Historically Speaking…



This week, in MMQB, His Majesty decides to make a direct comparison between former Minnesota, Atlanta and San Francisco defensive end Chris Doleman (up for Hall of Fame consideration this year) and recently retired New York Giant defensive end Michael Strahan:

b. Defensive end Chris Doleman. Doesn’t bode well for Michael Strahan. Look at their numbers. They’re twins, and you could argue that minus the Super Bowl ring, they’re historically the same.

The comparison works quite well—Doleman had nine more career sacks (150.5 to 141.5) in 16 more games than Strahan—until His Majesty decides to proclaim that the two players are “historically the same.” Historically, they are not the same, because Strahan holds the record for the most sacks (22.5) in a single season. To use an example from a different sport, despite the fact that Roger Maris and Dante Bichette have practically identical career power numbers (275 homeruns to 274), there is no questioning Maris’ greater historical significance—because he broke Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record. Strahan’s career statistics are nearly identical to Doleman’s but his single-season sack record (a record unlikely to be broken), as opposed to Doleman’s zero all-time records, makes Strahan, not necessarily a better player, but a more historically significant figure.


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