The Art Monk Hall of Fame Campaign

Ed Bouchette

Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
E-mail: ebouchette@post-gazette.com

Vote: Maybe Yes (6/10)

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
December 11, 1994
Monk is great receiver but record for catching passes is insignificant
Ed Bouchette

Let us take a moment to react, along with everyone else, to Art Monk setting a National Fotoball League record for catching passes in 178 consecutive games:

Whoopdeedoo!

Years ago, no one paid much attention to how many games in a row a receiver caught a pass, just as they did not make note of how many straight games running backs ran for yards or quarterbacks completed passes.

Jack Ham, the Steelers’ Hall of Fame linebacker, thinks Monk’s a great receiver but he laughs at the record-keeping.

”I made at least one tackle in every game that I played,” Ham said.

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
December 3, 1995
Fish are flopping and coach may fry
Ed Bouchette

A funny thing happened as Jerry Rice honed in on Art Monk’s career record of 934 pass receptions — Monk returned to play.

The Eagles signed Monk for the last four games of the season, which means his record of 934 may be extended. Rice has 905 catches.

”Oh, man, I thought this guy had retired! I don’t have a chance now,” Rice said in jest before turning more serious.

”I know Art still has talent. It surprised me no one picked him up in the earlier part of the season. I felt I had a legitimate shot at it. With Art’s signing, it goes right out the window. It’s OK. I’d rather see him back on the field. He can still play.”

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
January 21, 2001
Swann’s Song
Ed Bouchette

“I’d like to believe I’m worthy of being inducted into the Hall of Fame,” Swann said. “Part of me thinks, I wish I were. The other part thinks if I never go in it doesn’t diminish anything I’ve done.

“But I’m much more an optimist than a pessimist.”

Said Dan Rooney, “There’s no question, he’s one of the great receivers who ever played this game.”

Besides Stallworth, Art Monk is the other wide receiver on the list, but this is his first year of eligibility.

Chuck Noll, the Steelers Hall of Fame coach, believes Swann should have been elected long ago, ahead of some who have made it.

“A guy like Tommy McDonald’s in there who couldn’t carry Lynn’s jock,” said Noll, who is not prone to hyperbole.

Which general manager in today’s game would choose Art Monk over Lynn Swann in his prime? Which receiver in the Hall of Fame would a cornerback least prefer to cover than one who is not yet in, Swann?

Swann’s statistics were held down by the offensive system in which he played and, admittedly, by his coach. But it was a system that produced one of football’s greatest dynasties.

“I don’t think there’s a receiver who wouldn’t want to get the ball all the time and have an opportunity to make catches,” Swann said. “But if you ask me if I’d trade in our four Super Bowls for more catches in a season or a career, the answer is no.

“I certainly think I had a good impact in winning those Super Bowls and getting us to the Super Bowls. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.”

Lynn Swann, Steelers 1974-82 336 5,462 51

… and three who might deserve induction, too

Name, team Yrs. Rec. Yds. TDs

Art Monk, Redskins/Jets/Eagles 1980-95 940 12,026 65

James Lofton, Packers/Raiders/Bills/Rams/Eagles 1978-93 764 14,004 75

John Stallworth, Steelers 1974-87 537 8,723 63

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
February 2, 2002
Stallworth, Kelly Favored to Enter Hall
Ed Bouchette

For years, the vote was split between Swann and Stallworth, preventing either’s election. After Swann broke through last year, many see this as Stallworth’s time to follow. Of the 15 wide receivers in the Hall of Fame, Stallworth’s yardage is better or comparable to 11. Two other finalists at wide receiver, though, are two of the most prolific in the game. James Lofton’s 14,004 yards receiving is second only to Jerry Rice. Art Monk, a finalist last year as well, has 12,721 yards.

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
October 12, 2003
So, What Exactly Makes a Player Hall of Fame Material?
Ed Bouchette

There are two shoo-ins on the list this year, quarterback John Elway and running back Barry Sanders. That leaves spots for one to four more men to be selected, and the debate will take place over the next 3 1/2 months.

Take wide receiver Art Monk. He has been eligible for several years and has not made it. Yet he has numbers that blow away every Hall of Fame receiver. Monk caught 940 passes for 12,721 yards and 68 touchdowns during a 16-year career. He has three Super Bowl rings with the Washington Redskins. By comparison, Lynn Swann caught 336 passes for 5,462 yards and 51 touchdowns.

Does Swann deserve to be in the Hall of Fame and Art Monk not? Both made three Pro Bowls and Swann has one more title ring. Arguments against Monk are that he was a product of the system, that he caught short passes and that he rarely did anything spectacular the way Swann did. But how do you ignore his sheer body of work? He has more yards receiving than any of the 17 Hall of Fame receivers.

On the other hand, Monk’s accomplishments came during a more receiver-friendly era, when new rules favored the passing game and protected the quarterbacks and receivers more than during Swann’s career. Still, a rookie receiver today would have to catch 100 passes a season for the next 13 seasons to top Monk.

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
February 8, 2004
Higher Calling: Hall is an Exclusive Club; Not Everyone is Invited
Ed Bouchette

Pro football fans are angry over the non-election of various candidates for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which took place the day before the Super Bowl and with the process that led up to that final vote.

The majority are not irate that John Elway, Barry Sanders, Bob Brown and Carl Eller were selected for induction in Canton in August. They’re mad because others did not make it. They’re mad in Dallas that two former Cowboys, Bob Hayes and Rayfield Wright, weren’t voted in. They’re seething in New York that Harry Carson wasn’t elected. They’re in a dither in Baltimore that retiring Ravens owner Art Modell did not make it to the 15 finalists. Redskins fans cannot believe Art Monk is not yet in the Hall of Fame. Chicago fans don’t understand why Richard Dent wasn’t selected. Dolphins fans wonder why Bob Kuechenberg was ignored again.

For all we know, Iranians are ticked off that native son Shar Pourdanesh hasn’t yet been put in.

Please, enough with the anger. This is the Pro Football Hall of Fame, not the Pro Bowl. There should be exclusivity. Canton is not where the Hall of Very Good resides.

As one of 39 voters for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, I’ve heard and read about the outrage and I’m amused by it. Another selector, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, made a good point to me a few days before the voting. He was a guest on a radio show in Baltimore last year and was told that Ravens fans were — here’s that word again — “outraged” because Modell was not in the Hall of Fame. King said it’s funny that only Ravens fans are outraged and not those in other cities. Is there anyone in Pittsburgh outraged because Modell or Kuechenberg or Wright did not make it? Do fans in St. Louis care that Dent or Carson are not in the Hall of Fame? Are there fans in Dallas and Chicago who worry that Monk did not make it?

It’s a partisan anger, King pointed out; only those fans in that city where the player spent most of his years are outraged.

First off, 39 of us — a media representative from each NFL city, six at-large representatives and an at-large member of the Pro Football Writers of America — met and discussed and argued for four hours that Saturday morning before we put four men into the Hall of Fame. This after culling a long list to 25 and then 15 in two mail ballots. Four is twice as many as baseball will induct this year, and we don’t hear much outrage over those baseball players who were not elected.

Second, the people who run the Pro Football Hall of Fame want more selectivity, that is why they reduced the number of potential members for the 2004 class, and beyond, by one. Previously, each class could be a minimum of four and a maximum of seven. They reduced that to three-to-six this year. Why? Possibly too many borderline stars were selected as Pro Football Hall of Famers while getting into the baseball Hall was truly a special honor.

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http://www.shns.com/shns/g_index2.cfm?action=detail&pk=FBN-STEELERS-09-30-04
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
September 30, 2004
Polamalu Plan: Pick Palmer’s Pocket
Ed Bouchette

“It would be a blessing for me to get my hands on the ball,” said Polamalu, who speaks like a Tibetan Monk but plays the game like Art Monk. Polamalu gives the feeling that he would intercept Palmer and later apologize to him, the way the mafia kills and then sends flowers to the funeral.

6 Comments »

  1. charming!!! http://www.alton.jiowa.com

    Comment by younes — July 1, 2006 @ 8:14 pm

  2. I’m the moderator of a site dedicated to those that should be in the Hall of Fame.

    Stop by if you get a chance and add your comments.

    http://shouldbenhall.wetpaint.com/page/Football

    Comment by Rick Mathews — August 8, 2006 @ 6:09 pm

  3. Jack Ham is not the only LB to make a tackle in every game. Not the 1st nor the last. Monk was the 1st to do that in 183 straight games and only Rice as done so since.

    Comment by Cdawg — October 26, 2006 @ 10:46 am

  4. Vote for Monk.

    Comment by Cdawg — October 26, 2006 @ 10:47 am

  5. 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 @ 10:31 pm

  6. 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 @ 10:19 am


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