It might be stating the obvious, but the New York Giants struck gold when they selected defensive end Michael strahan with the 40th overall pick in the second round of the 1993 NFL Draft. As good as the Texas Southern standout may have been, it had to be hard to imagine he would go down as one of the greatest pass rushers in league history.
This summer, Strahan will be officially enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame after a 15-year career with the Giants. He ranks fifth all-time with 141 1/2 sacks and holds the single-season record with 22 1/2 sacks in 2001.
But Strahan was not an instant star. Through his first four seasons, he averaged just 4 1/2 sacks per season.
A breakout year in 1997 changed everything. The gap-toothed defensive end started all 16 games for the Giants, recording 14 sacks and earning his first of seven trips to the Pro Bowl.
Strahan recorded double-digit sack numbers in six of the final 11 seasons of his career. He led the league twice in 2001 and 2003 (with 18 1/2 sacks), cementing his place among the league’s most lethal pass rushers despite playing for a mediocre Giants club that was inconsistent throughout his duration in the NFL.
Though the final few years of his career were marred by injury, Strahan was finally able to achieve immortality as a member of the Giants’ Super Bowl XLII championship team.
The triumph placed him among the icons in New York sports. As a result, Strahan has enjoyed the perks of being a personable, entertaining celebrity by parlaying his football success to prosperity beyond the gridiron.
Today, when he’s not working the FOX NFL Sunday pre-game show set on Sundays, Strahan co-hosts Live! with Kelly and Michael, a syndicated morning talk show that has seen its ratings soar since the former Giant replaced beloved host and TV legend Regis Philbin.
All that from a second-round pick? Strahan’s resume is unquestionably impressive. The imprint he has left on the Giants is everlasting; to this day, the franchise’s desire to field talented pass rushers in his mold is present (see: Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul). His place within the Giants Ring of Honor and the Pro Football Hall of Fame will only solidify that fact.