Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
February 3, 2007
FOOTBALL: Irvin Yes, Monk No

I'm not ready to burn bridges over this, but I agree 100% with Ben that it's an outrage for the NFL to vote Michael Irvin into Canton over Art Monk.

UPDATE: I should add that when I saw the full list of people on the ballot, what's really outrageous is that they left out Derrick Thomas.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:28 PM | Football | Comments (29) | TrackBack (0)

Perspective: Winners get in; Irvin was the Marvin before Harrison was the star he is. His downfall was his modern day Mantle antics. He deserves entry. Monk falls into the nonsensical category the great Harry Carson did. #53 got in, and Monk will in time time. Canton is hard to take seriously when they put jokers like Dan Hampton in. Net, the football voters are still at the stage the Vet comt. was when they put Rizzoto in.

Posted by: abe at February 3, 2007 11:08 PM

Problem with the winners get in theory is Monk was a winner. Monk went to four SB's winning three. Irvin went to and won three. Difference between the players is Irvin has been a self promoter. Monk has not tooted his own horn. In time it won't matter as Monk will be enshrined eventually.

Personally, I'm just glad to see a couple offensive linemen picked. The Hall of Fame has long been overstocked with QB's, RB's, and WR's. Matthews was obviously deserving and Hickerson's enshrinement is 20 years overdue. He blocked for 3 Hall of Fame running backs. Jim Brown has said many times that his success was only because of the holes Hickerson opened.

Posted by: largebill at February 3, 2007 11:39 PM

Bill, I am aware of his winning ways. My comment was meant in terms of Kelley, Thomas, Smith. Manning, Harrison, James, or Aikman, Ervin, Smith. With rings this is how it goes. As a longtime NFC east guy Monk belongs. He will get in, Wilbon will make sure.
On another note, i have a love/hate with linemen. Seems like it is either clear cut, Munoz, or buddie system crap. But skill positions are overstocked, defenders under rated.

Posted by: abe at February 3, 2007 11:59 PM

I think those people who ignored Art Monk should be fired from their voting responsibilities. No disrespect to Michael Irvin and Thurman Thomas, but Monk had a better career than both of these two worthy inductees. They obviously don't know football.

Would some of these people please identify themselves so that they can be arrested-FOR STUPIDITY.

Posted by: Don Cohen at February 4, 2007 4:01 AM

Abe, I've given some thought to Rizutto, and in the end, while a borderline case, I think he was kept out because of his announcing, where he became clown like. As a player, he was probably the best SS in the AL for a long period of time, a sensational fielder with some great hitting skills, an MVP recipient who deserved it. In many ways, he was Ozzie lite. Possibly a better hitter, possibly a worse fielder, but a great combination. Ozzie was a first ballot inductee, and no one could complain. PeeWee should have gone in earlier. Scooter was a great player, and lost lots in the war.

OK, Monk. The problem with some players is how you remember them. Monk was a steady, very good receiver. Now we think of how they compare to Jerry Rice. Paul Warfield if you are older. Similar game destroyers. Monk is a tortoise mixed in with the rabbits. One of those players who could be the best on a team, might be a steady, terrific second. I would not mind if he was in. Any HOF is boosted by a classy player with great lifetime stats. I think the voters had to compare Irvin to Monk, and thought, "Which do you want, one big game?" And in their primes, the answer would always be Irvin.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at February 4, 2007 8:41 AM

Not sure Monk really stands up in a comparison to Monk. Monk played longer, so his career numbers look better, but not much:

11th vs. 14th in career Rcv. Yds; 30th vs. 37th in career TD rcpts; and 32nd vs. 39th in career yds from scrimmage.

But . . . Monk was in the top-10 in the NFL for receiving yards three times with a 3rd, 4th, and 10th. For Irvin? He was top-10 six times, with a 1st, two 2nd, a 4th, and two 8th place finishes. Plus, he had five seasons in the top-10 for TDs and four in the top-10 for TD receptions. Monk? Once for TD catches and never for yds from scrimmage.

Obviously the game changed during the 8 years between their NFL debuts, but there's just no foundation to say Mink was better than Irvin. And no one thought so during their careers, as Monk made three pro-bowls, Irvin five.

Finally, the mid-80s and early-90s Skins were passing-based offenses, as indicated by Jay Schoeder's (!) 4,000 yard season in '86, when it was rare to accomplish the feat. The Cowboys in the 90s were always known for being a rushing team. Aikman's ratings were good, but he never had gaudy total yards seasons.

I won't argue if someone says Monk is as good as Irvin. But better? There's just no foundation for that statement.

All stats from:

Posted by: Mike at February 4, 2007 9:49 AM

Not sure Monk really stands up in a comparison to Monk

Argh. Monk vs. Irvin, obviously. Coffee, then type. Coffee, then type . . .

Posted by: Mike at February 4, 2007 9:50 AM

I certainly think "outrage" is too strong a term. I think Irvin was better - it's debatable, but it's certainly not clear-cut that Monk was better, unless you dock Irvin for his off-the-field character, which the football HOF explicitly does not (unlike several of the prima donna WR's of today, his on-field character was never in question).

I do think Monk unfairly fails to get the "alltime great team" bonus that guys like Irvin and Lynn Swann get, because of the fact that his three rings came several years apart, and with three different QB's, none of whom was an alltime great. But really, that ought to count in his favor, since his stats are in no way a product of playing with a Favre or a Marino.

Posted by: Jerry at February 4, 2007 12:14 PM

As for the update, the Derrick Thomas slight was shocking. I have no idea how that transpired.

Posted by: abe at February 4, 2007 1:30 PM

There is a perception that Derrick Thomas was a pure pass rusher who couldn't play the run which hurts him. I think is crap and he definitely belongs. I think running backs are way over represented in the Hall but I think Thurman Thomas is a good choice. The heart of some great offenses. Bruce Matthews is just about the best offensive lineman ever and Dickerson's choice is overdue. As Mike says, apart from career totals, there is no reason to say Art Monk was better than Michael Irvin. Irvin should be in, Monk is borderline at best. I think of him as kind of a latter day Isaac Bruce. Borderline Hall guys, some great seasons, played on some great teams, after their firts couple of years they shared the field with arguably better receivers. If they get in, great, if not, ehh. Probably the most damning fact against Monk is that he only lead his own team in receiving yards 4 times. Why does no one ever campaign for his teammate Gary Clark to make the Hall? If Redskins fans want to complain, I think they'd be better off doing it on Russ Grimm's behalf. The best lineman on one of the best lines ever and Charlie Sanders is in before him?

Posted by: Ted at February 4, 2007 5:53 PM

There's a couple of things about Monk that made him an even better player than his stats. First was his modesty. A big reason for the success of the Redskins offense was that their best receiver never demanded the ball. He set the tone for a multi-pronged team-based offense.

Related to that, according to Redskins coaches of the time, Monk was a great downfield blocker. This never shows up in the stats, but it helped made the Redskins' short-pass offense that much more effective.

* * *

Of course the real crime in hall-of-fame (and mvp) voting, as pointed out above by several posters, is the disrespect shown to offensive linemen. Case in point was last night's superbowl. The Colts won the game with the run and it was the Colts' offensive line who made it happen. They were the ones opening up Winnebego-sized holes in the Bear defense. But since MVPs only go to skill players and since the Colts use two running backs, the MVP was gifted to Manning.

Posted by: Henry at February 5, 2007 10:37 AM

How about giving punters some love? It is a position in football, last I checked. I mean, one field goal kicker and no punters in the Hall? Do these guys not play football? Hell, they let announcers and commissioners in, and they don't even suit up...

I guess it is the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Guys Who Were the Best at Their Position for Their Playing Years...

I agree it was a slap for DT not to be in, and same for Monk...but I think both will make hurry on DT, but Monk...c'mon...guy was money.

Posted by: AstroFan at February 5, 2007 11:01 AM

I agree with astro here. DT will get in and he should, but he was not a first ballot entrant and be that 5-6 year class. Monk on the other hand probably should have been a first or second year selection. He was that good.

The guy I am glad to see get in is Wehrli. I remember him from when I was a kid. He was All-Pro EVERY year. One of the best I ahve ever seen. Not real fast, just real smart.

Posted by: maddirishman at February 5, 2007 11:52 AM

I saw this online...

Receiver A: 13 Seasons 5 Pro Bowls 743 Rec. 10,205 Yds 84 TD
Receiver B: 12 Seasons 5 Pro Bowls 750 Rec. 11,904 Yds 65 TD

Both receiver A and B were Top 10 in the league in Touchdowns (5 times each) and Catches (4 times each). The only significant difference is that Receiver A has just one Super Bowl ring, while B has three.

Who are they?

A = Andre Rison
B = Michael Irvin

Posted by: AstroFan at February 5, 2007 6:26 PM me any #2 receiver for the Cowboys worth anything with whom Irvin shared catches. Opposite Monk was Clark and Sanders, both #1 options for other teams. He shared the load and didn't ask to be traded. He didn't write a book about just throwing him the damn ball or such other nonsense. He did the most with what they offered to him, and they won championships with three different QB's because of it.

And I recall that the Redskins, near the goal line, were not really a throwing team with Riggins as an option. Monk deserves HOF. Period. Irvin is Hall worthy, but only AFTER Monk is enshrined, in my opinion.

Posted by: AstroFan at February 5, 2007 6:55 PM me any #2 receiver for the Cowboys worth anything with whom Irvin shared catches. Opposite Monk was Clark and Sanders, both #1 options for other teams.

I'm not sure why that matters. Alvin Harper was a dangerous deep threat, but he wasn't in Irvin's league. So what?

He shared the load and didn't ask to be traded.

Making him a real sweet guy. Fine, I'll invite him to my daughter's sweet 16 party (when & if I have a daughter). But Canton rewards excellence on the gridiron.

He didn't write a book about just throwing him the damn ball or such other nonsense.

That was Keyshaun. I know it's hard to tell those mouthy, black WRs apart, but believe it or not, they're all different guys. The dude who played with the Cowboys this season and got himself on the news every week?

(Not Irvin.)

I recall that the Redskins, near the goal line, were not really a throwing team with Riggins as an option.

Yeah, and if only those 90's Cowboys handed off to that Emmitt Smith guy, who knows how many TDs he would've ran for.

If you hate Irvin, I can respect that. And I remember Monk as a real gamer when I was a kid. But he's not as good as Michael Irvin, sorry. Tris Speaker was a nicer guy than Ty Cobb; unfortunately, he wasn't as good a ballplayer.

Posted by: Mike at February 5, 2007 8:15 PM

Regarding Rison and Irvin, the number of Super Bowls is a relevant piece of data. It's a lot easier to rack up receiving yards when your team is losing.

Posted by: Jerry at February 6, 2007 10:15 AM

1. What I was saying is you were saying somehow Irvin should get a flyer on some stats because of Emmitt. OK, well then how about giving Monk some for Riggins at the goal line and not receiving from a HOF QB?

2. Even so, Rison had 20 more TDs...that's a lot more...that's quite a few seasons it easier to rack receiving yards when losing? it easier to score touchdowns? No.

3. As to Alvin many 1000 receiving yard seasons did he have? Zip. Zero. Nada. Any 10 TD seasons? Nope. Clark and Sanders had SEVEN 1000 yards and two 10 touchdown seasons between them. Think that takes away some opportunities? Monk was a deep threat early in his career, but turned into a possession receiver over time, much like Isaac Bruce is doing now (being pushed to do it because of the speed of Torry Holt, not because he couldn't still do it). That's what happens with longevity, you start being the possession receiver when the young legs come on board.

Posted by: AstroFan at February 6, 2007 11:51 AM

If this were baseball wouldn't Monk be in? When he retired he was the All-Time Leader in Receptions. What player in baseball say post-1950 retired as the All-Time Leader in some significant statistical category is not in the HOF? I think Monk is still 6th or something like that. I realize football HOF is different, just saying.

Posted by: jim at February 6, 2007 12:15 PM

how about giving Monk some

I'm giving! I'm cool with Monk going to Canton. I'm not the one who said someone shouldn't be going. Let Irvin and Monk in.

All I'm saying is Irvin belongs. Period.

Posted by: Mike at February 6, 2007 12:48 PM

Jim - The answer is Rose, Pete (hits). Next question.

Posted by: Chad McEvoy at February 6, 2007 1:25 PM

I believe the fact that six different teams let Andre Rison go is suggestive of the fact that he wasn't actually HOF material.

Posted by: Jerry at February 6, 2007 1:53 PM

Rose is not an example. He has been banned from baseball. Clearly, had he not taken off-the-field actions he would be in the HOF. He is not out because of on-field play.

Posted by: jim at February 6, 2007 2:01 PM

I think Rose's haircut keeps him out of The Hall.

Posted by: Mike at February 6, 2007 2:22 PM

I agree that Irvin should probably make it...but I do think Monk should have beat Irvin to the Hall...ultimately they should both be in. I just have a problem with voters voting for Irvin and NOT Monk.

I always considered the baseball HOF harder than football to get in...don't know why...but felt the standards were higher (I guess the guarantee of three per year made me think that)...I think Monk retired as a statistical leader of something that matters, is a great human being, and WAS someone that was feared by DB's and respected by coaches. But did he excite sportswriters? No.

And I was not saying Rison deserved to be in (he was in the run and shoot...his offense was designed to give him stats)...but I think the comparison in numbers is there to show that Irvin was good, but he was not so good that he is a no-brainer and is better than Monk.

And my point about Monk not writing a book is not to say Irvin did (although Irvin certainly...snort...did have off field issues), but that he was what EVERYONE says they want in a real pro superstar...class. He had it, still does. Class, in addition to stats, makes you Hall worthy to me. Monk has both, and deserved to be in before Irvin. But Irvin deserves to be in next year's class.

Posted by: AstroFan at February 6, 2007 4:27 PM

Also, Rison being let go had more to do with his off the field/team problems than his talent. Same with T.O....think Eagles let TO go because he's not Hall worthy? Cmon.

Posted by: AstroFan at February 6, 2007 4:30 PM

On a baseball level I would compare Monk to Lou Brock, who was never the very best in the business but had a long, consistent, productive career, retired with a couple of key records, played for multiple championship teams, and was a tremendous postseason performer. Also to Don Sutton and Eddie Murray.

Posted by: The Crank at February 6, 2007 5:25 PM

That's fair, Crank...I was thinking maybe Robin Yount/Paul Molitor...

Posted by: AstroFan at February 6, 2007 6:16 PM

I like the Murray & Sutton analogies.

Andre Reed and James Lofton also fit in on the football side of that equation. Henry Ellard just misses.

Posted by: Mike at February 6, 2007 7:40 PM
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