For some reason, Sports Illustrated is fixated on Art Monk this week. Here's Dr. Z's strange anecdote, followed by links to a few blogs chattering about Monk, and at the end, an article for all those people wondering what Mark Rypien is up to these days.
Sports Illustrated SI.com
June 8, 2006
Just as we began to tiptoe through the tulips, here comes Mark of San Francisco with a nice fat rip about my "repeated refusal to recognize Art Monk as a Hall of Famer." Sit down, Mark. Light your pipe. I'm gonna tell you a story.
In the early '60s I was pretty fresh out of school and I worked for the long-defunct New York World Telegram & Sun. Our lead baseball writer was a famous old-timer named Dan Daniel. I mean everybody grew up reading Daniel. He had covered Ty Cobb and John McGraw and the whole schmeer. How famous was he? Well, once, when our boxing writer, Lester Bromberg, was covering a fight in Havana, he ran into Ernest Hemingway, who told him to "please remember me to that great writer, Dan Daniel."
Dan used to write a weekly mailbag column called "Ask Daniel." For some reason, a few of his readers seemed hooked on the idea that one of Babe Ruth's record 60 home runs in 1927 really should have been a ground-rule double, since it had bounced into the stands. Dan would answer that question regularly … "No, no, a thousand times no … how many times must I repeat that it never happened?" It would drive him nuts. He'd sit in the office cursing. He had a pretty short fuse, Dan did.
Of course, the office had its share of wise guys, young writers such as Phil Pepe, and, of course, yours truly. So when the Babe Ruth letters to Dan would start flagging, we'd pipe a few ourselves. "Mr. Daniel, I really respect your work, but don't you agree that one of Babe Ruth's 60 homers was really … " etc. And with each one, Dan would, of course, go more and more crazy. "Damn idiot!" And we'd snicker up our sleeves and poke each other in the ribs. Poor old Dan. It was like dogs baiting a bear.
That's me with that Monk question. I answer it every 20 minutes. You DON'T get into the Hall of Fame catching 800 eight-yard hooks.
Chris's Sports Blog
June 5, 2006
Peter Kings Likes Cowboy With His Latte
I wrote this very thing in an e-mail to King:
Without question, Michael Irvin should already be in the football Hall of Fame. As you said, with 750 catches for a three-time Super Bowl winner, he should be a gimmie. But if that's the case, shouldn't Art Monk be a lock because he has 900 catches for, again, a three-time Super Bowl winner?
I understand, and respect, your argument that Irvin was a locker room leader. Somebody had to sling the 'ye to the other 44 guys in there. And, if not for Irvin, where but the bosoms and bare asses of naked strippers would Cowboys players have blown those lines? For that alone the man deserves a wing in Canton!
Seriously though (not that that up there wasn't serious, it just seemed like a good transitionary phrase), I'm sure Irvin was a good leader in the locker room. Things like that should be taken into question when discussing a player's Hall worthiness. Yet I'm nearly certain you'd say "Art Monk wasn't an imporant a leader for the Redskins," while dismissing his candidacy. And that, Peter, like telling your readers about your bowel movements, is just not cool.
Many factors, including loudness, more loudness, an affinity for the spotlight and thick-pinstriped suits, come into play when discussing Irvin's leadership ability. Monk was different though.
He commanded respect through a quiet, workman-like attitude. This rubbed off on Joe Gibbs' teams that didn't have a swagger like those Cowboys teams, yet won just as much. Those Redskins simply went out and did their jobs quietly and won three Super Bowls in the process. Art Monk might never have led a rah-rah speech before the NFC Championship Game, but his quiet presence did just as much as Irvin's loquacious rants.
Leaders lead in different ways. Patton was in his soldier's faces. Grant was more unassuming. Both were among the best generals this country has ever had.
Michael Irvin belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But Art Monk needs to be in there first.
p.s. Your new picture makes you look like Cruella de Ville's illegitimate son.
Matthew MySpace Blog
June 5, 2006
He's At it Again
Sports Illustrated's Peter King has made no secret of his opinion that Washington Redskins receiver Art Monk who once held the NFL records for catches in a season, career catches and consecutive games with at least one catch doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame.
On SI's Web site, he's done it again … this time, as a sin of omission. He lists 10 players that belong in the Hall of Fame, and not one of them is named Monk.
King has always claimed Gary Clark and Ricky Sanders were more dangerous receivers for those Redskins teams. Neither Posse member had as long of an NFL career as Monk.
King refuses to admit that Monk might have been the best third-down-and-short passing option in the league in the 1980s not named Rice. It took Jerry Rice, by the way, to break two of Monk's records. The catches-in-a-season mark wasn't broken until the receiver position evolved in the 1990s. Monk was a possession receiver catching around 100 passes a year…in the early 1980s.
King mentions that Monk was only elected to three Pro Bowls. Great. John Riggins, already a Hall of Famer, was only elected once. Terry Bradshaw? Only three. Lynn Swann? Yep, just three.
King wants Irvin in. Many have agreed Irvin doesn't get in until Monk gets in.
Art Monk for the Hall of Fame. And step on it.
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
June 8, 2006
Rypien provides boost for Raiders, charity
Mark Rypien wants to make one thing perfectly clear: By suiting up for the Rochester Raiders Saturday night, the former Super Bowl MVP isn't sending a message that he's interested in resurrecting his pro football career.
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"I ran into Steve Tasker in Atlantic City recently and he told me that nothing the Bills did differently would have mattered because we were a machine that year,'' Rypien said. "I do believe that for some reason that team of ours doesn't get the individual recognition it deserves. There are several guys from that team — guys like Art Monk — who belong in the Hall of Fame, but haven't been able to make any headway.''
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Charitable reasons are his main motivation for this one-game unretirement. He is donating his salary for the game — reportedly $10,000 — to Camp Good Days and the Mark Rypien Foundation. The 11-year NFL veteran has been attending functions at the camp since the days of the Pete Pavia Charity Dinner nearly 15 years ago. When his agent and long-time friend, John Gilmore, suggested he join the Raiders for a good cause, Rypien happily agreed.