The banners have not come down from the Florida primary, and the nation looks toward Super Tuesday where those still standing battle it out next week. My fellow bloggers are even now sharpening their keyboards to wax eloquent about the chances of their candidate of choice.
Let them. The truly important election on my horizon comes on Saturday, Februrary 2, 2008.
The occasion? The Football Hall of Fame voters gather at the Super Bowl to select the 2008 Class for induction in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
The listis down to seventeen players, including three Washington Redskins, with Joe Jacoby missing the cut. The three ‘Skins remaining are Russ Grimm, Darrel Greene, and the oft and unjustly overlooked Art Monk.
It is my opinion that Art Monk indisputably should be in the HOF. It is a crime against logic and nature he is not already so honored. His numbers, his performance, the standard and the example he set say he should be in. Perhaps no one phrased it better than Hall of Fame Member Ronnie Lott, a man who went head up on Monk numerous times:
“There’s nothing negative to say. He has the numbers, the catches, the championships….You have a Hall of Fame for all it represents. I know he represents all that it’s about. Integrity, love and passion for the game, community, what he gave back. Look how he conducted himself. Nobody I know deserves it more.”
Many of the naysayers have come around. Peter King changed to the pro-Monk camp last year, and apparently Paul Zimmerman of SI is coming around.
I know the arguments against him…Monk wasn’t the first option, Monk only made three All-Pro teams, Monk doesn’t have signature plays. But the sports writers who trumpet these options not only conviently choose to forget that it was Art Monk who was selected for the NFL All-1980’s team, along with Rice, Largent, and Lofton. Each of the last three is in the HOF, and players who made more All-Pro teams are not.
It also surprises me that in a time when the league is cracking down on questionable conduct by its players, and sports writers around the country say it is long overdue…these same sportwriters will turn around and say when voting for the HOF off the field actions should not be considered. This hypocrisy leads Michael Irvin to be inducted while Monk stays in queue…only to see Irvin arrested on drug charges within a month of being selected.
One thing is for sure-if the voters are sincere about these objections, then Darrel Greene has to be a first round induction. Greene has the numbers, was the DB the opposition avoided, had the physical gifts, had the signature plays (running down Tony Dorsett in 1983, running down Eric Dickerson in a 1986 playoff game, his “hurdle” punt return against Chicago in the 1987 playoffs), and has the community standing. So, if all the objections against Monk to date were sincere, then you almost have to select Darrel this year.
Russ Grimm deserves to go, and I think it would be especially fitting after the way he was so badly treated by the Pittsburgh Steelers last year. The 1980’s ‘skins are badly underrepresented, and I think inducting Monk and Greene at the same time is fitting and proper.
However, I have worries…and I have worries that go beyond the specious and rebutable arguments offered against Monk to date.
One concern is the lack of immediate conversation to date about the selection. Normally by now King and Zimmerman have posted articles about the upcoming HOF selection, and given some idea as to how the winds were blowing. Not so to date…and I have no idea what that means.
My other concern is that Dan Snyder has torpedoed the good ship Monk by virtue of his scavenger hunt for a new coach. One thing that has been consistently lacking in the Snyder era is a sense of good feelings about the Redskins by the national media. I think Monk has caught some of the brunt of that.
I won’t rehash the past football season. However, in the wake of the Redskins overcoming their difficulties and making the playoffs I thought there would be some diminution of that feeling, or at least that it wouldn’t be as overt.
Then Joe Gibbs stepped down, and Dan Snyder not only did not select Gibbs heir apparent Gregg Williams but he released Williams from his position as HC/Defense. Snyder has gone on to interview everyone under the sun, reinforcing the reputation he had pre-Gibbs as a rich owner who was smart enough to make the money to buy the team but not smart enough to get out of the way and let the football people run the football team.
I worry that the Redskin nominees this year will be hurt by a Snyder backlash, but I hope and pray that this is the year that Art Monk makes the Hall. It is an honor well deserved grossly overdue.
One last note-I believe Art Monks case for the HOF is so strong and convincing that only folks with axes to grind (like the Dallas rep who regularly talks down Monk) or some physiological inability to process the information of his credentials would vote against him.
The same will be the case on replies for this post, where I will depart from my normal posting policy. Don’t dare come around these parts talking trash about Monk and expect to get a comment posted.
Yep, I’m a homer.
Go Art Monk, and good luck on Saturday!