His regular season numbers are good, but Clark is racing to the top of the all-time postseason sacks list.
Despite only having recorded 58.5 career sacks in the regular season, Kansas City Chiefs’ pass-rusher Frank Clark, who has posted 13.5 career playoff sacks, is on the verge of postseason history as he enters Super Bowl LVII against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Officially, the highest sack mark in a postseason career is owned by Willie McGinest – who retired in 2008 with 16 playoff sacks. If Clark records just one more, he’ll be tied for second all-time with Pro Football Hall of Famer Bruce Smith, who ranks first in NFL history with 200 regular season sacks.
Players who rank top 10 in all-time postseason sacks have recorded an average of 114.2 career regular-season sacks, nearly double the mark that Clark has produced thus far in his eight-year NFL career. The only other player in NFL history with 11 or more career playoff sacks and fewer than 84.5 regular season sacks is former All-Pro outside linebacker Lamarr Woodley, who had 11 sacks in eight playoff games while “only” registering 58 regular season sacks during his playing days.
For whatever reason, Clark’s pass-rushing production has spiked when games have mattered the most, which has translated to key wins for both the Chiefs and the Seattle Seahawks – who originally drafted him. In games in which Clark both started on defense and also recorded a sack, his team’s win record is 6-2, including a Super Bowl win against the San Francisco 49ers while with Kansas City.
One factor that is pushing Clark up the all-time leaderboard is the fact that he has played for two franchises that have consistently been in the playoff hunt during his time with the teams. If you can believe it, Super Bowl LVII will be his 17th playoff game, which for reference is six more postseason games than Von Miller has played during his NFL career.
On a per-game basis, Clark’s sack production is slightly less impressive, but he still ranks seventh all-time in sacks per game among pass-rushers with at least eight postseason sacks under their belt. Woodley (1.38), Miller (0.95), Michael Strahan (0.95), McGinest (0.89), Nick Bosa (0.89) and Richard Dent (0.88) all best Clark (0.84) there.
The other factor to consider is that sacks have only been an official stat recorded by the NFL since 1982. Officially, Clark is 145th in all-time regular season sacks at 58.5, but that number drops all the way down to 231st all-time if you include “unofficial” sacks that account for sacks made from 1960 to 1981. That’s a lot of players over a lot of time. If unofficial postseason sacks are added to the mix, Clark is currently ranked fourth all-time, as former Cowboy Harvey Martin (17.3 career sacks) tops the postseason column.
At only 29 years old, Clark still has plenty left in the tank to chase postseason glory; an opportunity to cement himself as something like the playoff Julian Edelman of pass-rushers. Last year, the Chiefs selected pass-rusher George Karlaftis in the first round of the 2022 draft, which along with Clark’s $20.5 million salary in 2023 could lead to him becoming a cap casualty for Kansas City this offseason.
Be it against the Eagles on Sunday or in the future on whichever team he decides to sign with this spring, Clark will probably pass Smith and potentially McGinest on the official sack list at some point during his career.