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Art Monk and the Hall of Fame: Taking it personally

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So I've cooled off from Saturday when, if you are just tuning in, Art Monk and Russ Grimm were not elected to the Hall of Fame. Needless to say, I view this tragically.

Michael Irvin got in, and I grudgingly congratulate him on that accomplishment. One advantage this affords me is the ability to compare a Hall of Famer (Irvin) to Art Monk perhaps to determine if the latter is deserving of that honor.

Hall of Fame Qualified:

11904 Receiving Yards
65 Touchdowns
750 Receptions

Art Monk

12721 Receiving Yards
68 Touchdowns
940 Receptions

The comparison is not meant to denigrate Michael Irvin, or to call into question his Hall of Fame election. Rather it is to point out that election is clearly arbitrary to the point of lunacy as there isn't any conceivable way to recognize the above and argue to the current state of affairs because of those facts. The reason Art Monk isn't in the hall of fame cannot be that he scored too many touchdowns, had too many receptions, and too many receiving yards. I'll restrain myself from regurgitating the familiar argument for Monk and the Hall of Fame as it's been done far more convincingly than I could do that argument justice.

There might be a tendency among Redskins fans to view this shameful sleight against Art Monk merely as a mistake. In other words fans might be tempted not to take this personally. I want to caution against that. The Washington Redskins are a Football Team and its fans are just as deserving of having their heroes honored as any other franchise. From 1981 to 1991 Your Washington Redskins went to four Superbowls, winning three. The proper term for the Redskins in the 80s and early 90s was "Dynasty". Whenever we discuss the Patriots as the most recent "Dynasty" or the annual question of whether the term "Dynasty" is outdated, we're discussing the Washington Redskins among others.

Similar Dynasties have already seen their fair share of honors. The Pittsburgh Steelers won 4 Superbowls from 1974 to 1979. Former players from those teams currently in the Hall includes Terry Bradshaw, Mel Blount, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann (!), John Stallworth (!), and Jack Lambert, among others. The Cowboys won 3 Superbowls from 1992 to 1995 and have seen Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin already honored to the Hall of Fame. There is little doubt that Emmitt Smith will join them.

No one who played for the Redskins through all three of our Superbowl victories has been honored in the Hall of Fame. The only Redskin from that era is John Riggins, although he retired after the 1985 season.

So please fans, take it personally. It is a slap in the face to a team that dominated its opposition over a ten year period, going 124-60 and 3 rings. And Art Monk was there the entire time. For lack of a better explanation, the only reason the Washington Redskins dominant run is grossly underrepresented is because the Hall of Fame committee hates you. Hate them right back.

It is regrettable that Monk did not make the Hall of Fame this year and I lament the fact more since I viewed this as his last, best chance at making the HoF. Praying that I'm wrong, I belive that the time has passed and that Art Monk will now never be honored as he should. Before giving up the good fight, I strongly encourage Redskins fans to continue battling against this injustice, intelligibly. Threatening to eat Peter King or Generic Uninformed Sportswriterguy is not intelligent; present them with facts. There exists a body of evidence in favor of Art Monk that is undeniable, and familiarizing naysayers with it might go a long way towards ameleriorating what's happened to Art Monk. An unfounded criticism of Art Monk should never be made without response.

Like here's one: Art Monk wasn't even the best wide receiver on his own team. Taken sincerely you should force whomever says this to accept then that Gary Clark deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. But really you need to loudly deny the point as it just isn't true. As a partial metric of a Wide Receiver's ability one might use the amount of receiving yards they get on a particular year. It also could be reasonable to measure players against each other with this statistic, an excercise that does lend itself to the conclusion that Gary Clark is a better receiver. One immediate consequence of this, among others, is that Reggie Wayne becomes better than Marvin Harrison in 2004 (and Faulk is a better receiver than them both in 1998, apparently) but then is worse merely a year later.

But there's more to being a wide receiver than merely getting the most yards. I'd include run blocking and leadership among qualities I'd prefer in a Wide Receiver, and Monk trumps Clark, and virtually anyone else, in both categories. One could also point out that Clark's success was contingent on Art Monk as the former had his best years with the latter around. Similar argument against Monk fails in that he succeeded well before Gary Clark joined the team.

Longevity also makes a difference, as Art Monk was really, really, really awesome for many more years than Clark, who picked up one less Superbowl ring than Art Monk for it.

None of this is to take away from Gary Clark, an excellent wide receiver with similar numbers to Michael Irvin. He should be in the discussion, especially if people want to insist that he was better than Art Monk. But Redskins fans know and appreciate the contribution to the team that Monk made, that this contribution was more significant than Gary Clark, and thus that Art Monk was the best receiver on the Washington Redskins.

But even if he wasn't that isn't a precedent the HoF even recognizes. Logically, either John Stallworth or else Lynn Swann was the better receiver yet both of them made the Hall of Fame in spite of the fact. Nevermind that Art Monk caught more footballs than both of them combined.

Closing before my head explodes just from thinking about this, I want to again encourage Redskins fans to take up the fight whenever and wherever Art Monk is slandered irrationally. I've all but lost faith in righting this wrong, but perhaps I'm incorrect. Regardless, the fight is worth it.

If you really want to honor The Monk, familiarize yourself with The Good Samaritan Foundation which he cofounded with Earnest Byner, among others. Hogs Haven loves Art Monk and is honored that it can include such a classy, outstanding individual as a representetive of excellence on and off the field. If the Hall of Fame Committee cannot recognize that, it's their loss. If Art Monk isn't good enough for the Hall of Fame than the Hall of Fame isn't good enough for Art Monk.

Elsewhere Says It Best: Monk 4 The Hall, Redskins Insider, Hog Heaven, Curly R, Curly R, Running Redskins, DC Sports Bog, The Big Lead. Update more later. This shit makes me very sadface and want to eat my entire keyboard.