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Eric's Guest Blog

Eric, a friend of the blog who lives in Florida these days, did some major-league research on Art Monk and provives a statistical look at the man who continues to be snubbed by the HOF for who knows what good reason. Anyway, I'll step aside and let Eric's work take over.

Eric writes:

What has long been universally acknowledged in Redskins nation has recently become almost universally acknowledged with the entirety of NFL fanation: Art Monk deserves a spot in Canton.

Convincing the entirety of Hall of Fame voters, however, still remains a challenge.
With Monk entering his 8th year of eligibility as more great receivers near eligibility (Chris Carter (eligible), Jerry Rice (2010), Tim Brown (2010)), it would appear that Monk's window of opportunity is nearly closed. And since the numbers can't change, we need to change the way the voters look at the numbers, and quickly.

It's generally assumed that one of Monk's greatest shortfalls is his absence of league leading yardage and only three appearances among the league's top-10 (some voters even turn to scout's rankings; wouldn't that be a 'Hall of What Could've Been'?), but how does his yardage compare as a function of his team's yardage? After all, isn't a player's performance directly relative to his teams?

Examining the Hall of Fame receivers whose careers overlapped or ran concurrently with Monk's (excluding Lynn Swann, whose phenomenal Super Bowl performances are his main reason for induction) we find that, regardless of their yardage as relative to the league, they all shared an almost equal percentage of their team's yards.

Comparing the average of their best seven seasons* (Seven, though completely arbitrary, appears to be an equitable amount on which to base conclusions. Looking at this smaller sample counters the oft-repeated claim that Monk merely "compiled" great career numbers), the Hall of Fame receivers and Monk stack up like this:

As a percentage of their team's passing yards: Irvin (37%), Largent (32.43%), Lofton (32%), Stallworth (31.4%), Monk (28.57%), Joiner (23.43%)

As a percentage of their team's total yards from scrimmage: Irvin (24%), Largent/Lofton (21%), Monk (19%), Stallworth (18%), Joiner (16%) Remember, the Redskins won 2 Super Bowls (in Monk's 7 best seasons) during this time and Monk had almost as many yards in his offense as Lofton had under his own. Even though Lofton's total yards were higher, they were relatively equal to Monk's under their offenses. It's also worth noting that while Michael Irvin led the league in passing yardage multiple times, he never led his team in yards from scrimmage, something Art Monk did twice.

Though some voters value big play-making ability over receptions, quarterbacks and coaches can't control YAC so it's important to look at the one thing they can control - who gets the ball. This is an indicator of how much a team valued the player in their passing offense. As a percentage of their team's total receptions (again, over their 7 "best" seasons):

Irvin (28%), Monk (27.71%), Stallworth (26.6%), Largent (25.5%), Lofton (22.43%), Joiner (18.57%)

Notes and Disclaimers:

1. The years used were chosen by me and may not be the most productive. The years for each player were:
Charlie Joiner: 1976, 1979 - 1981, 1983 - 1985
*John Stallworth: 1978, 1979, 1981, 1984, 1985 (only 5 of Stallworth's seasons were used due to his a) not having more than that b) great postseason play being a major factor in his induction
Steve Largent: 1978 - 1981, 1983 -1985
James Lofton: 1979 - 1981, 1983 - 1985, 1991
Michael Irvin: 1991 - 1995, 1997, 1998
Art Monk: 1984 - 1986, 1988 - 1991

2. Most stats are from . These stats are not necessarily accurate, as the site disclaims (read: blame him, not me) and my transcribing them may be equally inaccurate (read: blame me, not him). However, it's doubtful than any one error is so egregious as to effect the argument or data as a whole.

3. All averages and charts were calculated and made by me and therefore could be completely inaccurate. If this is the case the fault rests with my years navigating through the Virginia public school system in a dirigible constructed of daydreams and a short attention span. My10th grade math teacher is the most likely culprit, blame him.

4. I'm just a Redskins fan; not a mathematician or statistician

By Jason La Canfora  |  March 6, 2007; 8:00 AM ET
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