Friday, February 22, 2008

Art Monk: Hall of Famer?

Recently hall of Fame voters ended years of controversy by inducting former Washington Redskins WR Art Monk into the Hall of Fame. To me, Monk was a very good player but not the great receiver you'd like to see make the Hall. Certainly Chris Carter deserved to go in first. While Monk did once hold the NFL's all-time record for receptions, his productivity per catch wasn't that great as seen by his pedestrian yards per catch and touchdowns per catch numbers. Whatever, he's in and at least he was a good player. Monk played for four Super Bowl teams, three of whom won it all so I checked to see if maybe he deserves some extra credit for big catches in championship games. He played in three Super Bowls and conference championship games each. (I only had play-by-play data for the Super Bowls). Here's the stats and the details:

1) 1983 NFC Title Game: WAS 24 SF 21

2) Super Bowl XVII, OAK 38 WAS 9
4th Quarter
Twelfth WAS Drive: OAK leading 35-9. 1st-and-10 at WAS 24. 26-yard catch. WAS punts 4 plays later.

3) 1986 NFC Title Game: NYG 17 WAS 0
Obviously none of Monk's catches led to any points. With his team down 10-0, Monk caught a 48-yard pass that set up a botched 51-yard
FG try.

4) Super Bowl XXII: WAS 42 DEN 10
1st Quarter
Third WAS Drive: DEN leading 10-0. 3rd-and-16 at WAS 10. 40-yard catch. WAS punts 4 plays later.

5) 1991 NFC Title Game: WAS 41 DET 10
Monk caught a 21-yard TD to increase his team’s lead to 34-10. Earlier Monk had a 17-yard catch to lead off the drive that made it 17-10
in the 2d quarter.

6) Super Bowl XXVI: WAS 37 BUF 24
1st Quarter
Second WAS Drive: Game tied 0-0. 1st-and-10 at WAS 11. 12-yard catch. 1st-and-10 at WAS 23. 17-yard catch. 3rd-and-14 at WAS 48. 19-yard catch. 1st-and-10 at BUF 33. 31-yard catch. On third-and-goal from the two , Rypien’s TD pass to Monk reversed by replay official because Monk did not get both feet in bounds. WAS then botches FG attempt. Score remains 0-0

2nd Quarter
Fifth WAS drive: WAS leading 3-0. 2nd-and-4 from BUF 29. 8-yard catch. WAS subsequently scores a TD to take a 10-0 lead.

3rd Quarter
Tenth WAS drive: 2nd-and-10 at WAS 30. 9-yard catch. Team punts two plays later.
Twelfth WAS drive: WAS leading 31-10. 2nd-and-20 at BUF 24. 17-yard catch. WAS scores on 25-yard FG to take a 34-10 lead.

All in all, he only caught one TD in those 6 games and it was fairly meaningless. His participation in key scoring drives also appears minimal. I think it would be stretching things to say Monk played a critical role in the Redskins' biggest victories.

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