Who is the greatest defensive end since 2000? That’s the question the Player 2K series answered this week. The two players primarily discussed are Julius Peppers and Michael Strahan.
There are many ways to judge a defensive lineman: How many tackles for a loss he has, sacks, or even how many points his team allows. Since the defensive line often occupies blockers for linebackers to make plays, sometimes it’s hard to properly gauge the effectiveness of a lineman.
But for 4-3 defensive ends like Peppers and Strahan, sacks might be the most effective measure of their play. In the 4-3 scheme, most teams rely on their ends to generate pressure, unlike the 3-4, which requires outside linebackers to get sacks. With that in mind, Strahan might have done his job better than any defensive end in history back in 2001, notching an NFL-record 22.5 sacks (with a small assist from Brett Favre).
Below are the highest single-season sack totals since the league began officially tracking the stat in 1982.
– Elliot Harrison