Nov 20, 2004, 2:52 AM EDT
Rich Tandler is the author of Gut Check, The Complete History of Coach Joe Gibbs’ Washington Redskins. Get details and order at <a href="
Art Monk, Russ Grimm, and Joe Jacoby have made the first cut on the way to the Hall of Fame. The three Gibbs-era stars are on the list of 25 semi-finalists for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. From the Hall of Fame’s website and press release
Modern-Era Semi-Finalists for the Class of 2005 – Pro Football Hall of Fame: “The list of 25 semi-finalists will be reduced by mail ballot to 13 modern-era candidates. That list will then increase to 15 finalist nominees with the inclusion of the two recommended candidates of the Hall of Fame’s Senior Committee. This year’s Seniors Committee nominees, who were announced in August, are two of pro football’s early pioneers – Benny Friedman and Fritz Pollard. The Seniors Committee reviews the qualifications of those players, coaches, and contributors whose careers took place more than 25 years ago. The list of 15 finalists for the Class of 2005 will be announced in mid-January.”
The exclusion of Monk, now in his fourth year of elegibility, from the Hall has been a particular sore spot for most Redskins fans. Simply put, it’s difficult to explain how the man who once held the NFL records for receptions in a season and receptions in a career can be left out.
This is just my speculation, but there may be a political dynamic in play this year that will help Monk get in. Paul Zimmerman of Sports Illustrated, known as “Dr. Z” has made no secret of the fact that he has opposed Monk’s entry for a laundry list of reasons. After the selection process last year, Zimmerman resigned from the Veteran’s Committee, which picks two nominees from the 1970′s and earlier. In doing so, he loudly criticized those on the main selection panel for not enshrining his nominee.
That’s not likely to sit well with the panel. They’re not likely to be very responsive to the arguements of the the man who threw them under the bus last year, who basically said that they didn’t know what they were doing. Perhaps that will give Monk the edge he needs.
It’s a shame that you have to discuss the political machinations of the committee instead of Monk’s merits in weighing his chances of getting in, but that’s what it’s come down to. His exclusion clearly isn’t on merits, so it must be due to something else.
I don’t want to give Grimm and Jacoby the short shrift here and the cases for them will be detailed in this space in the future. Grimm, I think, has an outside shot. Jake is a longer shot. Both are deserving and both should make it eventually although Jacoby likely will have to go via the Veteran’s Committee in a decade or so.
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