Quarterback sack

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Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers getting sacked by Seattle defensive end Patrick Kerney.

In American football and Canadian football, a sack occurs when the quarterback (or another offensive player acting as a passer) is tackled behind the line of scrimmage before he can throw a forward pass, when the quarterback is tackled behind the line of scrimmage in the "pocket" and his intent is unclear, or when a passer runs out of bounds behind the line of scrimmage due to defensive pressure.[1] This often occurs if the opposing team's defensive line, linebackers or defensive backs are able to apply pass pressure (also called a pass rush) to quickly get past blocking players of the offensive team (the quarterback's protection), or if the quarterback is unable to find a back to hand the ball off to or an available eligible receiver (including wide receivers, running backs and tight ends) to catch the ball, allowing the defense a longer opportunity to tackle the quarterback. A quarterback that is pressured but avoids a sack can still be adversely affected by being forced to hurry.

In the National Football League (NFL), it is possible to record a sack for zero yards. The QB must pass the statistical line of scrimmage to avoid the sack. A sack is also credited when a defender causes the quarterback to fumble the ball at or behind the line of scrimmage; this is also known as a strip sack. If a passer is sacked in his own end zone, the result is a safety and the defending team is awarded two points, unless the football is fumbled and either recovered in the end zone by the defense for a touchdown or recovered by either team outside the end zone.

Rules

To be considered a sack the quarterback must intend to throw a forward pass. If the play is designed for the quarterback to rush (run) the ball, any loss is subtracted from the quarterback's rushing total (and the play is ruled a Tackle-for-loss as opposed to a sack). If the quarterback's intent is not obvious, statisticians use certain criteria, such as the offensive line blocking scheme, to decide. Unique situations where a loss reduces a quarterback's rushing total (not a sack) are "kneel downs" (used to run time off the game clock).

Rodgers sacked by Everson Griffen.

A player will receive credit for half of a sack when multiple players contribute to the sacking of a quarterback, even if more than two players contributed.

In the NFL yards lost on the play are added as negative yardage to the team's passing totals; however, the quarterback's individual passing total stats remains unchanged.[2] NCAA continues to subtract sack yardage from individual rushing totals.

History

The term "sack" was first popularized by Hall of Fame defensive end Deacon Jones in the 1960s, who felt that a sack devastated the offense in the same way that a city was devastated when it was sacked.[3]

According to former NFL coach Marv Levy, it was Washington Redskins coach George Allen who actually coined the term when referring to Dallas Cowboys quarterback Craig Morton.[4] Allen purportedly stated before a game, "Before we play those Dallas Cowboys, we’re going to take that Morton salt and pour him into a sack."

Prior to "sack", the term "dump" was often used, and the NFL's statistical office recorded all sacks under "dumping the passer".[5]

The NFL only began to keep track of times passers lost yardage in 1961[6] and no credit was given to the defensive player responsible until 1982.[7] Researcher John Turney of the Pro Football Researchers Association estimated that Jones recorded 173½ sacks in his career.[8]

Pass pressure

A quarterback under pressure.

Of all forms of defensive pressure against the opposition's passer, sacks provide the most immediate impact by ending the offensive play.[9] However, quarterbacks sometimes avoid a sack by throwing an incomplete pass or risking an interception.[10] According to Football Outsiders, a quarterback hurry is the most common form of pass pressure. In the 2009 NFL season, there were 1,106 sacks and 3,268 hurries, and a hurried quarterback generally averaged fewer yards per pass play compared to the average pass play.[9]

Records

[7]

  • NFL Super Bowl most sacks, career (sacks compiled since XVII)
  • Sacks have been officially kept as records in the NFL since 1982.

100-sack club

Since 1982, when the NFL first began keeping track of sacks, 32 players have managed to reach the 100 sack milestone.

Bold denotes an active player Elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame
Rank[17] Pos. Player Seasons by team Total sacks[18] Year of induction into
Pro Football Hall of Fame
Ref.
1 DE Bruce Smith Buffalo Bills (19851999)
Washington Redskins (20002003)
200 2009 [19]
2 DE Reggie White Philadelphia Eagles (19851992)
Green Bay Packers (19931998)
Carolina Panthers (2000)
198 2006 [20]
3 LB Kevin Greene Los Angeles Rams (19851992)
Pittsburgh Steelers (19931995)
Carolina Panthers (1996, 19981999)
San Francisco 49ers (1997)
160 2016 [21][22]
4 DE Julius Peppers Carolina Panthers (20022009)
Chicago Bears (20102013)
Green Bay Packers (20142016)
Carolina Panthers (2017–Present)
154.5 Active [23]
5 DE Chris Doleman Minnesota Vikings (19851993, 1999)
Atlanta Falcons (19941995)
San Francisco 49ers (19961998)
150.5 2012 [24]
6 DE Michael Strahan New York Giants (19932007) 141.5 2014 [21][25]
7 DE Jason Taylor Miami Dolphins (19972007, 2009, 2011)
Washington Redskins (2008)
New York Jets (2010)
139.5 2017 [26]
8 DE DeMarcus Ware Dallas Cowboys (20052013)
Denver Broncos (20142016)
138.5 Eligible in 2021 [27]
9 DT John Randle Minnesota Vikings (19902000)
Seattle Seahawks (20012003)
137.5 2010 [28]
DE Richard Dent Chicago Bears (19831993, 1995)
San Francisco 49ers (1994)
Indianapolis Colts (1996)
Philadelphia Eagles (1997)
137.5 2011 [29]
11 DE Jared Allen Kansas City Chiefs (20042007)
Minnesota Vikings (20082013)
Chicago Bears (20142015)
Carolina Panthers (2015)
136 Eligible in 2021 [30]
12 DE / OLB John Abraham New York Jets (20002005)
Atlanta Falcons (20062012)
Arizona Cardinals (20132014)
133.5 Eligible in 2020 [31]
13 LB Lawrence Taylor New York Giants (19811993) 132.5[d] 1999 [32]
DE Leslie O'Neal San Diego Chargers (19861995)
St. Louis Rams (19961997)
Kansas City Chiefs (19981999)
132.5 Z [33]
15 LB Rickey Jackson New Orleans Saints (19811993)
San Francisco 49ers (19941995)
128[e] 2010 [35]
16 LB Derrick Thomas Kansas City Chiefs (19891999) 126.5 2009 [36]
17 OLB Dwight Freeney Indianapolis Colts (20022012)
San Diego Chargers (20132014)
Arizona Cardinals (2015)
Atlanta Falcons (2016)
Seattle Seahawks (2017)
Detroit Lions (2017)
125.5 Eligible in 2022 [37]
OLB/DE Terrell Suggs Baltimore Ravens (2003–Present) 125.5 ZActive [38]
19 OLB Robert Mathis Indianapolis Colts (2003–2016) 123 Eligible in 2021 [39]
20 DE Simeon Rice Arizona Cardinals (19962000)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (20012006)
Denver Broncos (2007)
Indianapolis Colts (2007)
122 Z [40]
21 DE Clyde Simmons Philadelphia Eagles (19861993)
Arizona Cardinals (19941995)
Jacksonville Jaguars (19961997)
Cincinnati Bengals (1998)
Chicago Bears (19992000)
121.5 Z [41]
22 DE Sean Jones Los Angeles Raiders (19841987)
Houston Oilers (19881993)
Green Bay Packers (19941996)
113 Z [42]
23 DE Greg Townsend Los Angeles Raiders (19831993)
Philadelphia Eagles (1994)
Oakland Raiders (1997)
109.5 Z [43]
24 LB Pat Swilling New Orleans Saints (19861992)
Detroit Lions (19931994)
Oakland Raiders (19951998)
107.5 Z [44]
25 DE Trace Armstrong Chicago Bears (19891994)
Miami Dolphins (19952000)
Oakland Raiders (20012003)
106 Z [45]
26 DE Elvis Dumervil Denver Broncos (20062012)
Baltimore Ravens (20132016)
San Francisco 49ers (2017)
105.5 Active [46]
27 DE Neil Smith Kansas City Chiefs (19871996)
Denver Broncos (19971999)
San Diego Chargers (2000)
104.5 Z [47]
DE Kevin Carter St. Louis Rams (19952000)
Tennessee Titans (20012004)
Miami Dolphins (20052006)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (20072008)
104.5 Z [48]
29 DE Jim Jeffcoat Dallas Cowboys (19831994)
Buffalo Bills (19951997)
102.5 Z [49]
30 LB / DE Charles Haley San Francisco 49ers (19861991, 19981999)
Dallas Cowboys (19921996)
100.5 2015 [21][50]
DE William Fuller Houston Oilers (19861993)
Philadelphia Eagles (19941996)
San Diego Chargers (19971998)
100.5 Z [51]
32 LB Andre Tippett New England Patriots (19821993) 100 2009 [52]


In 2000, Jack Turney, a member of the Pro Football Researchers Association, and Nick Webster conducted extensive research to create a more complete record of sacks in the NFL. After examining the play-by-play records of every NFL team as well as game film at NFL films they compiled a list of players with 100 sacks beginning in 1960. By including the unofficial sack/dump records from 1960 to 1981, the following players also qualify as members of the 100-Sack Club.[34]

Pos. Player Seasons by team Unofficial
sack total[34]
Official sacks Year of induction into
Pro Football Hall of Fame
Ref.
DE Deacon Jones Los Angeles Rams (19611971)
San Diego Chargers (19721973)
Washington Redskins (1974)
173.5 Z 1980 [53]
DE Jack Youngblood Los Angeles Rams (19711984) 151.5 24 2001 [54]
DT Alan Page Minnesota Vikings (19671978)
Chicago Bears (19781981)
148.5 Z 1988 [55]
DE Carl Eller Minnesota Vikings (19641978)
Seattle Seahawks (1979)
133.5 Z 2004 [56]
DE / DT Coy Bacon Los Angeles Rams (19681972)
San Diego Chargers (19731975)
Cincinnati Bengals (19761977)
Washington Redskins (19781981)
130 Z Z [57]
DE Al Baker Detroit Lions (19781982)
St. Louis Cardinals (19831986)
Cleveland Browns (1987, 19891990)
Minnesota Vikings (1988)
128.5 65.5 Z [58]
DE Jim Marshall Cleveland Browns (1960)
Minnesota Vikings (19611979)
127 Z Z [59]
DE Jacob Green Seattle Seahawks (19801992)

San Francisco 49ers (1992)

116 97.5 Z [60]


Active players with 80 sacks or more (As of Week 17 of the 2017 NFL season.)

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Deacon Jones had 26 sacks in 14 games in the 1967 season, and 24 sacks in 14 games in the 1968 season. However, as sacks were not officially recorded by the NFL at that point, Michael Strahan is credited with the single-season record.
  2. ^ Al "Bubba" Baker had 23 sacks in his rookie 1978 season. However, as sacks were not officially recorded by the NFL at that point, Jevon Kearse is credited with the single-season rookie record.
  3. ^ L. C. Greenwood had 4 sacks in Super Bowl X.[16] However, as sacks were not officially recorded by the NFL at that point, Reggie White, Darnell Dockett, Kony Ealy, and Grady Jarrett are credited with the Super Bowl record for most sacks in a single game (3).
  4. ^ As a rookie in 1981, Taylor had 9½ sacks, before it became an official NFL statistic the following year. The New York Giants include his 1981 total and credit him with 142 career sacks.[8]
  5. ^ As a rookie in 1981, Jackson had 8 sacks, before it became an official NFL statistic the following year. Including his record from 1981 would give him credit for 136 career sacks.[34]

References

  1. ^ "2011 Football Statisticians Manual, p. 17" (PDF). NCAA. Retrieved October 15, 2017. 
  2. ^ http://www.nflgsis.com/gsis/documentation/stadiumguides/guide_for_statisticians.pdf
  3. ^ "Jones, NFL coiner of 'sack the quarterback,' dies at 74". CNN. June 4, 2013. Retrieved June 5, 2013. 
  4. ^ http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/06/16/levy-explains-how-deacon-jones-came-up-with-sack/
  5. ^ "Sack or Dump: To Quarterback It's All Downhill". The Milwaukee Journal. November 7, 1975. Retrieved June 5, 2013. 
  6. ^ NFL Records
  7. ^ a b NFL Records
  8. ^ a b Branch, John (November 4, 2006). "Unofficially, Sack Record Doesn't Add Up". The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 3, 2015. 
  9. ^ a b Schatz, Aaron (June 1, 2010). "Examining the art of the hurry". ESPN.com. Retrieved February 2, 2014. (subscription required)
  10. ^ Long, Howie; Czarnecki, John (2011). "Football For Dummies". John Wiley & Sons. p. 166. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  11. ^ Edholm, Eric (December 28, 2015). "J.J. Watt becomes only two-time 20-sack player, does so on safety". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved February 1, 2015. 
  12. ^ NFL Career Sacked Leaders – Pro-Football-Reference.com
  13. ^ NFL Single-Season Sacked Leaders – Pro-Football-Reference.com
  14. ^ NFL Single Game Sacked Leaders – Pro-Football-Reference.com
  15. ^ Bieler, Des (December 4, 2016). "Colin Kaepernick sets NFL record for quarterback futility in loss to Bears". The Washington Post. 
  16. ^ "Super Bowl X play-by-play". USA TODAY. January 11, 2002. Retrieved April 5, 2013. 
  17. ^ Rank is as of Week 17 of the 2017 season.
  18. ^ Total is through Week 17 of the 2017 season.
  19. ^ "Bruce Smith stats". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Reggie White stats". pro-football-reference. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  21. ^ a b c "Hall of Fame Finalists". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Kevin Greene stats". pro-football-reference. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Julius Peppers stats". nfl.com. Retrieved December 30, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Chris Doleman stats". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  25. ^ "Michael Strahan stats". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Jason Taylor stats". pro-football-reference. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  27. ^ "DeMarcus Ware stats". nfl.com. Retrieved December 30, 2014. 
  28. ^ "John Randle stats". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  29. ^ "Richard Dent stats". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  30. ^ "Jared Allen stats". nfl.com. Retrieved December 30, 2014. 
  31. ^ "John Abraham stats". nfl.com. Retrieved December 30, 2014. 
  32. ^ "Lawrence Taylor stats". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  33. ^ "Leslie O'Neal stats". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  34. ^ a b c Turney, John (June 26, 2000). "Sack Story: Setting the Record Straight on All of Those QB Takedowns". Pro Football Weekly. Retrieved November 8, 2017. 
  35. ^ "Rickey Jackson stats". pro-football-reference. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  36. ^ "Derrick Thomas stats". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  37. ^ "Dwight Freeney stats". nfl.com. Retrieved December 30, 2014. 
  38. ^ "Terrell Suggs stats". nfl.com. Retrieved December 30, 2014. 
  39. ^ "Robert Mathis stats". nfl.com. Retrieved December 30, 2014. 
  40. ^ "Simeon Rice stats". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  41. ^ "Clyde Simmons stats". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  42. ^ "Sean Jones stats". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  43. ^ "Greg Townsend stats". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  44. ^ "Pat Swilling stats". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved August 27, 2013. 
  45. ^ "Trace Armstrong stats". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  46. ^ "Elvis Dumervil stats". nfl.com. Retrieved October 1, 2017. 
  47. ^ "Neil Smith stats". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  48. ^ "Kevin Carter stats". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  49. ^ "Jim Jeffcoat stats". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  50. ^ "Charles Haley stats". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  51. ^ "William Fuller stats". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  52. ^ "Andre Tippett stats". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  53. ^ "Deacon Jones stats". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved November 8, 2017. 
  54. ^ "Jack Youngblood stats". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved November 8, 2017. 
  55. ^ "Alan Page stats". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved November 8, 2017. 
  56. ^ "Carl Eller stats". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved November 8, 2017. 
  57. ^ "Coy Bacon stats". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved November 8, 2017. 
  58. ^ "Al Baker stats". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved November 8, 2017. 
  59. ^ "Jim Marshall stats". pro-football-reference.com. Retrieved November 8, 2017. 
  60. ^ "Jacob Green". Seahawks Ring of Honor. Retrieved February 2, 2018. 

External links

  • Sack Story, an article describing the controversy over the sack record
  • Pro-football-reference.com enumeration of career sack leaders
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