The Art Monk Hall of Fame Campaign

Bob Oates

Bob Oates of the Los Angeles Times
E-mail: oatesinla@aol.com

Vote: Likely Yes (7/10)

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Los Angeles Times
January 20, 1988
Can the One-Man Gang Handle the Gang From Washington?
Bob Oates

Washington won the National Football Conference championship despite an injury roster that included Art Monk, its best receiver.

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Los Angeles Times
January 26, 1988
Super Bowl XXII; Washington Redskins vs. Denver Broncos; Stop Elway? Redskins Need Williams to Convert Third Downs
Bob Oates

Redskin tight end Clint Didier, 6-5 and 240, is another wide receiver-type requiring double coverage. But few teams can free two defensive players to cover a tight end. And the defensive problem thickens for any opponent whenever Art Monk is physically able to perform for the Redskins, as he will be this week.

Monk, 6-3 and 210, is a tight end-type playing wide receiver. He is one of the few real football players playing that position in this era of scatback receivers.

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Los Angeles Times
February 1, 1988
Super Bowl XXII; Redskins’ Balance Tips Scale Their Way
Bob Oates

With smart coaching, Williams is a quarterback who can do it all. He had proved this two weeks ago in the National Conference title game against the Minnesota Vikings, when many fans wondered why Gibbs didn’t pull him in the second quarter, or the third.

What most fans overlooked was an obvious fact: Williams was throwing the ball straight against Minnesota; it was his receivers who were misplaying it.

They misplayed it again in San Diego, to begin with, when Williams kept plugging away, hitting Art Monk with a timely pass for a first down on third and 16, finding a third target when he had to, or a fourth, throwing soft and straight when he had to, bombing the Broncos when he could.

So this was Williams’ second straight big game in a series of big games for the Redskins — a series in which, as a football team, they have been clearly on the come. It was in the Super Bowl that they arrived.

Under Gibbs, in other words, the Redskins peaked at just the right time, always the mark of good coaching.

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Los Angeles Times
October 13, 1991
Millen’s Pace Slows, But Not His Success
Bob Oates

Question: What’s good about the Redskins?

Millen: They have the commitment to success that you see in the NFL’s two or three other really solid organizations. Being a Plan B free agent (for the last three years) gives you a chance to pick out teams on (the rise).

Q: What’s different about the Redskins?

A: Of all the teams I’ve played for, the Redskins are the least talented. They’re also the hardest working. This is a team of overachievers — which must be what (owner) Jack Kent Cooke and (Coach) Joe Gibbs want. There are more overachievers here than you see on the Raiders and 49ers and several other clubs put together.

Q: What is your idea of a talented player?

A: Howie Long. Jim Kelly. There are no Howie Longs here, no Derrick Thomases, no Thurman Thomases. I happen to be an admirer of (Redskin receivers) Art Monk and Gary Clark — but when you get down in the dirt with those guys, the thing you notice isn’t their great talent but their great attitude.

Q: Some people admire at least four Washington defensive players — Mann, Marshall, Millen and Green — which sounds like a Washington law firm. Are you putting them down?

A: Not at all. (Defensive end) Charles Mann is at the upper end of the (ability) spectrum. There was a time when Darrell Green relied completely on speed, but now I’d put him up there with (former Raider) Mike Haynes — the best corner I’ve seen. (Linebacker) Wilber Marshall you know about. What I’m saying is that — as a group — we aren’t heavy with great players. The 49ers and Raiders have a lot more Greens and Manns.

Q: How does a football team succeed without talent in the NFL?

A: The (Redskins) do it with unusually sound offensive and defensive schemes, and with players who are a good match for those schemes. This club often gets a slow start on the season because the coaches spend so much time trying to find out who does what well. (Gibbs) spends more time and effort on that than anyone else I know. It’s the key to his success.

Q: Is it true that the Redskins reflect the coach’s personality?

A: Most teams do — this one, especially. (Gibbs) is an extremely down-to-earth person, and (his) is a blue-collar team. The focus is on results, not glamour. This is a team without celebrities — a strange team for Washington, D.C. Here’s this sophisticated political community — the most sophisticated in the country, in the world, probably — and here’s this very blue-collar team.

Q: As a place to work, how does Washington compare with Los Angeles and San Francisco?

A: My children love Washington — the Smithsonian, the monuments, the history — but I don’t really know. I seldom got into L.A. or San Francisco, either, except to play football. I love the slow life. I loved living in El Segundo, and then in Palo Alto.

Q: How do you stand the winters here?

A: I love all the seasons. Who you play for is what makes the difference — not where.

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Los Angeles Times
November 12, 1991
Today’s NFL Talent is Better than Ever
Bob Oates

Football fans familiar with pro football’s first 72 years divide into two groups when evaluating the last decade or so in the NFL.

There are those who call it an era of mediocrity. And there are those who say that football is better than ever.

Some support for the second view came the other day from the editors of Pro Football Weekly, who rated nine 1990s players as certain Hall of Famers in future voting.

They are quarterbacks Joe Montana and Dan Marino, wide receivers Jerry Rice and Art Monk, linebackers Lawrence Taylor and Mike Singletary, running back Eric Dickerson, tackle Anthony Munoz and safety Ronnie Lott.

In judging them, here’s one gauge: Few if any earlier NFL generations saw as many great players in action in any one era.

And the truth is that there are more than nine. Hall of Fame historian Joe Horrigan has a name for some: Hall of the Very Good.

Pro Football Weekly’s nominees for that Hall: running backs Marcus Allen and Ottis Anderson, tackle Jackie Slater, and defensive stars Howie Long and Joey Browner.

Better than ever? Football? Yes indeed.

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Los Angeles Times
November 19, 1991
Quality of Quarterbacks Hasn’t Slipped
Bob Oates

Player of the year: As NFC clubs won three of four interconference games Sunday, the unbeaten Washington Redskins, running the string to 11, routed the Pittsburgh Steelers, 41-14.

Even so, when wide receiver Art Monk fought his way through the Pittsburgh defense to get two early passes from quarterback Mark Rypien, the game was still on the line.

On plays of 53 and 11 yards, the 6-foot-3, 209-pound receiver set up a field goal and scored a touchdown, and for the Redskins, the rest was downhill.

At 33, Monk is probably the best player today. “He (almost) never drops the ball,” Redskin Coach Joe Gibbs said.

Said linebacker Matt Millen: “If all of us had Art’s attitude, we’d be undefeated every year.”

Last season, San Francisco 49er receiver Jerry Rice was probably the player of the year. In 1989, it could have been Montana. Before that, it could have been Chicago Bear linebacker Mike Singletary.

Earlier, when he was with the Green Bay Packers, it was wide receiver James Lofton — and Lofton isn’t far away today. But this is Monk’s year.

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Los Angeles Times
December 10, 1991
Backups Are Coming to the Forefront
Bob Oates

Quote Department:

Gary Clark, Redskin receiver, who has led his team in yards and touchdowns for seven years: “We all want to be the best receiver on the team, but we know that Art Monk is.”

Mark Rypien, Redskin quarterback: “It’s going to be a kick for me to be the guy who throws the pass to Art Monk (next year) when he breaks Steve Largent’s record.”

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Los Angeles Times
January 22, 1992
Redskins Habe Been a Big Part of NFC’s Dominance
Bob Oates

The Redskins are coached by Joe Gibbs, who, by this hour next week, could be a three-time Super Bowl winner.

Only one other NFL team has done more lately. The San Francisco 49ers, as organized by their 1980s coach, Bill Walsh, are a four-time Super Bowl winner.

And, no doubt, there lies most of the explanation: The NFC has dominated the NFL since the 1981 season — winning nine of 10 Super Bowl games — for, apparently, two principal reasons: Walsh and Gibbs.

The teams these two created won the Super Bowl in 1982, ’83, ’85, ’88, ’89 and ’90 — six of the last 10.

Walsh, the winning coach three times, left the 49ers with the talent, the coaches and the system to produce their 1990 victory.

Walsh and Gibbs both began in pro ball as assistant coaches in the other conference. Had they been promoted by their AFC owners in San Diego and Cincinnati, the AFC, conceivably, could now be dominant.

In the years shortly before the NFC’s Walsh-Gibbs revolution, AFC teams won eight of nine.

Walsh has returned to Stanford after a stint on television, but Gibbs shows no signs of retreat.

“It’s still fun,” Gibbs said this week of his life in pro football.

As he sees it, his present offensive team is the best he has had. And his defensive team is getting to be a match for the others.

The anatomy of the Redskins:
 
THE SYSTEM

The strength of Gibbs’ team is his system. Unlike the 49ers, who won four times with one quarterback, Joe Montana, the Redskins have been led by three winners: Joe Theismann in Super Bowl XVII, Doug Williams in XXII, and Mark Rypien this season.

In Redskin football, the players are subordinate to the system, a structured, balanced entity on both sides of the ball. The offensive system is based on a lot of pre-snap shifting, a lot of motion, a single running back, three receivers at times, three tight ends at times and a careful mix of runs and passes.

The Redskins never forget to run outside, to pass down the middle, to call screens and draws, or to call the other basic plays that can be neglected so easily in big-game pressure.

As for replacements, the parts in their system have all proved interchangeable in trades or the draft. For example, this year’s John Riggins is Earnest Byner, who alternates with Ricky Ervins to run exactly the same plays, though at confusingly different tempos.

Each year, Gibbs updates Redskin strategy, incorporating, say, elements of the run-and-shoot or of the Buffalo no-huddle. But the system remains.

And so the matchup Sunday is Buffalo’s individual stars vs. the Washington system. It’s because the stars are so bright that it has the look of an even game.
 
OFFENSE

The Redskins have only two running plays in their basic offense — a power run and a counter play.

To the defense, these plays look exactly alike at the snap, when the single back makes a power lunge. An instant later, he has either developed it into a full-blown power play or he has countered sharply in the other direction.

Such an offense is hardest on the four linebackers in a defense such as the Bills’ 3-4. Such linebackers, coached to flow to the ball, can only be guessing if they move with the running back’s first step.

If the defense brings up a safety to help out, quarterback Rypien is a threat to strike with a long pass to a single-covered receiver.

The primary Redskin receivers, Art Monk and Gary Clark, rank fourth and fifth this season in NFC passes caught. The tackles in Washington’s huge, efficient offensive line, Jim Lachey and Joe Jacoby, rank with the NFL’s best. And Rypien is the No. 2-ranked passer.

Rypien has come from nowhere to stardom in the last six months. Some critics still don’t believe in him, but it’s all over for Buffalo if Super Bowl XXVI is another of his big games this season.
 
DEFENSE

The Redskin defensive team will fight the Buffalo no-huddle offense with substitutes who are poised like sprinters along the sideline. The instant a whistle ends any Buffalo play, the appropriate Redskin situation players will rush in before Buffalo quarterback Jim Kelly can call the next play.

That is one scenario being readied by Redskin defensive coach Richie Petitbon. “We can get our (substitutes) in,” Petitbon promised.

In another scenario, Petitbon, who is a George Allen protege, will fight Kelly with the Redskins’ 11 best combination run-pass defensive players, including end Charles Mann, linebacker Wilber Marshall and cornerback Darrell Green.

Washington’s eight other defensive starters are anonymous Plan B refugees who fit the Redskin scheme as if drafted for it. The scheme rests on an intelligent mix of coverages and fronts with occasional timely blitzing.

The defense, like the offense, is steady rather than flashy on this solid, complete team. The Redskins are No. 4 on offense, No. 3 on defense, No. 7 rushing, No. 3 in rushing defense, and, most significantly, No. 1 in average yards passing and No. 2 in average yards yielded to passes.
 
SPECIAL TEAMS

The Redskin punter, Kelly Goodburn, ranks 26th in net average, but Gibbs’ kicking game is otherwise a strength under one of the NFL’s leading special-team coaches, Wayne Sevier. The club’s No. 4 running back, Brian Mitchell, is the star of the special teams, ranking second for average in his specialty, returning punts. Mitchell and Ervins return kickoffs. The Redskin kicker, Chip Lohmiller, is more reliable than most.

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Los Angeles Times
January 28, 1992
With Gibbs, Rypien, Look For Redskins Again Next Season
Bob Oates

For two reasons in particular, the Washington Redskins have a better chance to keep winning Super Bowls in the 1990s than their predecessors had in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s:

— Washington Coach Joe Gibbs, 52, has a system in place that promotes longevity. He and his people are so organized that they are winning almost effortlessly, as they did Sunday, when they overwhelmed the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVI, 37-24.

— Washington quarterback Mark Rypien, 29, who appeared to be a bust as recently as six months ago, has played about as well this season as any quarterback ever, and he looks as if he could keep doing it for another five or 10 years.

“The key for us in (Sunday’s) game is that Rypien got knocked around and came back to make the big plays,” Gibbs said Monday.

Quarterbacks Dan Marino, Joe Namath and Joe Montana have all shown more brilliance than Rypien probably will ever show. They are all geniuses of a sort, and Rypien is no genius.

But few quarterbacks have projected Rypien’s substance and stability, and fewer still have displayed his long-ball touch.

“My objective is to come back and put together four or five years of consistency,” he said Monday.

That could happen.

A Redskin future: As defending champions in the last quarter of a century, most NFL teams couldn’t cut it. And the Redskins haven’t been an exception.

Their history under Gibbs is that they win the Super Bowl every four or five years — they won it with their ’82, ’87 and ’91 teams — and then tail off.

Gibbs’ ’83 players were humiliated by the Raiders, 38-9, in Super Bowl XVIII. His ’88 team fell to 7-9.

His ’91 champions have two advantages that earlier Redskins lacked:

— The winning quarterbacks in ’82 and ’87, Joe Theismann and Doug Williams, were aging, beaten up and near retirement, unlike Rypien, whose best football is still ahead.

If Gibbs’ winning three Super Bowls with three different quarterbacks says something for his coaching, it also speaks to the lack of continuity he has put up with at his most important position.

— Gibbs and his coaches are more experienced. They learned something when they were clobbered by the Raiders. After some 10 years, they have learned more.

This is the most experienced bunch in the NFL, as well as the most consistently successful. If you’re a pro coach elsewhere, you can’t look to the future with a great deal of hope.

The difference: The Gibbs system will be something to reckon with as long as he’s in the league.

Not that it’s necessarily for everybody. The run-and-shoot, as operated by Detroit and Houston, and the Buffalo no-huddle, when it’s working, are potentially more lethal. If Gibbs were just coming into football, he might well change styles.

“I’m very much taken with the run-and-shoot,” he said. “There really isn’t any way to stop a four-wide (-receiver), one-back offense.”

Over the last 11 years, however, Gibbs has won more NFL games than any other coach. And he has invested so much energy in mastering his own one-back system — which alternates three or four wide receivers with three or four tight ends — that he won’t leave it now.

It’s a beautiful system, particularly with players as competent as Art Monk, Earnest Byner and Rypien.

One mark of a good offense is the way it gets its receivers in the clear. The real difference between Washington and Buffalo was that Rypien’s receivers were almost always open, and Jim Kelly’s almost never were. The sophistication of the Buffalo offense simply didn’t match the sophistication of that of the Redskins.

Injury luck: This was a season when the Redskins upheld one Super Bowl tradition, as stated by former coach Sid Gillman: “The NFL champion is always the healthiest good team.”

From their first game to the 19th, the Redskins started the same offensive and defensive players, even at quarterback.

In part, this was because of Gibbs’ coaching. The offensive line was taught that a sack is unacceptable. Rypien was taught how to avoid punishment by dispensing the ball quickly.

In part, it was done in training, where nothing is hit or miss at Redskin Park.

“If I got hurt, it wasn’t going to be because of a lack of conscientious training,” Rypien said.

And in large part, it was because of good luck.

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Los Angeles Times
October 6, 1992
Attention to Records Helps Everyone
Bob Oates

In the first five minutes here Sunday, the Washington Redskins twice threw to Art Monk, their 34-year-old wide receiver.

The first was a bit over his head. When the second connected, Monk had caught passes in 136 consecutive games, moving a step closer to the only NFL players ahead of him, Ozzie Newsome at 150 and Steve Largent at 177.

Are records important? The Redskins think so. Though upset in Phoenix, 27-24, they romped through a 17-0 first half in which Joe Gibbs, their play-calling coach, took no chances: He went to Monk early.

“Art is such a great football player,” said Charley Taylor, a Redskin pass-offense coach who, as a Hall of Fame receiver, is an expert on the subject. “We want him to have everything he deserves.”

The most important number that Monk is reaching for this season is the big one in the NFL’s pass-receiving book: most catches in a career.

With 813 after pulling in three more on Sunday, he needs six in next Monday’s Denver game to tie Largent’s record 819 for Seattle from 1976 through ’89.

One-man club: Curiously, pro football, hasn’t been very record-conscious over the years.

Baseball, for instance, got excited this season when Robin Yount and George Brett each got hit No. 3,000. That figure is nowhere near the all-time best. In fact, 16 other players are in the 3,000-hit club.

By comparison, if and when Monk catches his 820th pass, he will be in a one-man club.

The Redskins, however, respect all achievements.

“It’s good for (Monk) and us to be a record-smasher,” Taylor said of Monk’s charge for first place in two NFL categories.

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Los Angeles Times
October 10, 1992
Esteem Heat; Self-Effacing Art Monk Has an Eye on NFL Reception Record – And Far Beyond
Bob Oates

After a long workout last month in the stifling heat of Ashburn, Va., most of the Washington Redskins dragged themselves slowly over to the bench and lined up at the water coolers.

Most — but not Art Monk.

Heading the other way, Monk, the Redskins’ senior wide receiver, walked briskly up to the referee who had been brought in for the day to discuss the NFL’s new rules.

Then, ignoring the heat and his aching muscles, he strode vigorously toward the club’s headquarters building — the new one, which isn’t far from his old Virginia home — and disappeared at the locker room door.

At 34, standing 6 feet 3, the 210-pound Monk might be the NFL’s best-preserved physical specimen.

“He’s our premier guy as far as fitness and preparing himself to play the game,” Redskin Coach Joe Gibbs said.

When he makes his 820th catch, Monk will become the most prolific pass receiver of all time. It might happen during the Redskin-Denver Bronco game Monday night at Washington. With seven catches, he would break the NFL record set by Steve Largent of the Seattle Seahawks in 1976-89.

“As far as those kind of records, that’s maybe in the (top two),” Gibbs said, noting that only two baseball players have hit 700 home runs, and that only two football players have caught 800 passes.

But 820 won’t be enough for Monk.

“Art has had (1,000 catches) as a goal for some time,” said Hall of Famer Charley Taylor, a Redskin offensive coach.

That would be an accomplishment in a league that Raymond Berry left after 631, Fred Biletnikoff after 589 and Lance Alworth after 542.

Yet, as unlikely as it seems to many old-timers, Monk could get to 1,000 in two years, sometime in 1994. He has averaged 74 catches throughout his 30s, 67 lifetime. In 1994, he won’t turn 37 until Dec. 5.

Despite Monk’s success, many fans aren’t exactly sure who he is. On the field, he never draws attention to himself. Off the field, his first order of business is to duck attention.

After the Redskin game last weekend, Monk was asked about his success several times — near his locker, near the shower room door, near the Redskin bus outside, and at the airport, but he didn’t answer.

Last summer, at a hastily arranged news conference, Monk, with his record bid imminent, was goaded by the Redskin publicity department into replying briefly to a few questions. But he hasn’t spoken with reporters before or since.

Apparently, it isn’t that he dislikes or distrusts the media. Those who know him say that if he dislikes or distrusts anyone, it is Art Monk. He rates himself as merely another receiver on a team with superb receiving, they say, and he believes that he isn’t good enough to deserve the focus that has been increasingly on him at the expense of the others.

And his attitude is nothing new.

At Syracuse in 1980, he was surprised when the Redskins drafted him during the first round, he told college friends at the time. And since then, apparently, he has continuously undervalued himself.

But in his many doubts about himself, Monk stands alone on the Redskins.

“Art can do anything he wants to do,” said teammate Gary Clark, who has caught more than 500 passes in slightly more than seven years.

“We all want to be the (best receiver), but we know he’s the best. He’s the best because he works the year around on catching and conditioning.”

Among other things, Clark said, Monk watches his weight despite a lifelong weakness for candy bars.

Only once last season, according to Washington writer Richard Justice, did Monk go out to lunch with Clark and the other receivers. There were double cheeseburgers all around, except for Monk, who ordered an apple.

“Made me sick,” Clark said.

As Clark sees it, there are two unusual things about his quiet friend:

Monk thinks of himself as a good musician more than as a top receiver.

Brought up in a musical family to play trombone, he also plays tuba, guitar and drums. Once at a National Symphony Orchestra concert, he was on stage as a children’s program annotator. His sister is a professional gospel singer. His second cousin was the late jazz pianist Thelonious Monk.

“I just don’t see myself on that level (with the best receivers),” Monk said during last summer’s news conference.

These feelings of insecurity prompt Monk to work at football year-round and then to play every game at the top of his game.

And if in time he catches 1,000 passes — almost 200 more than anyone else has ever caught — it will be evident that the talent he denies made it possible, and that his sense of inadequacy made it inevitable.

Some say it is inevitable because:

— Although he isn’t the best receiver in the country today, among those who play his position, he is by far the best football player.

— He is the NFL’s most complete receiving package. Others have specialized as short-pass possession receivers, or third-down experts, or deep threats. Monk has the speed to do it all.

— He is willing to go anywhere to catch the ball. Many of the so-called “pure receivers” drop the ball when running over the middle or fail to run the pattern out, or, as the defensive backs say, short-arm the ball. Not Monk.

“It takes a tough guy to go in there,” Gibbs said. “Some of them will go in, but they won’t really look for the ball. (Monk) does.”

— Monk also has the work habits to maintain his physical condition into his late 30s and 40s.

— As a Redskin receiver, playing alongside such good fellow receivers as Clark and Ricky Sanders, Monk is rarely double-covered.

— He is a pro’s pro on a pro’s pro kind of team. Everyone respects the Redskins.

*

In Great Falls, Va., Monk lives as quietly as he plays and works, avoiding neighbors as if they were sportswriters.

He lives on a lake in a three-level contemporary house with his wife, who was a Syracuse classmate, and their three children.

For Monk, it isn’t like the old days in White Plains, N.Y., where he and his sister spent their early childhood in an apartment above a church rented by their father, a welder, and mother, a housemaid in nearby Scarsdale.

The lake that edges the Monk property is stocked with the fish that he and his son go after regularly and devotedly. Fishing has always been Monk’s primary avocation. During the week before the Super Bowl in Minneapolis, he made time for ice fishing.

Monk also has a big room full of computers.

His multi-year Redskin contract, paying more than $1.1 million per year, will expire after the season. It was negotiated by his lawyer, Richard Bennett, who joined him in the Syracuse days and now lives nearby.

They are expected to seek $2 million per year next year. But as always, Monk probably will take what the Redskins give him. In 13 years, he has never held out.

He probably never has thought of it.
 
Catching On

All-time leaders in receptions in the NFL:
PLAYER: NO.
1. Steve Largent: 819
2. x-Art Monk: 813
3. Charlie Joiner: 750
4. x-James Lofton: 718
5. Ozzie Newsome: 662
6. Charley Taylor: 649
7. Don Maynard: 633
8. Raymond Berry: 631
9. Harold Carmichael: 590
10. Fred Biletnikoff: 589
x-Active.
 
How Monk Rates

Most Receptions, Season

106 — Monk, Washington (1984)
101 — Charley Hennigan, Houston (1984)
100 — Lionel Taylor, Denver (1961)
Jerry Rice, San Francisco (1990)
Haywood Jeffires, Houston (1991)

Most Seasons, 50+ Receptions
10 — Steve Largent, Seattle (1976, 78-81, 83-87)
9 — Monk, Washington (1980-81, 84-86, 88-91)
8 — James Lofton, Green Bay (1979-81, 83-86) Buffalo (1991)

Receptions, Most Consecutive Games
177 — Steve Largent, Seattle
150 — Ozzie Newsome, Cleveland
132 — Art Monk, Washington

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Los Angeles Times
October 20, 1992
Johnson Has the Weapons to be Confident
Bob Oates

— Hall of Famer Raymond Berry, Denver receiver coach, on what it takes to set a record — most passes caught — that was once his and now belongs to the Redskins’ Art Monk: “Durability and being with an organization that’s got it together, including a coach and a quarterback.”

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Los Angeles Times
February 1, 2004
Elway, Sanders Receive Hall Passes; They make it to Canton in first year of eligibility. Vikings’ Eller, lineman Brown had longer wait.
Bob Oates

For Saturday’s other Hall of Fame finalists, it never happened at all. The two who came closest, reaching the round of six players before their ultimate rejection, were two former Dallas Cowboys, tackle Rayfield Wright and late receiver Bob Hayes.

Of the finalists, four couldn’t survive the first cut: Raider cornerback Lester Hayes, Washington wide receiver Art Monk, Denver tackle Gary Zimmerman and late New York Giant General Manager George Young.

Lasting into the round of 10 but not thereafter were Dallas safety Cliff Harris, Miami guard Bob Kuechenberg, Giant linebacker Harry Carson and Chicago defensive end Richard Dent.

On the voting panel were all 39 members of the selection committee, most of them veteran sportswriters. For election, 80% aye votes were required.

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Superbowl.com Blog
January 29, 2006
Missing Oates
Vic Carucci

I was saddened by the news that Bob Oates, who had been among a small group of journalists to have covered every Super Bowl, will not be on hand for this one. The 90-year-old Oates, who still writes about the NFL for the Los Angeles Times, will remain in Southern California to be with his wife, Marnie, who was badly injured after a recent fall. Being part of the elite group that has been on hand for all of the first 39 Super Bowls is a tremendous source of pride for Bob. He had every intention of maintaining the streak for at least the next decade, and if you’ve ever been around the guy, you would have no doubt about his ability to do exactly that. But I also know that nothing can match his love and devotion for Marnie, his wife of 64 years. A Super Bowl party would not be complete without seeing this vibrant couple on the dance floor, showing moves that would put to shame a vast majority of men and women a third of their age. I have a special place in my heart for Bob. When I was 13, I was so fascinated by a feature piece on Bob that one of the TV networks aired as part of a pregame show it inspired me to want to become a football writer.

3 Comments »

  1. Is Marcus Monk, Arkansas’s running back, Art Monk’s son?

    Comment by Doris Leabo — November 24, 2006 @ 4:07 pm

  2. 81 Reasons to Induct Art Monk

    1) 12,721 Receiving Yards (#9 all time, eight years after retirement)

    2) 940 Receptions ( was #1, is now #5 eight years after retiring)

    3) 68 Receiving Touchdowns (still in top 30, all time)

    4) 224 Games played

    5) Caught at least one pass in 183 consecutive games (once a record)

    6) Helped Washington to three SB victories in four appearances.

    7) Three consecutive Pro Bowl Selections

    8) “Art was Jerry Rice before Jerry Rice was” – Joe Theismann

    9) Record of 106 receptions in 1984 stood for eight years.

    10) “Quiet about his work, very loud with his results” – Mark Rypien

    11) First to record 106 receptions in one season

    12) First to catch at least one pass in 164 consecutive games

    13) First to catch more than 900 passes.

    14) Caught 58 passes as a rookie, unanimous All-Rookie Selection

    15) Redskins 1984 MVP

    16) 50 or more reception in a season 9 times

    17) 1,000 or more yards receiving in a season 5 times

    18) Master of the medium route over the middle, aka “No Man’s Land”

    19) First Redskin to produce 3 consecutive 1,000-yard seasons

    20) Prototype for the modern receiver

    21) 3-time 1st or 2nd team All-NFC Team selection

    22) In ’85, named to the Pro Football Weekly All-Pro Team

    23) In ’85, named to the Associated Press All-Pro Team

    24) In ’85, named to the UPI All-NFL Team

    25) In ’86, named to the UPI All-NFC Team

    26) Founded the Good Samaritan Foundation, with teammates.

    27) 1, 062 Playoff yards

    28) Largent, Lofton and Stallworth are already in.

    29) The consummate pro; made the big catch, went back to the huddle.

    30) Not a “Hot Dog”; let his play on the field do all the talking.

    31) Nicknamed “Money” by teammates, “Artist” by the fans

    32) Founded the Student Training Opportunity Program, with teammates

    33) Started the Art Monk Football Camp” in 1983, and it’s still going.

    34) 16-year career, 0 arrests.

    35) Named to TSN’s “100 Greatest Football Players” list

    36) Never once disappointed the team or the fans, on the field or off.

    37) A first round draft pick that played like a first round draft pick.

    38) Has more career catches than anyone currently in the Hall.

    39) Putting loud jerks in over Monk sends the wrong message to kids.

    40) Art does not lobby to get himself inducted

    41) First down machine on 3rd and long

    42) Still holds the club record for catches in a season (106)

    43) Still holds the club record for passes caught in a game (13, twice)

    44) Honored as one of the “Washingtonians of the Year” in 1992

    45) Focuses on the forgotten “high school aged” youth in DC.

    46) “I don’t know about the criteria, but whatever it is, I believe Art has achieved it” –Joe Theismann

    47) “He was big, he was strong, and he was intelligent. He had everything”-Joe Gibbs, HOF inductee

    48) “Art Monk was an example for Jerry Rice. That’s what Jerry always told me.”- Ronnie Lott, HOF inductee

    49) “There’s nothing negative to say. He has the numbers, the catches, the championships.” –Lott

    50) “Spend a day with Art Monk, and your life will improve by 10%”- Theismann

    51) “You have a Hall of Fame for all it represents. I know he represents all that it’s about. Integrity, love and passion for the game, community, what he gave back. Look how he conducted himself. Nobody I know deserves it more.” –Lott

    52) If he doesn’t get in, they might as well close the Hall.

    53) “There was never a classier player in this franchise’s history, or in league history, than Art Monk. You always knew the team would be getting Art Monk’s best effort day in and day out.” –Charlie Casserly

    54) “Monk is headed to Canton downhill on roller skates”- Bill Parcells, 1995

    55) Only one other player, linebacker Monte Coleman, has been on the field for the Redskins more than Monk.

    56) Art Monk is almost as proud of his relative anonymity as he is the record-setting numbers he compiled over a 16-year NFL career.

    57) When Monk spoke, it was usually with tough catches in the clutch moments of big games.

    58) Nothing came naturally for Monk, who spent countless hours on the practice field and many more behind the projector.

    59) I never saw Monk drop a pass. Period.

    60) Monk’s 40-yard catch with eight minutes left in the first quarter of SBXXII was Doug Williams’ first completion of what would be a record setting game.

    61) Named in a 1992 poll during the team’s 50th Anniversary Season as the most popular Redskin of all time.

    62) Participates in a “Kid’s Fishing Day” for underprivileged kids

    63) Has performed with the National Symphony Orchestra, reciting children’s fairy tales with musical accompaniment.

    64) “He’s more than just his receptions. Few players have been able to achieve what he’s achieved.” –Richie Petitbon

    65) “He is a gifted athlete who takes great care of himself. He’s a guy who works at his craft, and responds to any challenge. However, he does it so quietly that his accomplishments are sometimes overlooked.”- Joe Gibbs

    66) Selected to the 1989 All-Madden Team

    67) Early in his career, Art arranged and scheduled charity basketball games for the Redskins.

    68) “I can’t see how a receiver could be more valuable to a team.” –Gibbs

    69) Fame is often hard earned. Character is often elusive to define. A man of great character himself, Art Monk encompasses what it means to be a candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

    70) Monk wasn’t a “SportsCenter” type of receiver — more like a “Masterpiece Theatre” type.

    71) You wouldn’t see Monk pull out a Sharpie to sign a ball after scoring a touchdown.

    72) “He embodied the old school, and for that alone he should be enshrined so that when a father takes his son through the Hall of Fame, he can say, “Son, here is a man who once caught 106 passes in a season when no one was catching 100 passes. Here was a man who caught a pass in 183 straight games. And not once did he ever pull a cell phone out to make a call after any of those catches.” –Thomas Loverro, Washington Times

    73) Football is a game of first downs and Monk was the receiver who would move the chains.

    74) He has since been passed in this pass-crazy era, but in the context of when he played, Art Monk was a Hall of Fame receiver.

    75) He did this while never playing with a Hall of Fame-caliber quarterback.

    76) Critics will say Monk benefited from playing in Joe Gibbs’ system. What might be the case is that the Gibbs system benefited from having Monk.

    77) “I believe he’s a Hall of Famer. I was a pro scout when he was playing, so it was my job to know who those guys were. I would put Art in that category, but apparently there are a lot of Hall of Fame voters who don’t feel Art Monk was in that category. It’s hard for me to believe they ever saw him play.” –Bill Polian, President Indianapolis Colts

    78) He was the anti-Terrell Owens.

    79) He was the standard-bearer, the mold-maker and the receiver every team of his era wished they’d had.

    80) He’s already a Hall Of Famer off the field.

    81) It’s time.

    Comment by Mark Barnette — January 10, 2007 @ 10:25 pm

  3. 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 @ 9:59 am


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