Feb 6, 2005, 2:01 PM EST
Contrary to what Yogi Berra once said, sometimes it is over before it’s over.
When John Mulbach, Jr., introduced as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, announced that Art Monk and Russ Grimm had made it through the first cut of nominees from 15 to 10, there was still some hope that one or both would be cast in bronze in Canton. But neither made the next reduction in the field to six so, before Mulbach announced the four new enshrinees, it was over.
Grimm was in his first go-around and his selection would have been cause for celebration, of course, but his exclusion was by and large expected
It was a different story regarding Monk. He once held three major receiving records—receptions in a career, receptions in a season, and consecutive games with at least once reception. He is a slam-dunk Hall of Famer. The reaction to his exlclusion here was, what?
Shocked? No, not even mildly surprised. If you check the blog archives you’ll find this entry dated January 13 under the headline HOF: Another Year, Another Disappointment?
Two star players from Joe Gibbs’ first stint as coach of the Redskins, Art Monk and Russ Grimm, made the list of 15 finalists that will be considered for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame next summer. Monk has been eligible for induction for five years and has made it to the round of 15 every year, while Grimm has been eligible for nine years and this is the first time he has made it this far.
Don’t expect either to get in.
Angry? No, already expended enough of that on this subject. But many fans of the Redskins certainly were. Here’s a sampling of the reaction posted on one message board:
What a joke.
I am sick to my stomach.
If they can continually pass over a candidate whose peers and fans have consistently thought should be in, then there is some kind of prejudice going on with the committee.
Rot in hell Peter King and the rest of the idiots on the Hall of Shame selection committee. You are an embarrassment to the sport of football.
Back to the reaction here: Dumbfounded? Yeah, that’s it. Dumbfounded.
Even leaving aside the class with which he conducted himself on and off the field and the three Super Bowl rings, I just don’t understand how the man who once held those three records can be left out. I will say without looking it up that you can’t find a similar situation in any sport’s hall of fame. If you find one, my email address is posted above, please let me know.
I’m even more dumbfounded after reading this quote by Paul Zimmerman of Sports Illustrated, who goes by the moniker “Dr. Z” :
SI.COM: How about Art Monk?
Dr. Z: Monk was hurt by Michael Irvin being eligible this year. It’s done alphabetically, and Irvin was presented before Monk. I think that really hurt him.
So, Monk is out because “I” comes before “M” in the alphabet? Irvin makes the final six and Monk is voted off the island by sheer luck? The granting of the status of immortality is dependent on such happenstance?
I would assume that it is the solemn duty of each selector to walk into the selection meeting brimming with knowledge about each of the 15 finalists. While there is some discussion, I would think that it would take some new and stunning revelation by someone in the room to swing even a single vote. If the attention span of the selectors is so short that they can’t consider each candidate in his own right, they need to get some new selectors or at least get some ritilan in the room.
Monk’s former teammate Doc Walker once said that “Art Monk doesn’t need the Hall of Fame, the Hall of Fame needs him.” One day, perhaps in the somewhat distant future, the voters will recognize that fact and enshrine him in the hall. Until then, though, it’s another year, another disappointment.