Former NFL defensive stars Warren Sapp and Michael Strahan were dominant players at their respective positions for years, playing at a high level every time they put on the pads. Despite their well-document individual achievements on the gridiron, the two superstars have exchanged verbal blows in the past and recently, Sapp suggested that Michael Strahan isn't worthy of ever being inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame.
Sapp, a Hall of Fame defensive tackle who enjoyed monumental success with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders during his 13-year career, commented last week that the former defensive end-turned-television personality doesn't belong in the Pro Football Hall of Fame because he wasn't as talented as some other prominent defensive ends who haven't received recognition for a spot in Canton.
"Nobody ever talks about Simeon Rice," Sapp said to UPI about his former teammate at the University of Miami and Tampa Bay. "Simeon was a better rusher than Michael Strahan any day of the week and twice on Sunday. This is a man who wants something given to him and they gave it to him. So have it."
Sapp finished his career with tremendous numbers, recording 96.5 sacks, while earning a spot on 7 Pro Bowl squads, 6 All-Pro teams and helping Tampa Bay win Super Bowl XXXVII over the Oakland Raiders. Selected to the Hall of Fame in 2013 - the first year he was eligible - Sapp was solidified not only as one of the best defensive lineman to ever play the game, but one of the greatest defensive players the league has ever seen. Not shy about voicing his opinion on Michael Strahan, Sapp also said that the reason Strahan was so successful in New York is because the Giants moved him from the left defensive end spot to the right, matching him up against a weaker offensive tackle.
Warren Sapp #99 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is pushes by Erik Williams of the Dallas Cowboys. Credit: Andy Lyons/Allsport
"Rice didn't rush the worst lineman," Sapp said. "You know, the right tackle is the worst of the five. Strahan played right end his first four years. When they were putting the label on him as a bust, they put 'B-U-S. OK, let's transition him on the other side and see if he can play in his fourth year, Sapp said. They put him at right end and he couldn't do it, so they moved him to the weak guy. One-on-one with the Eagles right tackle Jon Runyan for eight quarters every year. Sim won't ever have his name brought up, and that's a shame. He's one of the best pass rushers I've ever encountered in my life."
No matter what Sapp has to say about Michael Strahan, the former defensive end's statistics certainly put him in the conversation for a future Hall of Fame nod. In 15 professional seasons following a strong college career at Texas Southern University, Strahan's achievement piled up over the years. Selected in the second round of the 1993 NFL Draft, Strahan collected a total of 141.5 sacks throughout his career, even setting the single-season sack mark in 2001 with 22.5 quarterback takedowns. His sack total currently puts him in fifth place on the all-time sack list. Playing his way onto 7 Pro Bowl teams and 5 First-Team All-Pro squads, Strahan is easily one of the best defensive end professional football has ever seen no matter what Warren Sapp thinks.
Michael Strahan has remained quiet on the recent subject, not making an official comment since Sapp's quotes broke last week.