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Monday Morning Quarterback
Hall of Fame game
Monday, February 13, 2006
How does Harry Carson get in this year, in the toughest class in a long time, when he couldn’t make it the last few years against lesser competition?
Good question. In fact, this was an odd class to me. A very good class, but an odd one. Each year when I go into the room the day before the Super Bowl to vote on the Hall of Fame class — I’m one of 39 selectors; this was my 14th year doing it — I have a notion of how the voting will go. And invariably I’m wrong. This year, for instance, I was sure Warren Moon wouldn’t get in. I said so on HBO. Just proves you never know what’s going to happen until you get in the room. And I was sure Thurman Thomas would get in. I had him third on my list of 15. And he didn’t make it. The way the system works is that we vote for 10 of the original 15. Then the field is narrowed to 10. Then we vote for six of the 10. Then the field is narrowed to six. Then we vote yes or no, individually, on the six.
“What happened with Thurman?” former Bills GM Bill Polian, now with the Colts, asked me last Friday. I gave him a long answer about how Troy Aikman and Reggie White were locks, and John Madden and Rayfield Wright, the senior candidates, were either going to get in now or perhaps never because seniors come up one year and then not again for a long time. Then, after those four, there was a big morass with Thurman, Moon, Carson, Bob Kuechenberg, Russ Grimm, Art Monk, Derrick Thomas and others. The short answer was: I don’t know. I still don’t, other than this was a tremendous class of candidates, 13 of whom I would have voted yes had they made it to the final six.
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Monday Morning Quarterback: Tuesday Edition
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
NOW THAT CARSON’S IN, IT’S MONK TIME. From Stephen of Chantilly, Va.: “Peter, your article about Harry Carson was wonderful. You really understand how certain players who are extremely integral to super teams don’t get recognized because they didn’t get all the glamour stats or press. Which is why I really think you are not an honest voter. All the arguments and characteristics you praise about Carson in this article could also be made for Art Monk in relation to his Redskins super teams. From role player, coaching praise and teammate praise. If you just don’t like Monk, just say you’re biased and stop. Please don’t make illogical reasons for him to not be in the Hall of Fame when you clearly recognize Carson-type accomplishments for the Giants. You really lose all credibility to me since you’re not only a biased writer but one who likes to unfairly lower the accomplishments of a truly deserving player like Monk.”
Thanks for writing, Stephen. It’s interesting being a voter. If I don’t vote for a certain player, then I have some bias against him. You and the other Monk supporters should know — not that you’ll believe me — that I have no bias whatsoever against Monk. He was a very good and unselfish football player. I have a lot of admiration for him.
There are quite a few differences between Carson and Monk, I believe. And not just in my opinion, but in their peers’ opinions. Monk was voted to three Pro Bowls in 16 years. Just three times in 16 years did his peers consider him one of the four best receivers in his conference. Carson was voted to nine Pro Bowls in 13 years. Carson was the major reason why the Giants had the best run defense in the NFL for a seven- or eight-year period. I don’t think you can say the presence of Monk on Washington’s offense — with a great deep threat like Gary Clark, with consistently good running backs, with a great offense line — equated to Carson’s impact on the Giants’ D. Well, maybe you can, but I can’t.
And for all of the Monk supporters who think I’m the guy keeping him out of the Hall of Fame, just know that there are at least eight of the 38 other voters who have not voted for him — and I think it’s quite a few more than that given that he can’t make it through the cut from 15 to 10.
RYAN, DO YOU HAVE A COUSIN NAMED STEPHEN IN VIRGINIA? From Ryan McKeon of Athens, Ga.: “Great comments on Harry Carson, who was exactly the kind of hard-nosed, unflashy player that teams need to win. Now my hope is that somebody makes a similar argument to you regarding Art Monk that you made to Cliff Christl. If Harry Carson was putting teams in second-and-9 a lot, Art Monk was catching a lot of 10-yard passes on those second-and-9 plays. That’s important to a team too, unspectacular though it may be.”
Excellent point, Ryan.