Pre-1982 sack data makes Manley unofficial WFT sack leader originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
As far as the record books are concerned, Ryan Kerrigan is the Washington Football Team’s all-time sack leader.
That happened during the 2020 season when Kerrigan recorded his 92nd sack with the Burgundy and Gold, pushing him one ahead of Dexter Manley who had held the record for nearly three decades. A few more takedowns last season gave Kerrigan 95.5 for his career.
However, new data introduced by Pro-Football-Reference.com that brings in sack totals prior to the 1982 season — when the NFL started recording the stat — could change all of that and put Manley back ahead.
Expansive research by John Turney and Nick Webster, who work for the Pro Football Researchers Association, has uncovered numerous sacks that up until now had been not been recognized. That includes the 1981 season in which Manley recorded six sacks as a rookie for Washington.
By adding that total to Manley’s career mark with Washington, it puts him unofficially at 97.0 sacks. That is 1.5 more than Kerrigan compiled during his 10 seasons in Washington. Therefore, Manley could be viewed as the all-time sack leader for the franchise once again.
Whether or not the Washington Football Team and the NFL embrace the new discoveries and officially change stats and records will be something to monitor. Either way, it does not take away from the dominant careers both Manley and Kerrigan put forth during their time with the team.
It is important to note, though, Kerrigan will likely never get the chance to reclaim the top spot should it eventually change. While he’s preparing to suit up for the 2021 season, it will be with the Philadelphia Eagles.