Saturday, August 05, 2006

Art Monk excluded again from HOF

Art Monk, a wide receiver drafted out of Syracuse in the first round in 1980 by the Washington Redskins, eventually finished his career in 1995 atop the NFL’s list for most receptions. He still ranks as No. 5 in that category. During his years with the Redskins he played on three Super Bowl-winning squads under Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs.
Monk, No. 81, working in traffic. Of course he got hit. And, of course he caught the ball.

Of Monk‘s game, Gibbs said, “He was big, he was strong, and he was intelligent. He had everything. I can't see how a receiver could be more valuable to a team.”

But the NFL’s Hall of Fame ceremony today is not honoring Art Monk, who has yet to be tapped to join his peers. Monk’s problem? He was a quiet, dutiful player who didn’t promote himself. He was a possession receiver and a great blocker, rather than a game-breaker. Monk simply played football in every game in a way that his teammates and his opponents, alike, respected. He was as stoic as Deion Sanders was loquacious.

Hall of Fame defensive back Ronnie Lott said, “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.”

For whatever reason, every year Monk is put on the HOF’s list of finalists, then he’s left off the list of inductees. Here’s a glance at Art Monk’s career as a pass receiver in statistics:

Regular season, 1980-95
Receptions: 940
Yards: 12,721
Touchdowns: 68

Postseason, 15 games
Receptions: 69
Yards: 1,062
Touchdowns: 7

If you need more on Monk to be convinced click on the link for “81 Reasons to Induct Art Monk.”
Photo: Ernie Brooks

3 comments:

Vivian J. Paige said...

I guess I don't understand why he's being left out, either. He was, by far, my favorite Redskin receiver.

JPTERP said...

It just has to be a matter of time for Art Monk. I would agree that he wasn't a first-ballot guy BUT he DOES deserves to be in the HOF.

I just can't see the Redskins winning those 3 Superbowls under Gibbs without him. As you point out there are always those intangibles such as downfield blocking, a team-oriented attitude, and a selfless approach to the game that just don't show up on a stat sheet.

Art Monk was the kind of player who just came to play every day for several years on end. He didn't have a whole lot of flash, but he made the sacrifices that championship teams require. He deserves to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Bwana said...

Speaking as one who was a Redskins fan since the day he was born, I agree with you. You left off your list that when Monk retired he held the NFL record for career receptions, and at one time held the record for number of receptions in a season.

The problem is that diligent, dutiful, consistent, and effective are apparently used only to measure the careers of Offensive interior linemen or tight ends. Wide receivers are expected to have that signature catch (Stallworth over the head in the superbowl) or that single game performance (Earl Campbell on national tv, Darrell Green running down Tony D, Bo Jackson running over Brian Bosworth) that folks remember forever. Art did not play in the 1983 superbowl, was not part of the 2nd quarter explosion in the 1988 superbowl, and the 1991 Redskin team was so dominating (14-2 reg season, crushed almost everyone) that no one gives him the credit he deserves.

If the players were voting, Monk would already be in. But it is not, and they are going to ignore the fundamental stuff that makes great players and put folks like Michael Irvin in the Hall in front of Art Monk.