In his post superbowl weekend article, Peter King, a HOF voter and recent convert to the Art Monk cause, writes:
Quote of the Week IV
“A good man and legitimate Hall of Famer is being denied entry for reasons we never know, by people who secretly vote. Art Monk is a Hall of Famer by any measure. This is not right.”
— Washington owner Dan Snyder.
Dan, not a bad point. As one of the 40 Hall selectors, I’d love to see Hall voting be opened up so we would be accountable in such an important election for how we stand. But what happened Saturday to Monk, in my opinion, is mostly bad. Good for Monk: The major roadblock in front of him, Michael Irvin, is no longer a roadblock; he’s in. Bad for Monk: Next year comes Cris Carter, with 161 more catches, five more Pro Bowls and 62 more touchdowns in the same number of seasons. Then Tim Brown, with 154 more catches, and the stat race is on. Every year, Monk will fall father behind in the numbers game. As someone who changed his mind on Monk and strongly advocated him this year (unquestioned leader on a three-time Super Bowl champ, superb downfield blocker, retired as the all-time receptions leader, never squawked for the ball with some other “me” guys in the locker room), I think it’s going to be tough to get him in if he hasn’t gotten in by now.
Unfortunately, this logic is difficult to refute. If the decision is going to be based on a single memorable catch, or on statistics, then the climb is going to get steeper. Somehow being a leader on a championship team and retiring as the leader in a bazillion categories is inadequate. The pro game became more pass happy in the latter years of Monk’s career, and players who never played on championship teams will still have more gaudy stats because they were the go to guys on average to good teams.
However, Art Monk’s plight is that of the Redskin franchise for the Gibbs I era. Consider the 1991 Washington Redskins team. When ESPN conducted a statistical analysis it ranked the team in the top ten…but interviews with those compiling said that based on pure domination the team should have ranked higher. Consider that it was 14-2 in the regular season, with two losses by five points coming to the Cowboys (when the skins were 11-0, and this is the ‘boys team that went on to win three of the next four Super Bowls) and in the last game of the season to the Eagles whose stated goal for the evening was to hospitalize as many Redskin players as possible. The team recorded 50+ sacks, and gave up only 9—yep, 9—sacks over the year. They crushed teams, never lost their cool in close games…and despite being the a dominant team and the third Championship of the Gibbs I era, they are never given adequate credit.
Does the league think Washington won three championships solely because of a superior GM and Coach? Plans drawn up in the solitude of the chalk talk must still be performed…and to exclude the great players because they excelled without being flashy is ridiculous.
Yep, it is bad enough that Art Monk was denied this year. As the years go on, Mr. King’s prediction is likely to come true…the rewarding of strong players who did not win championships and got the ball all the time because the team had no other options. If that does happen, it will suggest that the way to the HOF is paved more by the antics and statistics of a Terrell Owens than by the men who play hard day in and day out, do their jobs with outstanding excellence, lead their teams, and do all this without demanding the spotlight focus on them.
It is likely that many of those sportwriters who voted to deny Art Monk Admission will also in the future write articles bemoaning the increasing individuality and obnoxious behavior of NFL players. When they do, I hope they also note their own hypocrisy, because they could have made their own feelings about such conduct known by voting in a deserving class act who exemplifies all the league claims to want to be…and chose not to.