Dan Graziano | ESPN.com
NEW YORK — Warren Sapp doesn’t think Michael Strahan belongs in the Hall of Fame. Strahan, who has achieved fame on a level few former NFL stars ever have since his retirement from football, says he doesn’t care.
“Football was part of my life, but it is not my entire life,” said the former New York Giants defensive end, who’s one of 15 finalists for Saturday’s Pro Football Hall of Fame election. “So for some guys, maybe that’s their entire life and that’s all they have to hold onto. Playing football, sacking quarterbacks, that was part of my life, and I did it and I moved on. The tiger does not pay attention to the opinion of the sheep.”
Sapp, the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass-rusher, was elected to the Hall of Fame last year. But he has been openly critical of Strahan’s candidacy for reasons that Strahan says elude him. Sapp spoke at Super Bowl Media Day in Newark on Tuesday and reiterated his case against Strahan’s election.
“I don’t think his résumé stacks up,” Sapp said, listing Tony Dungy, Walter Jones, Marvin Harrison and Derrick Brooks as more deserving candidates on this year’s ballot. “Four straight Pro Bowls and a mythical sack record. When you really measure it up, he comes up short, except you all are giving it to him.”
Sapp has been critical of Strahan’s single-season sack record of 22.5 since Strahan set it in 2001 on a play on which Packers quarterback Brett Favre appeared to take a dive. Strahan hasn’t always fired back, but he offered plenty of response Tuesday to Sapp’s assertion that his Hall of Fame candidacy is propped up by the media.
“I am. I’m all hype,” Strahan said. “I lasted 15 years, all hype. I had 141.5 career sacks, all hype. I was always a starter. I played left end, and that made me get sacks. My coaches kept putting me in the game because they felt it gave us the best chance to win, and that was all hype.”
Strahan has continually insisted that he’s not giving much thought to Saturday’s election and that he wasn’t crushed last year when he failed to make it into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. He points out that he’s extremely busy co-hosting his ABC morning talk show, “Live” with Kelly Ripa and Fox Sports’ Sunday NFL pregame show. But he did allow that, with the Super Bowl being played in New Jersey and co-hosted by New York this year, an election this time around would be extra-special.
“If you make it in anywhere, it doesn’t matter,” Strahan said. “To be honest with you, I get reminded of it by everybody else. I don’t think about it. If I make it in, that would be awesome. If I make it in in New York, that would be double-incredible.”
As for his opinion of Sapp, the very first thing Strahan said when asked about his comments Tuesday likely speaks the loudest.
“I’m glad he doesn’t have a vote,” Strahan said.
- Joined ESPN in 2011
- New Jersey native and author of two published novels