I am still extremely upset by the NFL Hall of Fame (HOF) selections for this year. Not so much by who made it in ... but by who DIDN'T.
Art Monk ... once again was snubbed by a bunch of fat newspaper columnists who probably never strapped on football pads in their entire lives.
Art Monk - WHO RETIRED AS THE NFL's ALL TIME LEADER IN RECEPTIONS as well as in the top 5 of all major receiving categories - was ONCE AGAIN, left out of the HOF.
Why?? Why was this man, who teammates nicknamed "Money" (because they knew that whatever the circumstance - Monk would come down with the ball), kept out of the HOF?
I'm still scratching my head on this one.
While I detest Michael Irvin as a person I think he had the #'s to make it in...
HOWEVER... if Irvin was to be let in eventually...Monk should've gone first IMHO.
Lets look at the stats shall we?
Michael Irvin career stats
750 receptions - 20th all time
11904 receiving yards - 14th all time
15.9 yards per catch
65 touchdowns - 37th all time
3 Super bowl rings
5 time Pro Bowler
Art Monk career stats
940 receptions - 6th all time (190 more than Irvin)
12721 receiving yards - 11th all time (817 more than Irvin)
13.5 yards per catch - (2.4 less than Irvin)
68 career touchdowns - 30th all time (3 more than Irvin)
3 Super Bowl rings
3 time Pro Bowler
Now one the typical arguments against Monk getting in are that Monk was a product of the system he played in.
No such arguments were used against Irvin however.
How many HOF QB's threw to Monk ? Do the names Thiesmann, Williams, Schroeder or Rypien show up on a bust in Canton? Didn't think so...
How many HOF QB's threw to Irvin? Troy Aikman - a first ballot HOF inductee
How many HOF RB's played with each player? 1 each - Emmitt Smith with Irvin and John Riggins with Monk.... BUT Riggins played only a few of Monk's seasons with him where-as Smith ( THE NFL'S ALL TIME LEADING RUSHER !!!) continued to play long after Irvin hung his cleats up.
How many great WR's also played on the same team and demanded the ball more ?
Irvin = NONE. Whereas Monk also played with Gary Clark who lined up outside and was used to stretch defenses.
Now - you might say;
"Really Thai? Gary Clark was good?? "
MMHMMMM...he was. And he took recptions. yards and TD's from Monk.
Anyone know what Gary Clark's career NFL #'s are?
Now lets bring up Irvin's #'s again and compare Clark side by side...
Irvin: 750 rec, 11904 yds, 65 TD
Clark: 699 rec, 10856 yds, 65 TD
So Clark had a HOF career as well... why hasn't he been included as a HOF candidate yet?? I know why (it is anti-Redskin bias amongst sportwriters like "Dr. Z")
Lets add in that towards the end of Monk's career he also played alongside Ricky Sanders AND Clark.
While those guys racked up the stats and the glamor, Monk simply piled up 3rd down catches that extended drives and led us to 3 Super Bowl victories. Never once did Monk bitch about not getting more catches or TDs (as Irvin did REPEATEDLY and admitted he switched places on a play with Alvin Harper in a playoff game so he could get a "highlight play"), and he always blocked like an extra TE (so effectively that opposing players were amazed at how good a blocker a WR could be).
Seems like both teams had "systems" but think of the fact that Monk didn't have a HOF QB or the NFL's All-Time leading rusher helping him out.
Another knock was that he wasn't the leading receiver on his team;
I call BS on this one !!!
Another person ( I forget where) said this;
"He led the Redskins in receptions in 1980, 1981, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1989, and 1991. He led the team in receiving yards in 1980, 1981, 1984, 1985. He was not far behind Ricky Sanders or Gary Clark in most other years. He was not a selfish player who asked for the ball on every play, and he played alongside other great receivers, yet he still led his team in receptions for most of a decade"
Lets take a look at the #'s shall we?
1980 - Monk led the team in receptions (1)
1981 - Monk led the team in receptions (2)
1982 - Monk led the team in receptions (3)
1983 - Missed four games, second on the team in receptions
1984 - Monk led the team in receptions (4)
1985 - Monk led the team in receptions (5)
1986 - Second in the team in receptions, Monk had 73, Clark had 74
1987 - Strike season & missed a few games to injury, second on the team in receptions
1988 - Second on the team in receptions again by one catch, Sanders had 73, Monk 72
1989 - Monk led the team in receptions (6)
1990 - Second on the team in receptions to Clark (75 to 68)
1991 - Monk led the team in receptions (7)
1992 - Second on the team in receptions to Clark at the age of 35
1993 - Second on the team in receptions to Sanders at the age of 36
1994 - At the age of 37, moves to the Jets, second on the team in receptions
1995 - At the age of 38, only plays in three games.
Remember - not until 1990 (when Monk was 33) did Clark start to outperform Monk and then Monk (at age 34) still led the team in receptions the year after.
When you examine Ricky Sanders and Clark's #'s - you'll see that after they left Washington their performance dropped considerably. I have no doubts that the reason was that they didn't have a "Money" , that opposing teams needed to account for, allowing them to get open deep like they did in Washington.
So much for the myth about Monk not being the best WR on his team.
I have heard Monk be called a pioneer - this description is apt.
Monk played for so long that people forgot what the NFL was like when he joined.
Monk caught 106 passes when NOONE was doing it. I mean NOONE. The previous record was 93. He obliterated it. Was this a flash in the pan?? Hardly... The next year Monk had 91 receptions (he was 2nd in the NFL) the nearest receiver in 3rd place didn't even have 80.
His record of 106 in a season stood until 1992 when Sterling Sharpe caught 108 (only 2 more). But when Sharpe broke his record the game had changed in a fundtamental way to allow more receptions and more yards by WR's( the pass interference rules had been changed, changes had been made about hitting and holding recievers and protecting QB's., etc..). So not only did Monk get his #'s and end up in the top-5 in all major categories and end his career with the most receptions and most consecutive games with a reception - he did so mostly in an era where it was tougher to get those flashy #'s. Unlike Irvin and others who got their #'s in an era when it was easier to do so. Monk's 940 receptions was so far and above what other WR's could even hope to achieve that it took Jerry Rice (a sure first ballot HOF'er) to break it
A walkthrough on the evolution of the WR position can be found here...
The next argument these biased sportswriters use is his lack of Pro Bowls
They want to hang their hat on the fact that a popularity contest (which is the Pro Bowl) should decide who was the better WR??
Steve Largent went to a total of 3 Pro Bowls - but he's in the HOF. How many Superbowl rings did Steve earn?
Lets take a look at 4 years where Monk got robbed out of a Pro Bowl...
1981 Pro Bowl Roster
Dwight Clark (SFO) 85-1105-4
Alfred Jenkins (ATL) 70-1358-13
James Lofton (GRB) 71-1294-8
Ahmad Rashad (MIN) 58- 884-7
----- Art Monk (WAS) 56- 894-6
1982 Pro Bowl Roster
Charlie Brown (WAS) 32- 690-8
Dwight Clark (SFO) 60- 913-5
John Jefferson (GNB) 27- 452-0
James Lofton (GNB) 35- 696-4
----- Art Monk (WAS) 35- 447-1
1988 Pro Bowl Roster
Anthony Carter (MIN) 72-1225-6
Henry Ellard (LAR) 86-1414-10
Eric Martin (NOR) 85-1083-7
Jerry Rice (SFO) 64-1306-9
JT Smith (PHO) 83- 986-5
John Taylor (SFO) 14- 425-2
----- Art Monk (WAS) 72- 946-5
1989 Pro Bowl Roster
Mark Carrier (TAM) 86-1422-9
Henry Ellard (LAR) 70-1382-8
Jerry Rice (SFO) 82-1483-17
Sterling Sharpe(GRB) 90-1423-12
John Taylor (SFO) 60-1077-10
----- Art Monk (WAS) 86-1186-8
So in 1981 and 1982 it could be argued that as a young WR he didn't have the name rcognition as Ahmad Rashad and Jefferson. Still the point could be argued that he deserved tobe in based upon his play.
In 1988 and 1989 someone really needs to explain to me how in 1988 JT Smith (with inferior YPC) and John Taylor ( with INFERIOR #'s) gets in the Pro Bowl while Monk is kept out. And in 1989 Taylor (with mostly inferior #'s) gets the nod again. I thought being the #2 on your team was bad (at least thats what the HOF committee tells us about Monk not being the feared WR on his team), yet the guy playing opposite Jerry Rice got in with inferior #'s to Monk two years in a row??? What gives ???
So you can see why the Pro Bowl should have no bearing on HOF selection. It is a popularity contest. Nothing more.
Another roadblock the Sportwriters like to throw up is that he disappeared in the playoffs.
Look at the video at the end of this post and you'll see this is not true.
But lets look at something - Thurman Thomas was voted into the HOF on this ballot.
Anyone remember the SuperBowl in January 1992 between Washington and Buffalo...
Thomas ran for 13 yards on 10 carries.
All Monk did was rack up 113 yards receiving on 7 receptions. And his play helped the team win the game.
Yeah... nice disappearing act Art.
And yet Thomas gets voted in ??
If you don't want to listen to me - then listen to some of the people who played with him and against him.
Joe Thiesmann recently spoke about Monk where he said the following;
"Art was always the guy I looked for when we were in trouble."
Theismann went further to say;
"Art bailed me out of more jams...The year he caught 106 a lot of people forget that in the last game against St. Louis, which we had to win to make the playoffs, Art caught 11 passes (for 136 yards). And he made the biggest play of the game on fourth and-20. Art got 21 (and the Redskins won 29-27)."
Ronnie Lott, HOF inductee;
"Art Monk was an example for Jerry Rice. That's what Jerry always told me."
"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."
Bill Polian, President Indianapolis Colts
"I believe he's a Hall of Famer. I was a pro scout when he was playing, so it was my job to know who those guys were. I would put Art in that category, but apparently there are a lot of Hall of Fame voters who don't feel Art Monk was in that category. It's hard for me to believe they ever saw him play."
But the best quote comes from another Sportswriter named Thom Loverro ( who writes for the Washington Times)
Thomas Loverro,Washington Times;
"He embodied the old school, and for that alone he should be enshrined so that when a father takes his son through the Hall of Fame, he can say, "Son, here is a man who once caught 106 passes in a season when no one was catching 100 passes. Here was a man who caught a pass in 183 straight games. And not once did he ever pull a cell phone out to make a call after any of those catches."
Judge for yourself on this video. Until Monk is on the HOF it will be forever the Hall of Shame.
If you objectively look at the facts presented and watch how Monk played the game in this video (which is by no means all of his highlights) I cannot understand how anyone could say he is not deserving.
P.S. - one other point to make - and its made by one of the best sports broadcasters on the radio today (Steve Czaban). Here http://czabe.com/daily/archives/2007/02/index.html he writes this ;
the 1970’s Lions (no playoff wins) have 3 HOFers, the 70’s Cardinals (no playoff wins) have 4 HOFers, and yet the 80s/90s Redskins with FOUR FREAKING SUPERBOWLS (with 3 Lombardi trophies) have just John Riggins and Joe Gibbs.
The Hogs deserve to be in the HOF, Grimm and Jacoby more than the others but they all should be given their shot. Yet they are repeatedly passed over along with other teammates who won 3 Superbowls and went to a 4th while consistently making the playoffs in the 80's and early 90's.
The anti-Redskins bias of the HOF committee stinks to high heaven.
P.P.S. - While I detest Irvin personally - I do think his on-field #'s were good enough to warrant HOF selection. I just think Monk should've made it in before he did. And Irvin agrees with me.