The Art Monk Hall of Fame Campaign

Bernie Miklasz

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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Vote: Fighting for Art Monk (10/10)

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
January 26, 1992
Will Redskins’ Rypien Be a January Man?
Bernie Miklasz

For the first time, Rypien started every game. ”Everyone was kind of skeptical about how he would play,” wide receiver Art Monk said. ”Truthfully, he’s kind of surprised everyone the way he’s taken over the leadership role.” Rypien passed for 3,564 yards in the regular season and added 398 yards and two more touchdowns in a pair of playoff routs.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
January 27, 1992
Rypien Tosses Aside Doubts in MVP Effort
Bernie Miklasz

In the second half, after the Bills had rallied to close to 24-10, Rypien gunned a 30-yard touchdown to wide receiver Gary Clark on a corner pattern. The touchdown put the Redskins up 31-10 and deflated the Bills. It was a clutch drive for Rypien. It was a drive that put him, and his team, over the top. ”Mark has come a long way,” said wide receiver Art Monk, who combined with Clark to make 14 catches for 227 yards.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
January 15, 2005
Deserving Wehrli has slim chance to enter Hall
Bernie Miklasz

Only six, maximum, can be voted in. First-time eligible Dan Marino is a lock. First-timers Steve Young and Derrick Thomas are virtual locks. Another first-timer, Michael Irvin, will get votes. The two senior committee nominees (Benny Friedman and Fritz Pollard) will receive significant support. And others who have made it to the final 15 in previous years — including Art Monk, Bob Kuechenberg, Harry Carson, Richard Dent and George Young — can count on a number of voters sticking with them.

Bernie’s Pressbox
04 Feb 2006
Pro Football Hall of Fame Update

Very tough ballot. Amazing group of talent. We had spirited debate and discussion. Some of the longtime veteran voters said it was the most difficult ballot in the history of Pro Football Hall of Fame voting.

I am especially disappointed and surprised that Monk got eliminated at all — and stunned that it happened on the first ballot. I did a lot of research and made a secondary presentation on his behalf, but to no avail.

Bernie’s Pressbox
04 Feb 2006
Pro Football Hall of Fame Update

On Art Monk’s credentials…

Three Pro Bowls: Same as Swann and Joiner, and they’re in the Hall of Fame.

The “heart” of that Redskins team was John Riggins.

Number of Pro Bowls for Riggo: 1.

Pro Bowls are just one barometer but hardly tell the entire story.

The dude (Monk) was the constant on a team that won three Super Bowls. He had four QBs during that time. The were three different 1,000 yard backs during that time. Charlie Brown started two Super Bowls opposite Monk, and Gary Clark started two Super Bowls opposite Monk. He was the one constant among skill position players. Yes, Joe Gibbs was the HC and offensive wizard. But Monk actually preceded Gibbs into Washington and was a productive WR before Gibbs’ arrival.

I don’t know….you star for three Super Bowl champions, and you retired with 121 more catches than any receiver who ever played in the NFL? Sounds like a Hall of Famer to me.

Moreover, Monk was a big WR and a great downfield blocker — Gibbs has told me many times that Monk was a key to their running game, because he could take on linebackers and create some room for Riggins, Rogers, Riggs, etc.

Monk was a very underrated postseason performer. Monk hurt in a couple of Super Bowls, but what about getting to the Super Bowls?

In his career, Monk played in 15 postseason games and had 69 catches for 1,062 yards and 7 TDs.

Compared to other Hall of Fame WRs, of the era that’s more postseason catches AND yards than Biletnikoff, Lofton, Swann, Warfield, Stallworth. And all of them played roughly the same amount of postseason games except for Lofton, who played in 12.

People diss Monk because he didn’t have a high TD total. This is true. Well, wonder why? In the red zone Gibbs pounded the ball. And Monk was routinely double covered. That’s why. Some complain that he averaged 13.5 yards per catch….well, yes. he was a possession receiver. He moved the chains. He caught everything in traffic and pushed the Redskins up the field with his receptions good for first downs.

Until Monk, every WR who had retired as the all-time leading receiver was voted into Canton. I’m not sure why my fellow voters are drawing the line on Monk. He played for a ground-based team, and he played before the real explosion of WR totals, and he still had 940 catches for a team that won three SB rings.

Keeping him out of the Hall because he was a possession receiver is like keeping Tony Gwynn out of the baseball Hall because he hit too many singles.

I think it’s crazy…. that Redskins team went to four Super Bowls and won three…. and they have ONE Hall of Fame player from that era… John Riggins. Seems wrong. Where are the Hogs? Grimm, maybe Jacoby? One of the best O lines in NFL history, and a WR who retired with more catches than anybody. But one Redskin is in there from that era. I don’t get it. But that’s just me.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
February 10, 2007
Media Views: Writer assisted on Wehrli’s Hall bid
Dan Caesar

Roger Wehrli intercepts a pass in a 1977 game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Usually journalists are covering stories, not being part of them.

But that wasn’t the case last weekend when Post-Dispatch sports columnist and KSLG (1380 AM) sports talk show co-host Bernie Miklasz was doing both.

Miklasz, representing St. Louis in the meeting of 40 media members who cover pro football, was making the pitch for Roger Wehrli to the voters who were selecting this year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame class.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had a happier day in sportswriting,” Miklasz said. “My stomach was doing flips. I was just really fired up. It was an absolute thrill to pull this off.” Advertisement
Howard Balzer was one of the voters and was in the room.

“His presentation was very measured; it was done well,” said Balzer, also of KSLG. “It was a big factor, certainly. And it helped that guys came in with open minds. Who knows what swayed it, but he presented a strong case.”

Making the case

Miklasz did extensive research on Wehrli’s career, including gaining testimonials from former standout quarterbacks Roger Staubach and Sonny Jurgensen, personnel guru Ron Wolf and former Raiders coach and longtime NFL broadcaster John Madden.

Miklasz also had statistical information that was augmented by Cardinals executive Greg Gladysiewski, who has been with the club since its St. Louis days. Gladysiewski came up with a gem, the fact that in the 1970s half of Wehrli’s interceptions either stopped the foe on a drive in which it could have tied the game or taken the lead, or gave the Big Red the ball in a spot in which they could tie or take the lead.

Miklasz said he also stressed that there were only seven pure cornerbacks in the Hall, that it was an underrepresented position, and that Wehrli had very little help from standout pass rushers. He said only once did the Cardinals have a defensive lineman make a Pro Bowl, let alone the Hall of Fame, in his 14-year career.

“The only guy to be a Pro Bowler was somebody named ‘Brooks’ and I made the point I don’t even know who he is, I never heard of him,” Miklasz said. “People laughed, but I think I scored big points with that. Plus, they wouldn’t throw at him because he was so good.”

Even though Miklasz was armed with the testimonials and stats, he still had to make a winning presentation.

“It’s almost like a lawyer’s closing argument,” he said. “You can’t just write a speech and drone on, because people fall asleep. You also can’t come on too strong and brow-beat people, because that backfires. And you can’t rely only on stats. You have to make it interesting, throw some humor in.”

He said he had a wee-hours brainstorm before the voting, writing out his presentation in longhand until nearly 5 a.m. — two hours before he had to be at the meeting. It worked, as his oration helped Wehrli survive the first cut, from 17 candidates to 10 (which actually became 11 because of a voting tie). But because only a maximum of six candidates make the Hall, Miklasz had to keep campaigning.

Round 2

The second presentation runs only about 90 seconds, and Miklasz went last because the candidates are discussed alphabetically. Among those ahead of Wehrli were the two players nominated by the senior committee, and Miklasz said the voters were told, “If you don’t vote them in now, they’ll fade away.”

(Both, Gene Hickerson and Charlie Sanders, ended up being elected.)

“I saw people in the room nodding,” Miklasz said. “So I thought, ‘I’m going to appeal to the same logic because it looks like it’s going over pretty well.’ So I said, ‘Listen, this is Roger Wehrli’s last chance (to make it in conventional voting). You obviously think enough of him to make him one of the finalists, so let’s think about this logically. If you don’t vote him in today he goes to the senior committee, where he either will fade away — which you don’t want because you think enough of him to put him in the final 11 — or if he doesn’t fade away, the senior committee is going to nominate him two or three years from now and he’s going to take the place of another deserving senior.’

“I said, ‘Think about this logically. What’s the point of rejecting him now when we can take care of him now and take care of other players later?’ I saw people nodding, and some told me later that was a great closing argument and it tipped the balance for them.”

This isn’t the first time a local media member has been involved in getting a former Cardinals player into the Hall. Jack Buck lobbied hard for Dan Dierdorf, who finally made it in 1996, and Jackie Smith, who was elected in 1994. Buck was so mad after Smith had narrowly missed the previous year that he threw a clipboard across a room when Smith missed out.


  1. Before Jerry Rice it was Monk hands down. 90% of his catches were for 1st downs on 3rd down. If you guys vote in M Irving before Monk you need your votes taken away.

    Comment by Mark Barnette — January 10, 2007 @ 10:16 pm

  2. In considering Monk vs. Cris Carter, Tim Brown and Andre Reed, it should be noted that Monk’s personal playoff stats are the best of the bunch. His yards per game, catches per game, and yards per catch numbers beat out those of Carter, Brown, and Reed. Carter and Reed have Very Small advantages in TDs per game, while Monk beats out Brown even in this category. Playoff TD numbers are close, even though all of these other guys played in passing-first offenses, while Monk’s Redskins teams were power running teams at heart. If you compare each of these guys’ numbers in NFC/AFC Championship games, Monk sweeps ALL categories, outgaining the next best candidate by nearly 40 YARDS a game!
    Not only this, but Monk and the Redskins faced Much better competition in their playoff games. If you compare these candidates based on the number of Super Bowl winners and losers they played during their post season exploits, you’ll find that Monk and the ‘Skins come out WAY on top.
    Consider these purely anectdotal facts: Carter and the Vikings lost their two NFC Championship game appearances to the Chris Chandler-led Atlanta Falcons and the Kerry Collins-led NY Giants. Monk and the ‘Skins NEVER lost a playoff game to a team that was more than 2 years removed from a Super Bowl championship. I’ve created a statistic to compare the greatness of playoff opponents called the POGQ (playoff opponent greatness quotient) which I will not trouble you with here. Suffice to say, Monk and the ‘Skins win out in that comparison. Not only that, the teams who Monk and the ‘Skins faced in the playoffs actually had a higher regular season winning percentage than those faced by Carter, Brown or Reed.

    So Monk put up better personal playoff numbers, while his team was winning a higher percentage of their playoff games, against stronger playoff competition, and bringing home Super Bowl rings.
    All those pro bowls these other guys went to must look pretty insignificant.

    I have prepared a powerpoint presentation on this subject. If the person running this site would like a copy, please e-mail me and let me know where I can send it as an attachment.

    Comment by remember the redskins — September 28, 2007 @ 9:58 am

  3. We owe Bernie a big thank you for the support he gave to Monk over the years. Thanks, Bernie!

    Comment by remember the redskins — July 7, 2008 @ 9:54 am

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