Sports Illustrated SI.com
February 5, 2007
Monday Morning Quarterback
“A good man and legitimate Hall of Famer is being denied entry for reasons we never know, by people who secretly vote. Art Monk is a Hall of Famer by any measure. This is not right.”
— Washington owner Dan Snyder.
Dan, not a bad point. As one of the 40 Hall selectors, I’d love to see Hall voting be opened up so we would be accountable in such an important election for how we stand. But what happened to Monk, in my opinion, is mostly bad. Good for Monk: The major roadblock in front of him, Michael Irvin, is no longer a roadblock; he’s in. Bad for Monk: Next year comes Cris Carter, with 161 more catches, five more Pro Bowls and 62 more touchdowns in the same number of seasons. Then Tim Brown, with 154 more catches, and the stat race is on. Every year, Monk will fall farther behind in the numbers game. As someone who changed his mind on Monk and strongly advocated him this year (unquestioned leader on a three-time Super Bowl champ, superb downfield blocker, retired as the all-time receptions leader, never squawked for the ball with some other me guys in the locker room), I think it’s going to be tough to get him in if he hasn’t gotten in by now.
Houston Chronicle Blog
February 5, 2007
Behind the Scenes at Hall of Fame Voting
Once we arrive at the Super Bowl on the Sunday before our vote, we’re asked every day about what we think and who we’re voting for. I’ve known since I saw the list of finalists that I was going to vote for Matthews, Irvin and Thurman Thomas. Since I’m on the senior committee, I was going to vote for Hickerson and Sanders, too. I was going to keep an open mind on everyone else. After I got to Miami, I knew I was going to vote for Tagliabue, too. I also was leaning toward Zimmerman.
As always, some great cases were made for the finalists, some more informative and convincing than others. After our first vote, I always feel bad for the candidates who are eliminated and their presenters, especially those who have worked hard on their behalf. Selfishly, of course, I’m always glad it was their guy and not mine.
I had worried that Irvin and Monk would cancel each other out, which didn’t happen this year. It did happen to the four dominant pass rushers who made the group of 11: Dent, Dean, Derrick Thomas and Tippett. I had voted for Dent. During a 10-year period (1984 through 1993) he averaged 11.1 sacks for the Bears. They led the NFL in sacks eight times during that period. They had a 102-57 regular-season record. They won Super Bowl XX, and he was voted the MVP. And yet Dent didn’t make the final six.
I have a philosophy about our procedure. I always vote for the senior nominees. And when we get to the final list of six, I always vote yes on each candidate.
I was excited to see Irvin get in. I’ve voted for him each year. No matter what you think about him as a broadcaster or what he did off the field when he played, the only thing we can consider is what happens between the white lines. Irvin was a great receiver and a team leader on a three-time Super Bowl champion.
Rick Gosselin, the NFL writer for the Dallas Morning News, has done a terrific job the last two years, helping three Cowboys be elected. Before last year, the Cowboys had only five of their former players in the Hall of Fame. On Saturday, he had help from Charean Williams and Jarrett Bell of USA Today, both of whom spoke on Irvin’s behalf.
I still think that Bob Hayes is the Cowboy who’s most deserving of being elected. He and Jerry Kramer are the only senior nominees we’ve turned down since I’ve been on the committee.
I think now that Irvin has been elected, Monk won’t be far behind.
Memo to irate Art Monk fans:
Has it occurred to you that 30 of the 40 voters could have voted for Monk, and yet you continue to fire off nasty e-mails to everyone? Has it occurred to you that all those nasty e-mails insulting the intelligence of the committee just might make some of the pro-Monk crowd switch their votes? I’m not saying it will, but have you thought that you might actually be doing Monk damage? Didn’t think so.
Now, here’s something I’d like for Monk fans to explain to me: During his 16-year career, the players and coaches voted him to the Pro Bowl three times. Why? During his 16-year career, he led his team in receiving fewer than five times. Why? During the prime of Monk’s career, why did Gary Clark have more catches, touchdowns and a better average per catch than Monk?
Anyway, those are three questions some on the committee would like to have answered. I’ll await your answers, and if they actually make sense, I’ll be happy to take them to the committee next year.
By the way, I believe that now that Michael Irvin has been elected that Monk will be close behind. But that’s just my opinion. I also believe Darrell Green deserves to be elected, and he’s eligible for the first time next year.