Art Monk up for Canton

Monk Awaits Word From Hall of Fame

monk.gifArt Monk, MO’s all-time favorite football player (or pro athlete in any sport, for that matter) will be considered today for enshrinement in the NFL Hall of Fame. He was a finalist last year, but was eliminated in the first round of voting.

In a career spanning 16 seasons (the first of of which were in Washington) Monk was a possession receiver who, when he retired, held the record for NFL receptions in a season and in a career. Both records have both since been broken by today’s pass-happy offenses. He played on three Super Bowl championship teams, although he was injured and did not play in Washington’s first Super Bowl triumph after the 1982 season.

Art Monk was a class act all the way. He was not overly vocal or excitable, and he quietly went about his business of catching footballs. Little slants and outs were what he was best at, and he’d take you down the field six and seven yards at a time. This quiet demeanor and workman-like performance probably hurt Monk’s chances to reach the Hall, although he has more catches than anyone currently on the rolls in Canton.

Two virtually-certain inductees, John Elway and Barry Sanders, were known for their flair and their knack for making the big play with the game on the line. What’s forgotten about them, as we look back a their glory years with fond memories, are the interceptions thrown, the tackles behind the line of scrimmage while trying to work some magic, and the fact that their entire team went as they went. John Elway off today? Well, the Broncos probably won’t win. Barry Sanders is more or less shut down? The Lions are toast.

That wasn’t the case with Mr. Monk. He’d line up on every play. He’d run his route. They’d throw his direction from time to time, and he’s usually make the catch. And if it was third and seven? He knew better than to run a six-yard route. He had a feel for the first-down marker and for the sideline, and he used his skills and his height (especially since most wide receivers and the cornerbacks who covered them were 5’10” smurfs – Monk is 6’3) to get the tough yards.

More often than not, the Redskins would win. And Monday morning you’d be looking over the box scores and say “Art Monk had eight catches? Are you kidding? I only remember two or three.” And that’s why Monk might have a hard time getting into the Hall.

Monk had a touchdown taken away in the Super Bowl against Buffalo after the 1991 season, and I was disappointed. I knew that that was probably his last real chance to grab a score in the big game. The call was controversial, but largely forgotten in the wake of Washington’s destruction of the Bills that afternoon.

I hope that a similar call by the electors for the Pro Football Hall of Fame doesn’t relegate Monk’s career to an overlooked bit of trivia as flashier and higher-profile stars jet into the halls of Canton.

UPDATE: Monk didn’t make it to the finalist stage once again. John Elway, Barry Sanders, Bob Brown, and Carl Eller were voted in. Congrats to some very deserving players.


  1. I think the hall of fame and the sports writers should be ashame of the way they have all treated Art Monk. Art Monk set the water mark at 946 for a wr.How can they have guys in the hall with lessthan 900 completions and not Art Monk. I,m going to say it if Art Monk was white he would have been in the hall long age. If this is not the reason please tell whatis.

  2. I think it’s a travesty, and sends the wrong message to kids, that they should act like jerks to get recognition on the field. What Monk accomplished for the time period was amazing, and if some jerk with pedestrian numbers and a big mouth like Irvin might get in someday, it’s a shame Monk wasn’t in on the 1st ballot. Will Marvin Harrison (another SU grad btw) not get in on the 1st ballot, because he doesn’t spend all his free time talking about himself in the 3rd person, and saying, ‘throw me the damn ball!’ (Keyshaun)

  3. Where do you think the build of receivers like Moss, Harrison, and Owens comes from. I think it was from coaches watching a tall Art Monk snag a (Then a record, and almost unheard of amount) 106 catches. You want to talk about a player revolutionizing the game. I just don’t understand how he could have been passed up twice.

  4. Well here it is November, and Monk is up for the Hall again. Just read an article elsewhere suggesting that Art has a better chance this go around due to the fact that the pompous Redskin-hater Paul Zimmerman (aka Dr. Z) quit the selection committee this past year after throwing a temper tantrum when one of his selections didn’t make it in. Art Monk not being in the Hall of Fame is a travesty and this needs to be fixed now!

  5. I was a Redskin season ticket holder for many years and got to see Monk’s career play out firsthand – I always likened him to Cal Ripken Jr. The consummate pro – always mentally and physically prepared to play, never called attention to himself, utterly reliable. If he doesn’t make Canton soon, it will say alot about what kind of player the NFL and media gives respect to these days…what a shame!

  6. I don’t understand how or why Monk is not in the Hall Of Fame. I know his numbers have been eclipsed in this pass-happy age but consider that he was at his peak at a time when 100 receptions in a year was mind boggling. I cannot have any respect for the NFL Hall of Fame if they don’t induct Monk. I figured he would have been inducted in his first year of eligibility. I’m really at a loss.

  7. Art Monk not making the Hall of Fame, AMAZING. Dan Marino making it with not one Super Bowl win, supposedly a must for a QB to make it (except if you are Fran Tarkenton), AMAZING. Not that Dan may not deserve it, but he wassn’t a prototype quarterback, like Monk was a receiver. If Pete Rozzelle deserves to be there, surely Monk does.

  8. Hmmmmmm another year goes by and Monk is snubbed once again. Players crying because Michael Irvin didn’t make it in? The panel should be ashamed of themselves, again there were guys who made it less deserving than Monk. Rayfield Wright, Harry Carson please!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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