The Art Monk Hall of Fame Campaign

Ron Borges

Ron Borges of the Boston Globe
E-mail: borges@globe.com

Vote: Likely No (3/10)

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Boston Globe
January 6, 1991
Redskins put clamps on Ryan, Eagles
Ron Borges

That made it 6-0, Philadelphia, but it was subtraction by addition because those scores had made clear to the Redskins what they were capable of.

After those stands, the ‘Skins apparently thought they were the Russian front repelling Napoleon because the Eagles would not again get closer than the Redskin 26.

“People took turns making mistakes, and as the game went on, it was hard to mount something,” Eagles offensive coordinator Rich Kotite said.

Yet the Eagles still seemed in control of their fate even after Washington took the lead on a 16-yard Mark Rypien-to-Art Monk touchdown pass with 5:54 left in the half.

That was the third of three straight Rypien completions (for 28, 23 and 16 yards), but all that was erased when Earnest Byner was blasted to the ground by Smith with less than two minutes to play in the half.

As Byner tumbled earthward, the ball popped loose, Smith scooped it up and weaved his way 87 yards for a touchdown that would have made it 13-7 and reversed a half of broken promises for the Eagles.

But then the officials turned to the replay booth and George Sladky saw things differently.

“We had a good end zone shot that clearly showed he was contacted and came down with control and the ground caused the fumble,” Sladky said.

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Boston Globe
January 12, 1991
49ers are facing stronger Redskins
Ron Borges

There is no question Washington has vastly improved its running game with Byner, who finished the year rushing for more than 100 yards four straight times. He has carried most of the offensive load the second half of the season, allowing Washington to control the ball late in the year as its defense stiffened.

In addition, the return of quarterback Mark Rypien has stabilized a passing game that features a three-live crew of wide receivers Art Monk, Gary Clark and Ricky Sanders that left the ‘Skins’ offense sixth in passing, fifth in rushing and fourth overall.

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Boston Globe
January 27, 1992
Redskins trio has caught on
Ron Borges

The Posse got its man yesterday.

The Washington Redskins’ trio of wide receivers – the legendary Art Monk, the elusive Gary Clark and the mercurial Ricky Sanders – has over the years become known as The Posse and with good reason. Together they have become a dangerous group of marauders, a threesome that has corraled many an opposing secondary.

Super Bowl XXVI was no different. The three combined to catch 15 of the 18 passes Most Valuable Player Mark Rypien completed in the 37-24 trouncing of the Bills.

Perhaps fittingly, the effort was more balanced than most as both Clark and Monk caught seven, with Clark turning them into 114 yards while Monk had 113. Sanders, meanwhile, had only one reception but it was the longest of the day, a 41-yarder that set up Washington’s first score, a 34-yard field goal by Chip Lohmiller early in the second quarter.

“They completed some great passes,” said Buffalo linebacker Darryl Talley. “The one that Ricky caught was an outstanding pitch and catch. Bills’ safety Mark Kelso was all over him nice and tight, but things happen.”

They do when The Posse is riding high as it was yesterday, although after Sanders’ catch it took a break and running back Earnest Byner, who would make the only catches of the day not produced by The Posse, chipped in with a 10-yard touchdown catch that lifted the score to 10-0, but soon The Posse was riding high once again when Clark pulled down a 34-yard reception over the middle that moved the ball to the Bills’ 15 to set up a third second quarter score and an eventual 17-0 halftime lead.

“They blitzed a lot more than we thought they would,” Gibbs explained. “Because of that, we threw a little more than we thought we would. So offensively we threw quite a bit in the first half, which I wasn’t expecting to do.”

Gibbs may not have been expecting to throw, but he has grown to expect the members of The Posse to catch, which they did yesterday. Yet the elder statesman of the Redskins’ trio declined to acknowledge their efforts.

“I don’t think you can identify one person,” Monk said. “We all played great together. To accomplish our goal to win a Super Bowl is just fantastic. To me, this is the third one and it’s probably the best one for me because not only did we win but I was able to play in it and have a pretty active role in it.

“This is not a team of individuals. We all look for the team effort. We are committed to one another. We don’t run our mouths.”

“On some occasions I think they were able to get open on us,” conceded Bills’ cornerback Nate Odoms, not long after Clark had succeeded in getting open for receptions of 6, 10, and 14 as well as his final 30-yard catch on that series.

That effectively ended the Redskins’ passing attack for the day as Gibbs went into a conservative shell designed to protect the lead Rypien and The Posse had built. He succeeded.

And so did The Posse.

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Boston Globe
January 9, 1993
‘Skins eye ground control
Ron Borges

With quarterback Mark Rypien in a year-long slump (13 touchdown passes, 17 interceptions after a 28-11 ratio in 1991) that some have attributed to tiredness from carrying around his bulging new contract, Washington has become a team that wins when it runs, despite the presence of explosive receivers Art Monk, Ricky Sanders and Gary Clark.

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Boston Globe
January 20, 2002
Pro Football Notes
Ron Borges

Speaking of this year’s Hall class, since the league’s cloistered voting system prevents most people who have been around pro football from voting, here are my selections from the 15 finalists. Parcells, Ray Guy, and Art Monk are unassailable. Guy is the greatest punter of all time. I once saw him kick a ball off the TV screens at the Superdome in New Orleans in practice just to prove he could do it. Monk’s numbers speak for themselves, and so do Parcells’s. Of the other finalists, how do you deny Jim Kelly, who took four teams to the Super Bowl? George Allen will probably get in because old coaches always do. I think Dave Casper, Lester Hayes, and L.C. Greenwood also deserve inclusion, but they won’t all get in this time. My ballot (if I had one after 27 years covering the NFL) would read: Parcells, Guy, Monk, Allen, and Kelly, with a sentimental vote for John Stallworth.

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Oakland Tribune
July 20, 2005
Brown not an easy pass into Hall
Bill Soliday

In a poll of a dozen members of the selection committee, the consensus is that [Tim] Brown will be voted in but not necessarily on the first try in 2010.

“I’d be very surprised if he was a first-ballot guy,” said the Boston Globe’s Ron Borges, who once covered the Raiders for the Oakland Tribune.

“They’re pretty stingy about that. And if Art Monk isn’t a slam dunk, I would certainly say Tim Brown isn’t.”

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Boston Globe
January 15, 2006
Here’s One Call on the Hall
Ron Borges

Monk is an interesting case, because when he retired, he was the all-time leading receiver with 940 catches. His 12,721 receiving yards are third all-time. He would seem to be a sure thing, but upon further examination, questions arise. Monk played 16 years in the NFL yet led his team in receiving only six times and was named to the Pro Bowl only three times. He was one of the premier possession receivers of his day, but how dangerous was he considered by opponents? According to some coaches who faced him, not very.

Monk once had 91 catches in a season in which he scored only two touchdowns. Joe Gibbs argues that it was because of John Riggins. Perhaps, but Monk is not even in his own team’s Hall of Fame more than a decade after his retirement.

Compare his production with Irvin, who played only 12 years yet had nearly as many yards (11,904) and touchdowns (65 to Monk’s 68). Irvin also was a big-time postseason performer and a guy who averaged nearly 200 more yards a season than Monk. Both were debated and rejected last year, a fate Monk has suffered several times.

What will happen this time is unknown, but the debate surely will be lively, such as when the huge numbers of Moon are brought up – numbers he had both in the NFL and the Canadian Football League. But what did he win after leaving Canada? How much should that factor in to a quarterback’s place in the pantheon of the game’s greatest?

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6 Comments »

  1. 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? Especially for his time.

    Comment by Cdawg — October 25, 2006 @ 2:07 pm

  2. 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 @ 1:44 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 cdwag — October 27, 2006 @ 1:56 pm

  4. Isnt it funny how the Redskins retired Monk’s number 81 but the Bills didnt retire Reed’s number 83.

    Comment by cdawg — November 3, 2006 @ 5:37 pm

  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 @ 10:48 pm

  6. Simply the greatest off all time. Enough said. He retired the all-time leading reciever in NFL history. It’s in injustice that Micheal Irvin gets in the Hall of Fame before Monk. What are the Hall of Fame voters thinking. In the words of of Mr. Hand from Fast Times at Ridgemont High says “Are You All on Dope.”

    Comment by Charlie Lewis — June 12, 2007 @ 10:31 am


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