4. Derrick Thomas – The Seven Sack Performance
"“To me, a sack could be described as a play with a plot. You have ups and downs, and then all of a sudden, it’s drawing to the conclusion, everybody is in suspense, it’s building, and building, and boom, you have a hero.” – Derrick Thomas"
Derrick Thomas was an absolute force at the University of Alabama. The pass rushing phenom had what would still be the collegiate record with an incredible 27 sacks his senior season in 1988. Unfortunately, he holds that record unofficially as the NCAA did not begin tracking player sacks until the 2000 season. Luckily for Thomas, his collegiate career was just the tip of the iceberg.
The Kansas City Chiefs made Thomas the fourth overall pick in the 1989 NFL Draft and he immediately justified their confidence in him. He had double digit sacks in each of his first four seasons and seven of 11 for his career. He made the Pro Bowl every season from 1989 to 1997 and was named either First Team or Second Team All Pro five times.
Thomas’ best season came in his second year in the league, in which he evolved into one of the most feared pass rushers in decades. That season he led the NFL in sacks while setting the Chiefs all-time record for sacks in a season with 20, the fifth most in a season in NFL history. The feat that places him on this list came in week 10 of this season, in which he set the all-time NFL record for sacks in a game with seven.
Thomas would dominate the rest of his career, amassing 126.5 sacks and 41 forced fumbles. Currently, he ranks 17th all time in sacks and ninth in forced fumbles. However, in the history of the NFL only Reggie White and Von Miller have a higher average sack number per year than Thomas.*
Unfortunately, Thomas’ life was cut short in 2000 due to complications from a car accident that left him paralyzed from the chest down. He would later be inducted into the Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame in 2001, the NFL Hall of Fame in 2009, and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2014. His ferocity as a pass rusher single game sack record lands him number four on the list of greatest Chiefs achievements of all time.
*This excludes players with less than 100 sacks