Saturday, August 2: Off To Ohio

While I’m getting ready for the trip to the Hall of Fame, today seems like a good time to remember just how long we waited for Art Monk to reach a day like today, and just how monumentally annoying that wait was.

I ran into Tom Kercheval yesterday in the Redskins.com TV production room down the hall. I wasn’t there looking for something to write about (actually, I was there to apologize to Larry Michael for misspelling his name yesterday), but when Tom walked into the room, producer and reporter Rebecca Mejia pushed him toward me and said, “This is the guy who got Art Monk into the Hall of Fame!”

Kercheval immediately shot that down — “Art Monk got Art Monk into the Hall of Fame,” he says — but he did spend hundreds of hours combing through Art Monk game footage to create a video emphasizing the receiver’s strengths and combating the most persistent myths that kept him from enshrinement. (Things like Paul Zimmerman of Sports Illustrated’s oft-repeated insistence that all Monk did was “catch 800 8-yard hook” patterns, for example.)

Tom managed to get the video into the hands of the presenters of Monk’s case, Len Shapiro (of the Washington Post) and David Elfin (of the Washington Times), and from there to all of the voters for the Hall of Fame. How much influence the video had is uncertain, although he does report receiving calls from some voters thanking him for opening their eyes, but it’s an impressive piece of work no matter what. And today, when Art Monk is about to finally receive what everyone thought was due to him years ago, it’s worth watching (or watching again) — not as an argument or a challenge, but as a well-documented celebration of a Hall of Fame career.

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4 Responses

  1. That made my day! I watched all the videos and can’t wait to see Monk finally get his due this evening! Thank you so much.
    By the way I love what you’re doing with this blog.

  2. Thanks for sharing that video, Matt.

    As for his being held out for so long, and it being such a mystery that it would happen, perhaps there’s an explanation that’s not been mentioned. It may mean more to those who appreciated his moving speech, the ovation, and his frequent references to his faith.

    It may well have simply been God’s providence. By holding back the voters, it made the whole matter take on a much more prominent place in the mind of the NFL, and surely some were paying more attention to his speech this year (to hear “what’s he gonna say?”) than may have if he’d gotten in on the first ballot.

    And what did they get for waiting? Nothing salacious, bitter, nor even much for sound bytes. Instead, he (and his son) praised his God and represented Him and Christians everywhere wonderfully and without reserve. In a world where Christians are so often lampooned and dismissed, it was wonderful to see God glorified on such a national stage.

    And to me it seems reasonable to think that God orchestrated things to happen that way. :-) I’m sure Art himself may see this eventually (if not already) as his “desert experience”: painful in the moment, but with patience and faith, it all works out in the end, for God’s fame. Soli Deo gloria!

  3. That video made my day. I was at the induction ceremony, and you simply can’t deny the class of Art and Darrell as well as both of their sons who presented them. For that matter, this year’s entire class was understated and humble. Something to truly respect. Redskins fans were overwhelming. They booed Michael Irvin and Tony Dorsett, which was a little foolish, but it was a great day to be a Redskin.

  4. […] Tom Kerchaval definitely helped me. Another guy sent me some direct Art Monk/Cris Carter comparison stuff in the playoffs, and Art’s numbers per game in the playoffs are better than Cris Carter’s. You talk about impact and big plays and things that matter, and they always said that Art didn’t have it and Michael Irvin and Cris Carter did. Well, Cris Carter in the playoffs did not do it, not to mention that his team never got to the Super Bowl. […]

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