NEW ORLEANS -- Former Giants defensive end Michael Strahan has the credentials to wind up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but it will have to wait until at least next year. Despite finishing his career with a franchise-record 141 1/2 sacks -- the fifth-highest total in NFL history -- and the NFL single-season sack mark, and despite being considered one of the best all-around defensive ends of his era, Strahan missed out on the final cut of Hall of Fame honorees.
Strahan, who won a Super Bowl title, was one of 10 finalists but did not make it to the list of five candidates who eventually made it in. That list included former Giants coach Bill Parcells, who made the final 10 last year but not the final five.
"I'm honored to be in the top 10, and I look at it like I'll get in eventually," Strahan said in an interview with Newsday after the voting. "I'm blessed. I have so many things going on right now, so this is just a delayed blessing. It'll eventually happen. I don't define myself by what I do, so if I don't get in, I'm not going to yell, scream and pout. It wasn't meant to be."
Besides, Strahan could have a good chance of gaining entry next year, which would make it even more special to him. Super Bowl XLVIII will be played next season at MetLife Stadium, and the Hall of Fame voting will take place the day before the game.
"Hopefully, it comes around next year, which would be incredible to happen in New York," he said. "It would be awesome. If not, I'll just keep moving on."
Strahan said he is proud of his career with the Giants no matter what honors might or might not come.
"I played 15 years, and this is what I'm most proud of, Hall of Fame or not," he said, "that I played 15 years for one team and I did it at the level I did it at, with all the double-teams and all the years I didn't have an Osi [Umenyiora], Justin [Tuck] or [Keith] Hamilton or [Jessie] Armstead.
"To finish 15 years and not be a shell of myself on the field was important," he said. "You never looked and said, 'Why is he out there?' I brought it for all 15 years. My teammates were happy, my coaches, the Giants, my fans. Hopefully, the Hall sees that one day and I get a chance to make it in."
In the meantime, he's too busy to spend much time thinking about not getting in. Strahan is co-host of the "Live With Kelly & Michael" show with Kelly Ripa and is an NFL commentator for the Fox network.
"I'll be honest with you," he said, "next year is so far away for me. I'm hoping to be alive next year. I'm not even thinking about the Hall of Fame. If it happens, great. If not, that won't stop me. [The NFL] was a great chapter of my life, but you can't get hung up on the past. When you don't make it, you don't dwell on it. That was a very tough class to get in, and I have the utmost respect for them."
Strahan spent much of his day playing in a celebrity beach football event at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center near the Superdome, site of Super Bowl XLVII Sunday night between the Ravens and 49ers.
At least he didn't come away empty-handed.
"We had a lot of ex-football players, musicians and actors and actresses and models," Strahan said. "I ended up playing and winning MVP and my team won the game.
"I got one trophy today, so that's not bad."