More than 18 years after Michael Strahan broke Mark Gastineau's single-season sack record, the former Jets pass-rusher wants the world to know that he thinks the record should still belong to him.
"I just want to be recognized for the record," Gastineau told ESPN on Monday. "You wouldn't want your son getting a record like that. I don't think it's good for the NFL. It was never good for the NFL, and I'm surprised the NFL didn't step in."
Strahan's sack in question came against the Packers during the final game of the 2001 season. Sitting at 21.5 sacks, Strahan needed just one to break Gastineau's record. With the Packers up 34-25 late in the game, Strahan blew past Packers tight end Bubba Franks and had a free shot at Favre, who went down to give Strahan the single-season record.
The optics weren't great. Though Favre denied it after the game, saying he'd changed the playcall to a bootleg, it sure looked like one future Hall-of-Famer was doing a favor for another. You can make up your own mind by watching the video of the sack here.
"That was called as a running play," Franks said at the time. "I don't know if it was a bad snap or what. I was run-blocking. I didn't know it was a pass."
Gastineau had never publicly spoken about wanted to be recognized for the record but, according to ESPN, is doing so now because "his advancing age and a recent battle with colon cancer have changed his perspective on life."
"It's my record, and I want it to be known that it's my record," he said. "I'm not going to say, 'I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings.' It's my record.
"It's a good record and it took me a long time to get that," Gastineau continued. "It took a lot of work, a lot of work to get that record. So many years I worked my butt off to get it, and I finally got it, and it shouldn't have been cheapened like it was. It's like a tarnished record."
Jared Allen and Justin Houston have both since gotten to the 22-sack mark, tying Gastineau, but Strahan still sits atop the list with 22.5. Gastineau had always been gracious, but doesn't want to hold his tongue any longer.
"Being nice and being a good sport, that's good, but it's not real," Gastineau said. "In fact, I'm kind of a liar in a way. I feel like there's just something wrong."