The Art Monk Hall of Fame Campaign

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News
E-mail: mgaughan@buffnews.com

Vote: Maybe No (4/10)

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The Buffalo News
December 28, 1992
Thomas Takes No Satisfaction in NFL Mark
Mark Gaughan

James Lofton’s six catches tied him with Bills receivers coach Charlie Joiner for third on the all-time receptions list at 750. Lofton finished the season with 51 catches, his ninth 50-plus catch season. Only Art Monk (9) and Steve Largent (10) have as many.

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The Buffalo News
November 11, 1998
Flutie and His Family Try to Cope With Loss
Mark Gaughan

Andre Reed reached another career milestone in Sunday’s game against the New York Jets.

The 34-year-old Buffalo Bills receiver passed Bills receivers coach Charlie Joiner on the NFL’s all-time receiving yards list. Reed has 12,150 yards in receptions over his 131/2 seasons, which puts him in sixth place. Joiner had 12,146 in his 18-year career. Joiner was named to the Hall of Fame in 1996.
 
Art Monk is in fifth place on the yardage list at 12,721. Reed ranks third all-time in receptions at 858. Jerry Rice is No. 1 at 1,105 and Monk is No. 2 at 940.

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The Buffalo News
August 5, 2005
On the Road Again; Bills Fans Have More Hall Journeys Ahead
Mark Gaughan

There will be a strong cast of candidates the first year in which Thomas and Reed are eligible, including Troy Aikman, Reggie White, Deion Sanders and Warren Moon.

Joiner, the former Bills assistant coach, ended his career as the No. 1 pass catcher of all time but had to wait 10 years to get in. Art Monk was No. 1 in catches at the time of his retirement (in ’95) but didn’t make it the last two years he was up for election. Lofton has been up for election four times and made the final 15 twice.

“It’s no shame to not get in the first year,” said Len Shapiro of the Washington Post. “There are so many great players up each year. Lynn Swann had to wait 14 years. Sam Huff had to wait 12. George Allen had to wait 25.”

“There are a lot of receivers with really good stats from that era,” said voter Dave Goldberg of the Associated Press. “Andre’s one of them, but I don’t know if he separates himself from the others.”

“Andre has 900 catches on a team where the running back is leading the league in total offense and you have a very balanced offense,” said Larry Felser, former Buffalo News sports editor. “That speaks volumes. Andre deserves it. The thing is, it’s the hardest position at which to get in right now. The voters want to see how the numbers are going to stack up 10 years from now.”

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The Buffalo News
February 13, 2005
Making Quick Move on April Made Season Special
Mark Gaughan

Dallas receiver Michael Irvin missed induction to the Hall of Fame last week. He deserves to be in the Hall, he got this selector’s vote, and he will eventually get elected. Hopefully, it will happen next year.

It’s hard to say why Irvin got rejected after reaching the final six in the voting process. (The candidates are whittled from 15 to 10 to six before the final vote.) It’s possible some voters may think that first-year-eligible candidates should not get in unless they are among the greatest ever to play their position — the Jerry Rices, Joe Montanas and Jim Browns of the football world.

Only 56 of 166 members of the Hall were chosen in their first year of eligibility. The majority went in on their second, third or fourth years of eligibility.

Irvin ranks 14th all time in catches with 750. Ex-Redskin great Art Monk is fifth with 940 catches. Monk didn’t get in, either. Monk probably deserves induction, too.

But Monk was not as great as Irvin. He wasn’t the go-to game-breaker that Irvin was. He led his own team in receiving in only six of his 16 years.

The Hall of Fame is not about numbers, it’s about impact. Irvin had big games at every stage of the playoffs. He was the go-to receiver on three Super Bowl winners. He was the emotional leader of one of the greatest teams ever. “He was the Reggie Jackson” of the Cowboys, Colts coach Tony Dungy said.

Irvin was the Cowboys’ swagger. He was one of the hardest workers on the Cowboys, too.

Receivers tend to have a hard time getting in quickly because of the inflation of passing numbers the past 20 years.

In 1985, when Rice entered the NFL, there were four receivers with 600 or more catches. Today there are 34 with 600 or more.

So the argument that a candidate has more catches than any receiver already in the Hall isn’t necessarily compelling.

Charlie Joiner ended his career No. 1 on the all-time list. It took him 11 years to get in. It took Lynn Swann 14 and John Stallworth 17. Bills great Andre Reed stands fourth all time in catches.

Unlike Monk, Reed was the game-breaking receiving threat for the Bills. But given the fact Monk and Irvin have had to wait, Reed’s quick induction is far from assured.

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http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/2006/02/25/sports/football/13790833.htm
The Miami Herald
February 4, 2006
The Hall Debate
Jason Cole

A great example of that inexact science of electing players is the debate between Irvin and Monk. Although it’s possible both can, and perhaps should, get into the Hall, the voting often comes down to a comparative analysis.

Both helped their teams win three Super Bowls and posted excellent career numbers, Monk finishing his career as the league’s all-time leading receiver at the time. But when measured as impact players, many say Monk doesn’t stand up to Irvin.

”To me, there’s no question that Irvin is a Hall of Famer,” Gaughan said. “You’re talking about an impact player. He was the go-to receiver on that team. With Monk, he led his team in receiving six times in 16 years, and there are an awful lot of coaches who will tell you he wasn’t the most dangerous receiver on those teams.”

PROS AND CONS

For most of the time, former Redskins star Gary Clark was considered the bigger threat at wide receiver. But Clark wasn’t there for the entire title run, and the Redskins, despite having a dominant offense in the 1980s, have only one offensive player from that era in the Hall — running back John Riggins, who played on only one of the three title teams and had a number of career achievements outside of his days with Washington.

But there are some voters who have said that for as great as Irvin was, they will not vote for him until Monk is inducted.

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http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial/20061020/1011607.asp
The Buffalo News
October 20, 2006
Hall of Fame puts receivers in a delay pattern
Mark Gaughan

Question: Since you’re on the Hall of Fame voters committee, do you have any picks or insight into who are some of the front-runners for the class of 2007? – Mike Bourg, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Answer: Thurman Thomas was very close to getting elected last year in his first year of eligibility. Nothing is ever a lock when it comes to Hall of Fame voting, but Thomas should get elected this year. The top first-year eligible player probably is Oilers offensive lineman Bruce Matthews. The top candidates of those who made the final 15 last year are Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin, Redskins receiver Art Monk and Chiefs pass rusher Derrick Thomas. The two senior candidates are Lions tight end Charlie Sanders and Browns guard Gene Hickerson. Sanders is a lock in my eyes. Hickerson is deserving, but I think Dolphins guard Bob Kuechenberg is more deserving. We’ll see how that plays out.

The voters continue to be reluctant to vote for contributors, but Ralph Wilson should be in the Hall. He has stood up for everything that is right in the game and arguably been the conscience of the NFL for his entire 47-year career. Hopefully he can get to the final 15 again. Andre Reed is a Hall of Famer. But receivers generally take longer to get in than other positions. I get lots of e-mails from Bills fans about Steve Tasker. A strong case can be made for him as the best special teams player ever. But I have to push for Wilson, Thomas and Reed ahead of Tasker. Only one special teamer (Jan Stenerud) ever has made the Hall. Tasker probably has to wait awhile to have a more serious shot at the final 15.

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8 Comments »

  1. This discussion has gone beyond ridiculous. My only thought is that perhaps the entire city of Buffalo is still in a state of shock from losing four stright Super Bowls, thatcould lead an otherwise intelligent man to honestly believe that Art Monk should be in the Hall of Fame. His stats and rings should speak for themselves if not for the fact the he has never been arrested for possession. To compare him to Irvin is apples and oranges, but I would take Monk every time. Not only does he have better statical support than Irvin for being in the hall, but he did it with four different quarterbacks, winning Superbowls with three of them.

    Comment by Frank Moore — September 2, 2006 @ 10:07 pm

  2. When you consider Irvin had Aikman and Emmitt his whole career and Monk had no HOF QB, only had Riggo for 5 yrs, and that he came into the league before receivers started getting the ball a lot, Irvin’s stats being somewhat more than Monk’s doesnt look all that impressive. Monk was the 1st receiver to record 100 catches in a season, 900 in a career,1 catch in 180 straight games(only Rice broke that record),and once ranked 3rd in rcvg yds. Now who do you think was the better receiver Monk or Irving? Especially for his time.

    Comment by Cdawg — October 25, 2006 @ 2:11 pm

  3. 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 Cdawg — October 25, 2006 @ 2:14 pm

  4. He also reached the 800 catch mark quicker than anyone except Rice and Harrison. But look who they had at QB. Dont let a lack of pro bowls prevent you from voting for him. Riggins made 1 probowl and he made it after his 2nd year of eligibility. Bradshaw, Swann, Joiner, made 3 pro bowls just like Monk.

    Comment by cdawg — October 28, 2006 @ 2:25 pm

  5. correction for comment #2. I was referring to a from and avg year for Irvin compared to an avg year for Monk. I also meant to include Reed’s stats being slightly more than Monk’s should not give him an edge either over Monk b/c he had Thomas and Kelly his whole career and Lofton for part of it. He also never helped his team win a Super Bowl, something Monk did 3 times.

    Comment by Cdawg — October 31, 2006 @ 1:34 pm

  6. correction for comment #2. I was referring to a from and avg year for Irvin compared to an avg year for Monk. I also meant to include Reed’s stats being slightly more than Monk’s should not give him an edge either over Monk b/c he had Thomas and Kelly his whole career and Lofton for part of it. Reed was also in a less competitive divison than Monk was. Compare the defenses in the AFC east during Reed’s time with the defenses in the NFC East during Monk’s time. The NFC in general was better than the AFC during their times. He also never helped his team win a Super Bowl, something Monk did 3 times.

    Comment by Cdawg — October 31, 2006 @ 1:38 pm

  7. 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 @ 10:43 pm

  8. I have been a football fan since the Cardinals were in Chicago. I have seldom seen a player like Art Monk who has consistently performed at all-star levels and made other people on his team better. Art Monk has real class. He did all the hard work, was always a gentleman and never complained.

    His incredible statistics were achieved while he played on run oriented teams.

    Comment by kds — February 1, 2008 @ 2:38 pm


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