NFL.com has a debate up today about who the better Defensive End is/was — Julius Peppers or Michael Strahan:
You’d better believe Michael Strahan is the better pass rusher. One of the greatest of all time, helped his defenses impose their will on the game, would take over the game, and would basically get BETTER as the game went on.
Tuck and Umenyiora are incredible, don’t get me wrong – but Michael Strahan is irreplaceable. Here’s the thing about Michael Strahan – he made everyone on that defensive front better because he held you accountable on the field, off the field, he made you want to be a better player. He complimented Osi Umenyiora before Justin Tuck was a starter. He taught Justin Tuck by example how to be a pass rusher that clamps down on the run. Sack machine doesn’t begin to describe the legacy of Michael Strahan… one of the best overall DE’s of all time.
As the comparisons go — it’s close statistically. But when is the last time you’ve heard Strahan being criticized for taking a play off? Never. Julius Peppers? I’m sorry but that’s the guy’s #1 point against him – he plays when he wants to play. He’s dominant, don’t get me wrong, but nowhere near the level that Michael Strahan had accomplished in his career.
For me, it’s completely clear that Strahan wins this battle handily, and his legacy is one that will bring joy to Giants fans everywhere for a long time to come. With good reason — here’s his last career sack in probably the most fitting end to a career one could have: