When describing a football player, words like rough, violent and destructive come to mind. A football player is a scary machine, a big athletic man expected to hit whomever their opponent is. But Michael Strahan was a different kind of football player. He was diverse and could do anything put in front of him.
His evolution within the sports and entertainment world was and still is incredible, and one that should be recognized.
Strahan is most well-known as a professional football player for the New York Giants in the NFL for 14 seasons as a defensive end. But before he could wreck havoc on Sundays, he did it on Saturdays during his college career.
He followed in his uncle’s footsteps when it came to college football, playing the same position (defensive end) at the same school (Texas Southern University). Developing into an incredible athlete throughout his time on campus, Strahan became an NFL prospect by his junior year.
As a senior, he earned All-American first team honors by The Poor Man’s Guide to the NFL Draft, The Sheridan Network, Edd Hayes Black College Sports Report and the Associated Press. Strahan also set records with 41.5 career sacks at TSU, also recording 62 tackles to go along with a school record of 19 quarterback sacks and 32 tackles totaling 142 yards in losses.
Strahan’s college career got him to the next level in 1993 when the Giants drafted him. Early on in his career, injuries limited him to just nine games, including sitting out for two playoff games.
His performance on the football field was unimpressive until 1997. He enjoyed a breakout year by recording 14 sacks, was voted to his first Pro Bowl and was named a First-Team All Pro by the Associated Press. This success continued in 1998 when he recorded 15 sacks, earning the same postseason accolades as the year before.
Strahan become one of the league’s most dominant defensive ends between 1997 and 2005. He played in Super Bowl XXXV with New York, was named the 2001 NFL Defensive Player of the Year and was a two-time NFC Defensive Player of the Year (’01 and ’03).He tied Giants great Lawrence Taylor for most career sacks (132.5) on October 23, 2006 when he brought down Drew Bledsoe of the Dallas Cowboys. Some thought this would be his last season, but it was cut short upon suffering a Lisfranc fracture.
He came back for one more season, and it was the best one he could’ve experienced with New York. He became the franchise sack leader on September 30, 2007 after sacking Donovan McNabb of the Philadelphia Eagles, but that wasn’t his most memorable moment of the year. He recorded two tackles and one sack in Super Bowl XLII, helping the Giants beat the undefeated New England Patriots to finish his career as a champion.
On June 9, 2008 Strahan announced his retirement from the NFL. When going through the list of his accomplishments during his NFL career, he should be very proud, as should the fans. He retired with a 2008 Super Bowl title, was named to the Pro Bowl roster seven times, had 141.5 career sacks, 854 career tackles, four interceptions, 24 forced fumbles and three total touchdowns in 200 games over a 15-year career.
One of the most iconic moments that I can remember in Strahan’s career was him getting inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. While his first year of eligibility came in 2013, he wasn’t voted in. But on November 3, 2014, Strahan was presented his Hall of Fame ring at halftime of the game between the New York Giants and Indianapolis Colts.
Even though Strahan doesn’t play football anymore, he does a great job at making sure it is still a part of his life. He officially joined the Fox NFL Sunday pregame show with Curt Menefee, Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and Jimmie Johnson immediately after his retirement in 2008.
If you want to watch Strahan in action now, it is very different from watching him play in a football game. He is now a co-host of Live! With Kelly and Michael, and I think it was one of the most surprising decisions for the show.
When he first appeared as a co-host with Kelly Ripa, it was hard to believe that Strahan was chosen out of 20 guest appearances over two years of people auditioning for the spot. It’s not often you find a person with such a great personality, humor and chemistry with the other co-host. September 4, 2012 was his first day as the official co-host and ratings instantly increased.
Just when you think Strahan could not do any more, in 2014 he announced he would be appearing on ABC’s Good Morning America part time, as well as making an appearance in the film Magic Mike XXL set to come out in July 2015, along with being named one of People’s sexiest men alive in 2014.
It was unreal watching someone that was so tough on the football field come onto a talk show and be as funny and down-to-earth as Strahan is. He’s the type of person that can take on any challenge, and this is another one of his successes. Not only is he career driven, but he is a family man as well.
He takes on all these jobs and flies across the country to complete them. As a fan, I could not be happier seeing him expand his career path to different things while incorporating the game he loves in his life. He’s an inspiration and a role model for many and proved that the stereotype of a football player is not always correct.
*Section Photo credit to hbcusports.com and Featured Photo (above) credit to money.cnn.com.