Statistical record rulesTo 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 "Quarterback kneel, kneel downs" (used to run time off the game clock). 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 National Football League (NFL), it is possible to record a sack for zero yards. The National Football League, NFL subtract yards lost due to sacks from teams' passing totals (though the quarterback's individual passing total stats remain unchanged), while the college football, NCAA subtracts sack yardage from individual rushing totals.
HistoryThe term "sack" was first popularized in the 1960s by Pro Football Hall of Fame, Hall of Fame defensive end Deacon Jones, who felt that a quarterback being sacked devastated the offense in the same way that a city was devastated when it was sacked. According to former NFL coach Marv Levy, Washington Redskins coach George Allen (American football coach), George Allen may have coined the term when referring to Dallas Cowboys quarterback Craig Morton when he 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, as the NFL's statistical office recorded all sacks under "dumping the passer". The NFL only began to keep track of times passers lost yardage in 1961 and no credit was given to the defensive player responsible until 1982.NFL Records
Pass pressureOf all forms of defensive pressure against the opposition's passer, sacks provide the most immediate impact by ending the offensive play. However, quarterbacks sometimes avoid a sack by throwing an incomplete pass or risking an interception. 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.
NFL recordsThese records are from 1982 onwards, the year the NFL started officially recording sacks. * NFL single-season sacks: 22.5, Michael Strahan, 2001 * NFL career sacks: 200, Bruce Smith (defensive end), Bruce Smith, 1985–2003 * NFL single-game sacks: 7, Derrick Thomas, November 11, 1990 vs. Seattle Seahawks * NFL sacks, rookie season: 14.5, Jevon Kearse, 1999 * NFL seasons with 20.5 or more sacks: 2, J. J. Watt, 2012 & 2014 * NFL most consecutive games recording a sack (team): 69, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay, 1999–2003 * NFL career sacks taken: 527, Tom Brady, 2000–2021 * NFL single-season sacks taken: 76, David Carr (American football), David Carr, 2002 * NFL game sacks taken: 12, Warren Moon, September 29, 1985 and Donovan McNabb, September 30, 2007
See also* List of National Football League annual sacks leaders * List of National Football League career sacks leaders * ''The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game'' – non-fiction book by Michael Lewis