seasons, Smith recorded double-digit sacks 13 times, and led the league in sacks four times. He also holds the record for most sacks in a single season, with 22 in 1992.