The Art Monk Hall of Fame Campaign

Cliff Christl

Cliff Christl of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Vote: Fighting Against Art Monk (0/10)

JS Online: Weblog
Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2005
Hall of Fame Meeting
Cliff Christl

This year, we’ve been criticized mainly for not selecting Michael Irvin and Derrick Thomas. I believe both players belong in the Hall of Fame, but also realize that this was a strong group of finalists and it forced me and maybe some others to make some tough decisions in narrowing the field from 15 to 10 to six. That said, when Irvin reached the final six, it was simply a yes or no vote. I voted yes, but all it took was eight no votes out of 39 to deprive him of induction.

The other criticism I’ve heard is that Art Monk belongs in the Hall. Again, I understand where his supporters are coming from. He left the game as the all-time leading receiver, with three Super Bowl rings and having stood the test of time. I also believe he was as good as or better than some receivers already in the Hall: Charlie Joiner, Lynn Swann and Steve Largent, among them. But Joiner, Swann and Largent were all voted in before I got on the committee and I doubt if I would have voted for any of them.

On the flip side, Monk averaged only 13.5 yards per catch. He was tough across the middle, a superb blocker and and a selfless player, but he was never a big playmaker. That bothers me. He also was named to only three Pro Bowls in 16 years. I looked back at some old player rankings that reflected a consensus of scouts’ opinions from when Monk played. I didn’t have every year, but the highest Monk was ever rated was fourth. One year he was sixth. But there were years when he wasn’t rated in the top 12. There also were years when one of his fellow wide receivers on the Redskins was rated ahead of him, including Gary Clark. In essence, Monk was never really regarded as one of the top three, four receivers in the game. More often than not, he was ranked about 10th.

Is that good enough to get in the Hall, when you consider that he was a very good player for 15 years? Or should the Hall be open only to the very best: The players who rank among the top three, four at their positions over an extended period? That’s why Monk has been a tough call for me.

But they’re almost all tough. I’ve had several personnel people tell me that Roger Wehrli was one of the great cornerbacks of all time. Among the scouts that I’ve talked to, Wehrli draws more praise than Monk. Ron Wolf told me that if we studied game film, Wehrli would be a cinch to make it. Yet Wehrli didn’t get past the first vote.

How many talk radio hosts took up his cause? Probably very few, if any, because they don’t know anything about him. And that’s my point. How many of our critics know that most scouts never rated Monk among the top eight to 10 receivers in the game, except for maybe after two or three of his biggest seasons?


  1. How is it that Irvin was better than Monk.Monk out ranks him in every category except for YPC: Irvin 15.9, Monk 13.5. Wow! I guess that 2.4 YPC more makes the difference b/t goodness and greatness. The reason why Monk’s YPC might not be as high as others is b/c Gary Clark was their deep threat receiver. What did Irvin do with a HOF QB and RB his whole career that Monk didn’t do with mediocre QBs and RBs(with Riggins being the exception). Not only was Monk a great pass catcher, he was also a great blocker, team leader, and a huge part of the dynasty from 82-91. I cant help but think that you & other writers dont support him b/c he didnt give many interviews. When players dont give interviews, writers have a tendency to not like them. Not only did Irvin say Monk should be in. On NFL Network about a month ago, Jim Brown, Rich Eisen, and Rod Woodson also said he should be in(he was the only name they mentioned). He was the 1st player to catch 100 in a season and 900 in a career, and to go 183 straight games with a catch shows (Rice is the only other player to reach that mark). Just like Johnny Unitas’s 47 straight games with a TD pass or DiMaggio’s 56 straight games with a hit, Monk was consistent. PS: Ozzie Newsome,Charlie Joiner,& Terry Bradshaw only made 3 Pro BowlsBs,John Riggins made 1 Pro Bowl. Does this mean they are not amongst the best at their position?

    Comment by Cdawg — September 14, 2006 @ 5:13 pm

  2. By the way Harrison avg’s only 13.3 YPC. Who cares? so long as he is getting a 1st down thats all that matters.

    Comment by Cdawg — September 22, 2006 @ 5:04 pm

  3. Maybe Wehrli deserves to get in sometime. But Monk stands out more as a WR than this guy did as a CB. Monk still ranks in the top 10 for receiving yards and top 6 for catches top 10. Imagine what kind of numbers he would have put up if he had a Moon, Elway, Kelly, Montana, or Marino. Then again, imagine how much those QBs would have loved to have a WR like Monk.
    As for Wehrli, his 40 ints doesnt even rank in the top 40 at least.

    Comment by Cdawg — October 17, 2006 @ 10:34 pm

  4. If you wanna only put in players who rank in the top 3 or 4 over an extended period of time, than I guess Michael Irvin & Thurman Thomas shouldnt be getting in. Nor should Wehrli. Nor should a lot of players who have already who have been inducted.

    Comment by Cdawg — October 25, 2006 @ 1:44 pm

  5. How could your critics and scouts not rank Monk in the top 10 when he ranks in the top 10 in both receptions and receiving yds 10 yrs after he retired and he helped his team get to 4super bowls and win 3? Clearly they dont know what their talking about. When players are quiet about their work and dont give interviews, they get overlooked.
    Wehrli has 40 ints for 300 return yds. Where does her rank in those categories?

    Comment by Cdawg — October 25, 2006 @ 1:49 pm

  6. Monk was also a smart player. He was on 3rd down, he always knew where the first down marker was and when he was near the sideline, he was made sure had two feet down before he went out of bounce to make the catch.

    Comment by joe — October 25, 2006 @ 8:50 pm

  7. Monk was also named to the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team. Monk was also named the 91st best football player of all time by the Sporting News, ranking him behind only 8 receivers.

    Comment by joe — October 25, 2006 @ 8:56 pm

  8. He also reached the 800 catch mark quicker than anyone except Rice and Harrison. But look who they had at QB

    Comment by cdawg — October 26, 2006 @ 1:46 pm

  9. Above and beyond the numbers. Art Monnk was also a trend setter. He had 106 catches in a season long before that was a common occurance. That is because he was one of the first to show that a tall strong receiver can pick up a first down for you and keep your drives alive for by catching 10 balls a game.

    Comment by Kerry Finnegan — November 29, 2006 @ 2:12 pm

  10. 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 @ 10:27 pm

  11. You say that Art Monk never made any big plays, yet myself and the rest of my freinds called him our money man cuz we always knew we could count on him for plays when we needed them. He was amazing and everyone I know,no matter which team they support, believes it is a real shame he’s not in the HOF. Also Dave Butz should be in. I don’t know what games you watched but obviously you don’t like the Redskins and let that influence your votes. That’ too bad. From a diehard Redskins fan from Montana.

    Comment by Joan Schmitt — February 3, 2007 @ 5:03 pm

  12. Could it be that the scouts who consistently underrated Monk were wrong? Considering how many times he helped the Redskins beat the teams they were scouting for, I’d say the probability is pretty high.
    The scouts said he wasn’t top ten, yet week in and week out their teams could not stop him when the chains needed to move.
    Seems to me they should be the last people you should use as a source for your opinion. Obviously they were wrong.

    Also, when you listen to current Hall members like Bill Walsh, Ronny Lott and others who played and coached against him say that he was the most prolific receiver of his time (among other things), perhaps it should lead you to believe that listening to a scout from teams that couldn’t stop him is a pretty idiotic way to go about things.
    Scout,, or Bill Walsh… who carries more weight?
    If these scouts knew what they were talking about, maybe he wouldn’t have gotten as many balls as he did.

    Next year when you get the chance again, and the inevitable question of Monk’s signature catch comes up, remember this one. A ten yard out vs the Broncos on Monday Night Football that made him the number one pass receiver of all time. Anyone with that catch on their resumé shouldn’t have to prove anything else. He didn’t get there by accident.
    And then ask yourself this.
    Are there any receivers enshrined in this Hall with more receptions than Art Monk?
    The answer is no. There aren’t.

    Next year do the right thing. The man was class. The man did his job. He won 3 rings. He was a leader of his team. And he retired with more receptions than anyone who came before him. He deserves it.

    ~John Tayman

    Comment by John Tayman — February 4, 2007 @ 3:47 pm

  13. how could a guy be the # 1 all time when he retires an not be a hall of famer, much better big game reciever then marvin harrison, harrison get pushed around, that never happend to monk

    Comment by tony rocha — February 7, 2007 @ 12:49 am

  14. Since it’s obvious stats don’t convince you HOF voters, could it be the fact that Art wasn’t a “media guy”, and he chose not to do interviews?

    Art Monk IS football. Art Monk IS what all WRs strive to be, tough, consistent, fearless, with sure hands.

    Maybe you can explain to us how Irvin gets in over him with less stats(except for the whopping 2 more YPC).

    Comment by William Calvin — February 8, 2007 @ 12:14 pm

  15. Please elaborate on what your criteria for hall of fame wide receivers is and which receivers under your system would merit consideration? This may be redundant but I need all the help I can get.

    Comment by Bert Stanley — August 22, 2007 @ 12:11 pm

  16. 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 @ 10:08 am

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