National Football League and Miami Dolphins historians, rejoice! There’s some new history to sort through over at one of football’s most in-depth databases.
The Dolphins boast two of the NFL’s most impressive sack artists in NFL history — with first ballot Hall of Famer Jason Taylor leading the way in team history with 131.0 career sacks made while playing in Miami. But with much of the Dolphins’ defensive heyday taking place before sacks became an official stat back in 1982, the “official” stat books on sacks were missing some of the most prominent names to lace up the pads for Coach Don Shula during Miami’s championship runs. That’s where the good news comes into play. Pro Football Reference, courtesy of some significant research, has been able to update the sack figures for NFL player going all the way back to 1960 — a year that is comfortably before the Dolphins were ever a team.
“The NFL has only officially counted player sacks since 1982, which means sack records and leaderboards present an incomplete history of pass rushing. In many cases we accept these holes in the official record and move on. After all, we don’t know how many rushing yards Jim Thorpe had, passing yards Paddy Driscoll had or even how many blocked shots Wilt Chamberlain had. Heck, we don’t even “officially” know how many tackles anyone had in 2020 (or any other season). However, thanks to Official Gamebooks, ‘unofficial’ tackle totals get published in many places (including here). In the case of sacks, thanks to decades of research by John Turney and Nick Webster, we have a very thorough accounting of the statistic all the way back to 1960. Given that accounting for these ‘unofficial’ statistics allows us to paint a richer picture of the history of the game, we think it is a no-brainer to present them on Pro Football Reference, allowing fans to gain a deeper appreciation of some of football’s biggest stars in the 1960s and 1970s.” — Mike Lynch, Pro Football Reference
So with the books “unofficially” updated over at Pro Football Reference, what does the Miami Dolphins’ all-time sack leaderboard look like? Here’s the top-20; with nearly half (8) of them enjoying a new boost in their career totals courtesy of Pro Football Reference’s database update:
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com