When I started this blog more than two years ago, this was the day I was working towards. In the beginning, I had no idea whether we could really help Art Monk get into the Hall of Fame, but I wanted to know why the voters were not voting for him.
I found out that the majority of voters were in fact voting for Monk, but a very small group was keeping him out. Some of these voters had actually written very positive things about Monk in earlier years, and were even willing to listen to reason. Many other fans joined the effort, and he was voted in faster than I could have expected.
But why Art Monk?
I was drawn to this cause by the inherent mystery of the situation. Everyone I knew could not understand why Art Monk wasn’t in the Hall. Former players and coaches, TV commentators, and sportswriters consistently cited Monk as the biggest Hall of Fame snub. The fact that Monk could not be inducted seemed absurd, and I just really wanted to know why.
Of course, I was also a big Art Monk fan. I was born at Washington Adventist Hospital in 1981, and grew up with the Joe Gibbs Redskins. The number 81 always had special meaning to me, and Art Monk was a standout on many great Redskins teams. I also felt a connection to Art’s personality, because I have never been the most outspoken person. Art Monk showed that it was possible to be great without being flashy. It was possible to show your skills without showing off. He was quiet, but his performance on the field did all the talking.
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Monk a few months ago, and while I was introduced to him somewhat embarassingly as one of his biggest fans and the author of this blog, he took everything in stride, and showed his appreciation in the understated fashion that is the hallmark of his personality.
I am about to leave my home in DC to get in a car to Canton, where I will watch Art give his induction speech. Tomorrow, I will see his bust in the Hall of Fame. It will be the culmination of two years of my work on this blog, but more importantly, it will be a celebration of Mr. Monk’s decades of contribution to football.
Congratulations, Art. You definitely deserve it.