September 14, 2012

MVP Profile: Reggie White, 1987


Defensive End, Philadelphia Eagles



Age: 26 (Dec. 19)
5th season in pro football, third in NFL & with Eagles
College: Tennessee
Height: 6’5”    Weight: 285

Prelude:
A consensus All-American and SEC Player of the Year as a senior in college (where he gained his nickname “The Minister of Defense”), White started his pro career in the USFL with the Memphis Showboats in 1984. In two seasons, he garnered 23.5 sacks and then left the ill-fated spring league for the Eagles, who had taken him in the first round of the ’84 NFL Supplemental draft. He joined Philadelphia early in the 1985 season and had 13 sacks in 13 games (between the spring USFL season and the fall NFL campaign, he played in a total of 31 contests in ‘85). Quickly establishing himself as a dominant player at his position, White had 18 sacks in 1986 and was a consensus first-team All-Pro and was chosen for the Pro Bowl.

1987 Season Summary
Appeared and started in 12 of 15 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Sacks – 21 [1]
Most sacks, game – 3 vs. NY Giants 11/15
Multi-sack games – 8
Interceptions – 0
Fumble recoveries – 1
Forced fumbles – 4
Tackles – 76

Scoring
TDs – 1
Points – 6

Awards & Honors:
NFL Defensive Player of the Year: AP
1st team All-NFL: AP, NEA, PFWA, Pro Football Weekly, Sporting News
1st team All-NFC: UPI, Pro Football Weekly
Pro Bowl

Eagles went 7-8 to finish fourth in the NFC East in the strike-affected season (three games were played with replacement players), finishing second in the NFL in sacks (57).

Aftermath:
Having just missed the single-season sack record in 1987, White again led the NFL in sacks with 18 in 1988. He remained with the Eagles through 1992 and was a consensus first-team All-Pro selection for six straight years and was named to seven consecutive Pro Bowls. The leader of an outstanding defensive unit, White also became a vocal critic of the team’s front office and left to sign with the Green Bay Packers as a free agent in 1993. He went to seven more Pro Bowls and was a consensus All-Pro choice twice more as well as Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year once more, in 1998 at age 37. The Packers also won two NFC titles and the Super Bowl following the ’96 season. White retired for a year in 1999 but returned for one more season with the Carolina Panthers in 2000. He finished his career as the NFL’s all-time leader in sacks with 198 and reached double figures in 12 seasons. White’s #92 was retired by both the Eagles and Packers and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2006.

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MVP Profiles feature players who were named MVP or Player of the Year in the NFL, AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press, Pro Football Writers Association, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, Maxwell Club – Bert Bell Award, or the league itself). Also includes Associated Press NFL Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year.

[Updated 2/6/14]

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