Is Michael Strahan a fraud?
January 7, 2002 11:59 PM   Subscribe

Is Michael Strahan a fraud? In Sunday's Packers-Giants game, QB Bret Favre basically fixed it so that he would be sacked and DE Michael Strahan would break Mark Gastineau's single-season sack record. Most sports columnists have pointed out how lame this is, with some saying the league should intervene and take it back. A similar situation occured four years ago in women's NCAA basketball where Nykesha Sales was given a "gimme" shot to break her school's scoring record.
posted by owillis (26 comments total)
If you were Favre, would you rather: a) congratulate your offensive lineman on denying the league leader even a single sack, and thus a record; or b) break the rules to help a friend playing as your opponent achieve a memorable record.

I think there is no question I would go with a. Favre's line had helped him achieve a 12-4 regular season record. I would need some good evidence to convince me that Favre played dirty. Unfortunately, Favre himself provides it:

In the closing minutes of the game, "93-blast," a run play to the left side, was sent in from the sideline. But Favre changed the call -- without telling anyone -- from a handoff to Ahman Green to a "keep-pass," where he rolls out on a bootleg to run with the ball or pass it.

"Sometimes the best keep-pass is when your line blocks the run and has no idea," Favre said.

Uh, Brett, you forgot to mention that it was the last 3 minutes of a game that your team was leading by two scores. A NAKED BOOTLEG! That's always a high risk for a turnover. No one would do that in the closing minutes with a comfortable lead. Favre is not that dumb.

Evidence suggests he took a shameful dive, and it should be investigated for league action.

Here in Japan, on the same day that Ichiro was awarded the Rookie of the Year, Tuffy Rhodes of the Kintetsu Buffaloes was denied the single-season HR record held by Sadaharu Oh when the Oh-managed Hawks refused to throw strikes to Rhodes.

Oh said it was not his doing, and despite some shaming editorials, the league did nothing. This despite the fact that he had done exactly the same thing 15 years ago to Randy Bass.

Lack of respect for the integrity of the game.
posted by planetkyoto at 1:11 AM on January 8, 2002

a) i really like how gutsy favre is and i love whe he gets in the face of the opposing team's defensive line and especially guys like warren sapp who are ~140lbs more than him. as much as a competitor as brett favre is i would think that he would take more pride in NOT allowing strahan to sack him.
b) same goes for favre's offensive line. don't they feel like they are the one's who let this 17yr old record be broken?

i didn't see this play but was watchning most of the game and favre was outrunning and outplaying strahan the whole game. from what i've read and seen there were 3min to go ib the game, greenbay was winning and it was basically over. before the "record breaking" play favre told their defensive line he was going to let it happen.

the only positive about this is that Mark "penniless" Gastineau doesn't have the record anymore but then again strahan is no angel either.

maybe at the end of next year's baseball season whoever is leading in homeruns will be given sucker pitches in the late innings so they can get 95 homeruns in a single season.
posted by suprfli at 1:21 AM on January 8, 2002

I watched the play. And Favre called the play when the game was about 35-17 Green Bay. His line blocked up the middle, and he lazily skipped to the right. Strahan came right at him, but Favre was already falling over. Hell, I'm still not even sure Strahan touched him. I was pretty sickened by it, and the announcers sounded like such shills cheering for it. I'm not a fan of either team, but I like both players for their grit. I think less of them now for it.
posted by owillis at 1:27 AM on January 8, 2002

I'm reminded of a King of the Hill episode.

Mark Gastineau must feel a lot like Bill now.
posted by monkey-mind at 2:37 AM on January 8, 2002

I think the lameness of the record-breaking sack is punishment enough -- instead of talking about Strahan's monster season, sportswriters are focusing on Favre's lack of acting ability. I wonder if Favre would have done the same thing to help an opponent break the interception record.
posted by rcade at 5:14 AM on January 8, 2002

Interesting that the previous record holder was Mark Gastineau who faced his own allegations of fraud after he took up boxing.
posted by maurice at 5:42 AM on January 8, 2002

One of the sportscasters during that game mentioned how one of the really important records Mickey Mantle had broken was on a "lollipop" which I would assume is an easily hittable ball....

I don't understand the pleasure of denying someone entry into the record books. Warren Sapp is a fool and mentions he's gonna go for the single-season record. He's double-teamed the entire season, and doesn't even try too hard.

Michael Strahan is double-teamed the entire season, but fights like crazy. Gets to 21.5 on his own, folks. Brett Favre gave him an easy play...sure. But COME ON. Strahan wasn't even BLOCKED. His O-line knew what was going on, and so did the D. They got together and made it happen for the guy. That's RESPECT.

Brett Favre has earned the right to do these kinds of things. And besides, have you never seen a QB take a slide when faced with defenders he's not going to be able to get past? I'm not saying that Favre's slide was legit, and that he wouldn't have been able to run around the guy or something...

I'm just saying that it's not that big of a deal, and that Favre is such a MAN that he could deal with having the record broken when he's the guy who could have kept it from being so.
posted by taumeson at 5:54 AM on January 8, 2002

Yes, it looked fake as a 3-dollar bill, and Favre had openly joked before the game about negotiating with Strahan over when he wanted to get the sack. But I think that Favre probably thought he was being a good sport, not some sort of accomplice to fraud. Brett is out there to have fun and I think a lot of people appreciated the generosity demonstrated by his "gimme".

When I stop and consider some of the real criminals that are playing in the NFL right now, I think this is relatively small potatos. Nothing particularly worthy of punishment.
posted by MrBaliHai at 6:10 AM on January 8, 2002

I dunno, Favre turned around and Strahan was there. Maybe he slipped. Or maybe he didn't want to get crushed. I don't think it was a setup.
posted by insomnyuk at 6:39 AM on January 8, 2002

It's shady. They obviously set it up. Favre talked about it before the game, he talked about it with Strahan before the play, he called the play to arrange it, and he pretty blatantly took a dive. Plus, they're friends, and they acted like they'd gotten away with something when the play was over.

I wouldn't say Strahan doesn't deserve the record, but the way he broke it is kind of sad and I think he could regret it later. It would be better to earn it instead of having it given to you.

And calling him a fraud is a bit much, considering that, as Pete Prisco pointedly points out, Stahan might have gotten at least sack earlier in the season that he didn't get credit for. He earned 21-1/2 sacks, and the record-breaking sack was a fraud.

But that's all would-a, should-a, could-a. The bottom line is he got the sack, so he gets the record.

And I can't beat up on Favre too much. I've competed against friends and there are times when, consciously or subconsciously, you might slack off against them (just like you also might play extra hard against them). He put personal friendship above the integrity of an essentially silly game. If a friend did that for me, though, I would be hurt because I would want to win the record fair and square, and I'd feel like my friend didn't believe I could do it on my own.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:17 AM on January 8, 2002

Semi-related matters:

Who is Jim Rome, anyway? He seems like a tool.

What's the story with how Favre's name is pronounced? I like how that guy on that sports show prounounces it "FARve."
posted by kirkaracha at 7:23 AM on January 8, 2002

Kirkaracha, your instincts are dead on. He is a tool. A big old tool.

Anyway, it looks to my eyes like they did in fact toss that last sack to Strahan, but nevertheless that is pretty cool. I'd rather the NFL were a place where, occasionally, players put their comaraderie above their thirst for bigger numbers. The Packers were in no danger of losing, but I'm sure that if they were, Favre wouldn't ever have done it. No harm, no foul.
posted by Hildago at 7:41 AM on January 8, 2002

But there is a foul. This is a league record and, as such, deserves to be legitimate. Otherwise, they might as well just have a popularity contest to determine who holds the records.

And, while similar to the Sales' incident, it's really a different thing because Sales' record was a school record, not a NCAA record - so it was really just UConn's business and the record was their's to give.

I would like to see the NFL take away the sack ruling for Strahan.
posted by perorate at 7:58 AM on January 8, 2002

It almost sounds like Romey, and others here, are blaming Strahan for this -- but Strahan just played his game. You can't blame him for sacking Favre on that play; it's not like he could have just stopped and let Favre run around or something.
posted by mattpfeff at 8:01 AM on January 8, 2002

What's the story with how Favre's name is pronounced? I like how that guy on that sports show prounounces it "FARve."

FARve is the correct pronunciation. I have no idea why. Maybe it's a French or Mississippi thing that we wouldn't understand?
posted by MrBaliHai at 8:37 AM on January 8, 2002

the reason people joke about favre's name is b/c if you've ever seen the movie somethign about mary he has a cameo in the end and ben stiller jokes about how you pronounce his name, "favrrreerer." if you've seen the movie then you get the joke and people play off that as an inside joke i guess.

also, favre did a decent acting job in somethign about mary so you would think he would've done a better job on sunday pretending he was getting sacked.
posted by suprfli at 9:00 AM on January 8, 2002

1. Jim Rome is totally annoying. He's one of those incendiary radio/TV personalities who argues just to argue. You can see he doesn't believe half of the twaddle he's saying, and just does it to rile people up. Talk radio makes me want to kill people, exactly because of disingenuous manipulators like that guy.

2. There can be no debate over whether Favre meant to give him the sack. The entire defensive line came up to thank Favre after the play. Come on.

3. Stuff like this probably happens all the time. It's not a huge deal.
posted by Kafkaesque at 9:01 AM on January 8, 2002

I don't understand the pleasure of denying someone entry into the record books. Warren Sapp is a fool and mentions he's gonna go for the single-season record. He's double-teamed the entire season, and doesn't even try too hard.

The whole idea is for your them to earn a record. If MacGwire was going for the HR record and someone tossed up an underhanded pitch, that would be pretty lame too - wouldn't it?

And yes, Jim Rome is a big giant tool. I only linked his article because I liked the XFL line.

Stuff like this probably happens all the time. It's not a huge deal.

I don't think it does. As Michael Wilbon (sportswriter for the Washington Post) pointed out yesterday on tv: wouldn't it be cheap, if when Emmitt Smith was going to break Payton's yardage record if the opposing defense just stepped back and let him through? Yes, it would be. Because he earned every yard to that point, why not those? Same with Strahan. He earned every sack but the last.
posted by owillis at 9:35 AM on January 8, 2002

1. Jim Rome launched himself into fame by goading then-Rams-QB Jim Everett into assaulting him on live TV by continuously calling him "Chrissie". He makes Geraldo look like Edward R. Murrow.

2. This maneuver was in direct response to the huge gap in esteem among NFL players between Gastineau and Strahan, and to the fact that it only took one person (Favre) to make it happen. If the record Emmitt Smith was about to beat belonged to someone like OJ or Lawrence Phillips, you can bet someone may have whiffed on an open-field tackle late in an uncontested game. And rightly so.
posted by Spork65 at 10:11 AM on January 8, 2002

This maneuver was in direct response to the huge gap in esteem among NFL players between Gastineau and Strahan

First off, I've gotta say many NFL players don't have much of a moral high ground when compared to Gastineau. Secondly, defeating the record of an unethical man in an unethical manner isn't something I think someone should be proud of.
posted by owillis at 10:28 AM on January 8, 2002

Oh please, if you were the quaterback for a team that's in the playoffs, has a legitimate shot at the Super Bowl, playing the last game of the year, and you had a 285 pound guy running at you, unblocked, that wanted to knock your liver into the Hudson, wouldn't YOU think that giving up the easy sack is a good self-preservation method??

Besides, no one complains about every other QB who takes a dive during the season, why should we have the double-standard just when a record is about to be broken?
posted by PeteyStock at 10:48 AM on January 8, 2002

I think Owillis is just venting because the Redskins suck and will continue to suck as long as The Danny is the owner. ;)
posted by terrapin at 11:12 AM on January 8, 2002

Being a die-hard Packer and Favre fan kind of makes me just the teensy bit biased, but...

1. Yes, Favre obviously just kind of slid down when he should have at least let Strahan make it look like a sack instead of Favre losing his footing and Strahan stumbling onto him, but

2. I think it was a decent sportsmanlike gesture, and that Favre is a stand-up guy for putting the more human side of the sport ahead of the almighty dollar and the scrutinized play-by-play bla bla. It was a decent thing to do for someone who's widely regarded as an excellent sacker. Kudos!
posted by evixir at 1:55 PM on January 8, 2002

I think Owillis is just venting because the Redskins suck and will continue to suck as long as The Danny is the owner

OT: I'm actually pretty pleased with The Danny, he may be young and brash but he wants to win - in a league filled with owners who just want to fill seats and get a new stadium whether the team goes 16-0 or 0-16, I'll take the guy who wants to win. His only misstep (and it was a biggie) in my eyes was the signing of The Artist Formerly Known As Primetime.
posted by owillis at 2:05 PM on January 8, 2002

FARve is the correct pronunciation. I have no idea why. Maybe it's a French or Mississippi thing that we wouldn't understand

It may be how he wants it said but it is not how you would pronounce the name in French. Stiller was closer in Something About Mary.
posted by srboisvert at 3:50 PM on January 8, 2002

He makes Geraldo look like Edward R. Murrow.

Well Rome seems to be taking a beating in this thread so I thought I would put in a good word...

Yes he is abrasive when you first listen to him (I listened to him on the radio for 2-3 years and have watched him occassionally on FoxSports, he comes across better on radio, in my opinion), but he soon wins you over with legitimately humorous takes and stellar interviews that showcase his knowledge and refreshing directness.

He has consistently tried to distance himself from the Jim "Chris" Everett ordeal, which was admittedly bush. Yet it still seems to haunt him to this day.

I just know he got me through several tough years of an on the road sales position. Yes, he comes across as a bit of a troll, but wins respect over time even if you don't always like what he has to say.
posted by tdstone at 4:13 PM on January 8, 2002

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