Monk HOF 2008-The Truly Important Upcoming Election

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!

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3 thoughts on “Monk HOF 2008-The Truly Important Upcoming Election

  1. Pingback: Football » Monk HOF 2008-The Truly Important Upcoming Election

  2. Bwana:
    Right on point as usual!! If any of the 17 are more deserving than Art Monk, then I do not know who that is. I also agree that Darryl Greene and Russ Grimm are also deserving, however, I do not believe they will put three Redskins in at the same time. My first choice for induction this time is Art. I cannot improve on your or Mr. Lott’s comments, therefore I will let them speak for themselves.
    So from this longtime diehard Redskins Fan…Good Luck Art Monk and you are definitely in the Hall of Fame in the hearts of all true Redskin fans.
    Thank you Bwana,
    BFIV

  3. I’m exhausted by this process. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

    Reasons to vote for Art Monk for the Hall of Fame

    1. Monk changed the course of Super Bowl history three times.
    • In 1988 with the Skins down 10-0 to the Broncos, the Redskins deep in their own territory, on 3rd and 16, Monk made a 40-yard catch, his first catch in 2 months because of an injury.
    • In 1990, Monk called a legendary players only team meeting with the Skins at 6-5. After the meeting, they went 22-4 and won the Super Bowl the following year against Buffalo and the team meetings became a tradition.
    • In the 1992 Super Bowl, Monk had 7 catches for 113 yards in the win over Buffalo.
    2. Monk has more catches than any of the 17 receivers currently in the Hall.
    3. Monk has more catches than Lynn Swann and John Stallworth combined. The last 10 years of Stallworth’s career were played after the rules were changed to open up the passing game.
    4. Monk has more catches, yards, and TDs than Michael Irvin, and Irvin played his whole career with a Hall of Fame QB, while Monk played with 4 QBs, 3 of them not in the NFL’s all-time top 85 QBs in passing yards.
    5. The 1991 Redskins were one of the greatest teams of all-time – 17-2 – and they are one of only two Super Bowl champions to play 11 teams with 10 or more wins. They had a margin of victory of 17 points per game, second to the ‘85 Bears and ‘07 Pats, yet not one player is in the Hall.
    6. If the 1980 draft were redone, Monk would be the #1 overall pick.
    7. In 1991, then-Cleveland Browns coach Bill Belichick, who ran the Giants defense in the late 80s, said, “I think Monk is one of the great receivers ever to play the game. I wish the damn guy would retire and I told him that in the preseason. The sooner the better for me.”

    Answering the Criticisms

    Yards Per Catch and Touchdowns

    Monk’s career average is 13.5 Yards per catch – just ahead of Marvin Harrison (13.4), nearly a yard more than Cris Carter (12.6) and only 1.3 yards less than Jerry Rice (14.8). Monk averaged 15.4 yards per catch in the playoffs, better than Carter or Andre Reed. Monk did have a lot of short receptions for first downs. That makes his 13.5 figure all the more impressive. For example, for every 8-yard reception he had, he also had a19-yard catch. For every 5-yard pass he had, he also had a 22-yard catch. Monk had at least 38 catches of 40 yards or more. There are different types of receivers just like there are different types of running backs. You wouldn’t keep Larry Csonka (4.3), or John Riggins (3.9) out of the Hall of Fame because they had lower averages than Barry Sanders (5.0) or Gale Sayers (5.0). Maintaining possession and making first downs is important because that leads to TDs. The alternative to maintain possession is punting. (Punting isn’t good – it gives the ball to the other team. We don’t want that).

    From 1980-1993, the years Monk was with the Redskins, he had exactly the same number of TDs as Lofton did during that span – 65. Overall, Monk had more TDs than Irvin – 68 to 65. The Redskins often ran the ball in the red zone and Monk blocked superbly on those runs.

    Signature Playoff Performances

    Yes, he did have them. Besides the catch vs. the Broncos in the Super Bowl and the 100-yard performance against the Bills in the Super Bowl mentioned above:

    • Monk scored a 40-yard touchdown and a 21-yard TD in a 51-7 rout of the Rams in a January 1984 playoff game.
    • In January 1987, the year after the Bears won the Super Bowl at 15-1 and were considered by most experts to be the greatest team of all-time – certainly the greatest defense – the Redskins beat the 14-2 Bears in the playoffs 27-13. Monk scored two touchdowns in that game – a 28-yarder and a 21-yarder against the top-ranked defense in the NFL.
    • In January 1991, the Redskins beat Buddy Ryan’s Philadelphia Eagles in the playoffs 20-6, and Monk scored a 16-yard touchdown to give the Redskins a 7-6 lead.
    • In the next playoff game, Monk caught 10 passes for 163 yards and a 31-yard TD from quarterback Mark Rypien in a loss against the 49ers, who had beaten the Broncos 55-10 in the Super Bowl a year earlier.
    • The following season, Monk also scored an amazing over the shoulder 21-yard TD against Detroit in the 1992 NFC Championship game as the Skins were victorious, 41-10. Lions linebacker Chris Spielman had this to say: “Art Monk is a Hall of Famer. He doesn’t get enough credit compared to Jerry Rice. He’s a special player.”

    Monk played with other great WRs

    Gary Clark and Ricky Sanders were very good players, but they were not as great as Monk. Swann and Stallworth didn’t get penalized for playing alongside each other. Joiner had Wes Chandler, John Jefferson, and Kellen Winslow for parts of his career. Biletnikoff had Branch. Carter, who should make it someday but not before Monk, played four years with Randy Moss. Also note that Joiner, Swann, and Stallworth, Irvin, and Reed, another candidate, all played with HOF QBs.

    Pro Bowls

    Monk made 3. He could have made a bunch more based on his stats. Pro Bowl voting is done before the final two weeks of the year and doesn’t include playoffs. Monk was a strong finisher and playoff performer. Joiner, Swann, and Bradshaw each only went to three Pro Bowls. Stallworth and Biletnikoff went to four Pro Bowls. Riggins went to one.

    Monk played against superior NFC competition – the NFC won 11 straight Super Bowls during Monk’s career – and he also played against tough NFC East competition. The Giants won two Super Bowls during Monk’s Redskins career, the Cowboys had a great defense in the early 80s and won Super Bowls in the 90s, and Buddy Ryan’s Eagles had a great defense in the late 80s and early 90s.

    Other current players are passing Monk

    See the chart that shows that while passing offense was higher in Monk’s era than Biletnikoff’s, it is also up a lot more now than it was during the time that Monk played. So Monk shouldn’t be penalized because today’s passing stats are more prolific than they were during his era. Note that Carter and Reed played most of their careers during the final 14 years of the Super Bowl era.

    NFL 1966-1979 1980-1993 (Monk’s era with the Redskins) 1994-2007
    Number of individual 4,000 passing seasons 2 19 46
    Number of individual 100 catch seasons 0 3 50
    Number of 1500 catch seasons 0 5 15

    We’ve already established that Monk has better numbers than all the WRs in the Hall – here’s how his playoff stats compare with Carter and Reed.

    Comparison of Playoff Performances of Monk, Cris Carter, and Andre Reed
    Player Catches per game Yards per game TD per game Yards per catch Team Record Super Bowls
    Monk 4.6 70.8 .46 15.4 10-5 2-1
    Carter 4.5 61.4 .57 13.6 4-10 0-0
    Reed 4.5 64.7 .47 14.5 10-9 0-4
    Comparison of NFC or AFC Championship Game Performances of Monk, Carter, and Reed
    (each player played at least 2 NFC or AFC Championship games).
    Player Catches per game Yards per game TD per game Yards per catch
    Monk 5.3 85.0 .3 15.9
    Carter 4.5 45.5 0 10.1
    Reed 3.2 35.4 .2 11.1

    Please see http://www.coachmike.net/artmonk/artmonk.htm and http://www.monk4thehall.com/.

    Thank you.

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