Cross-posted on Poseur.
Art Monk finally got elected to the Hall of fame. It’s about friggin’ time.
I’m kind of a Hall of Fame geek. OK, not even kind of. I’m the person who is genuinely outraged by Tim Raines and Bert Blyleven’s stalled candidacies while Jim Rice keeps getting more and more support. But Art Monk has long been my pet candidate, as his absence from the Football Hall of Fame actually lessened the Hall because Monk isn’t just qualified, he’s obscenely qualified.
Passing in the NFL has radically changed in the past 25 years or so. And passing stats have become larger and larger as teams have relied on the pass. To see this in numbers, of the top 50 players ranked by career receptions, 33 of them started their career after 1990 and 15 of them are still active. That’s just a long way of saying passing stats are weighted heavily towards modern players.
Monk ranks 7th all-time in receptions. When he retired, he was #1. Monk played in an era before the current explosion in passes yet his numbers still stack up favorably against modern players, even Hall of Famers. For example, he had more receptions and more yards than Michael Irvin. He was also the first player to catch 100 passes in a season. And until Jerry Rice came along and broke every receiving record there was, Monk held the career receptions record, the single-season record, and the record for most consecutive games with a catch.
Those aren’t borderline Hall of Fame numbers. Those are inner circle, first-ballot numbers. That’s before we get into the three Super Bowl rings. And he had to wait for inferior receivers like James Lofton and Michael Irvin to get in before he got his ugly blazer (not to pick on Irvin who is a legit Hall of Famer, he just wasn’t Art Monk). Not to be mean to Lofton, but the only person who thought Lofton was better than Monk when they were playing at the same time was Lofton’s mom. The point is not that Lofton and Irvin don’t belong in the Hall of Fame, it is that they DO belong in the Hall and Monk is even better. There’s no better case for the Hall of Fame than being better than the people already enshrined.
It only took a decade, but Monk finally gets the honor he’s always deserved. He’s now a Hall of Famer, and he even gets to go in with his teammate, Darrell Green, who is in the conversation for the best cornerback to ever play the game. So not only do things work out, it works out even better if he hadn’t had the wait. The Hall of Fame is richer for having Art Monk in it. That’s the definition of a Hall of Famer.