Best pass rusher ever? Reggie by a whisker over LT

San Francisco 49ers vs. Philadelphia Eagles at Candlestick Park Sunday, November 29, 1992. 49ers Beat Eagles 20-14. 49ers Beat Eagles 20-14. Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Reggie White (92) talks to San Francisco 49ers quarterback Steve Young (8). (AP Photo/Al Golub)

New York Giants Lawrence Taylor goes after the ball in a game verse the Los Angeles Raiders on Sunday October 4, 1992 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kevin Reece)

(Taylor photo courtesy of the New York Giants)

Talk of Fame Network

Deacon Jones invented the term “sack” and Bruce Smith collected more of them than any player in NFL history.

But there is only one choice for the best pass rusher ever – Reggie White. By the thinnest of margins.

So say the listeners and readers of the Talk of Fame Network. In our poll last week, we asked who was the greatest pass rusher of all time? We provided six options with Lawrence Taylor, Derrick Thomas and J.J. Watt joining Jones, Smith and White on the ballot. White received 30.8 percent of the vote to edge Taylor at 30.1 percent.

Jones was next at 14.7 percent, followed by Thomas at 11.5 percent, Watt at 8.3 percent and Smith at 4.5 percent.

White played strongside end in a 4-3 scheme and Taylor a weakside outside linebacker in a 3-4. Both were members of the NFL’s 75th anniversary team. White was a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and Taylor the last defensive player to win NFL MVP honors in 1986.

White ranks second all-time in sacks with 198. But that doesn’t include his first two professional seasons with the Memphis Showboats of the USFL in the mid-1980s when he collected 23 ½ sacks. That would push his unofficial count to 221 ½. He led the NFL in sacks in both 1987 (21) and 1988 (18) while with the Philadelphia Eagles. White was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1987 and again in 1998 with the Green Bay Packers when he rang up 16 sacks at the age of 37. He also won a Super Bowl with the Packers in 1996 and went to 13 Pro Bowls, a record for pass rushers. White also was a 10-time first-team All-Pro and a member of both the 1980s and 1990s NFL all-decade teams.


(Reggie White photos courtesy of the Philadelphia Eagles)

Taylor was in the first wave of edge rushers from a 3-4 front and is credited by the NFL with 132 ½ sacks. But that doesn’t include the 9 ½ he collected as a rookie in 1981 before the NFL started counting sacks. So push his career total to 142, which places him eighth on the all-time list.  Taylor went to 10 Pro Bowls in his 13 seasons and was named to the 1980s all-decade team.

Talk of Fame Network hosts Ron Borges, Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge split with their votes. Gosselin went White, Judge went Jones and Borges Taylor.

“Reggie White and Deacon Jones were disruptive forces,” Borges conceded, “but no one caused more havoc and fear than LT. Entire offenses focused on stopping that guy!”

Added Judge of his vote for Jones: “The Guy was so good he gave the sack its name. So he invented it; then he perfected it. I like that.”


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