Calais Campbell's journey to 100 career sacks was 16 seasons in the making. He is only the 42nd player in recorded NFL history to reach the century mark. He is one of six active players in the league to accomplish the feat. To celebrate Campbell reaching and surpassing 100 career sacks, AtlantaFalcons.com goes back in time with Campbell as he reminisces on some of the most impactful moments of his career.
The second of five stories drops readers into a moment that Campbell says even his 100th career sack probably can't top.
For access to all of the celebratory content, visit the Calais Campbell Sack History landing page.
Calais Campbell was nervous to tell Arizona defensive coordinator Bill Davis what play he should call in the Cardinals' Week 13 home game vs. the Minnesota Vikings in 2009. It wasn't his place, Campbell said. He was still a "young buck," only in his second year as a pro. He felt like he had a ways to go in terms of earning respect as a pass rusher in the league.
It was the end of the season, yes, but he had just turned 24 years old. He couldn't tell his coach what to do.
As the first half bled into the second half on Dec. 6, 2009, Campbell couldn't keep quiet any longer.
"Hey, Coach, call this play," Campbell said to Davis on the sideline, the coordinator giving him a confused look. "I know it's going to work."
Campbell went back out to the field, and a handful of calls later, the play Campbell had requested came in.
"I'm excited. I'm hyped," Campbell remembers thinking. "I knew it was going to work because the (lineman) wasn't respecting my inside move."
As the ball was snapped, Campbell said he believed in his heart that he was going to come free. There was no doubt. So, as the ball traveled back from the center's hands, Campbell had his target well in sight. That target? Brett Favre.
For Campbell, Favre wasn't just a prize. He was the prize.
Campbell remembered being 10 years old, watching Favre in one of his two Super Bowls. He remembered those storybook plays of all Favre's years in Green Bay. When Favre signed with Minnesota in 2009, Campbell would meet him on the gridiron.
And as he raced to the backfield, like every good hunter, Campbell had one thought running through his mind.
"I think the biggest respect you can have for a player is giving your all to him," Campbell said. "So, for me with Brett Favre, being such a big fan of his, I tried to kill him."
Seconds later, the sack was secured. The play Campbell had been asking for worked. He'd sacked someone he greatly admired. Oh, and he didn't kill Favre, just the Vikings' momentum.
A few days later, Campbell walked into the locker room at the Cardinals facility. Taped to his locker was a letter from the league. He'd been fined for roughing the passer. A teammate laughed as he walked by, giving Campbell some free advice.
"You don't need to appeal that," Campbell recalled his teammate saying to him. "You frame that one."
Campbell has gone on the record numerous times in the years since that December day, saying the same thing every single time: Sacking Favre was his favorite sack of his career.
With roughly 5,000 days and 100 sacks having come and gone since then, for Campbell, nothing has changed. When it comes to this specific sack, it's hard to think anything ever will.
"I tried to respect him as best I could by inflicting pain," Campbell said through a hearty chuckle. "... He might not remember it, but he definitely felt it."
The tales of Campbell's sack history continues as he discusses the sack that wasn't. Click here to read Campbell's account of the missing sack in his catalogue, but the surprise interception that made up for it.