If you look up “diva wide receiver” in the football dictionary, you won’t find any reference to the Redskins’ all-time leading receiver until the very end. There it says, “antonyms: see Monk, Art."
He let his play on the field do the talking. That meant no flamboyant dances after scoring a touchdown, no trash talk to the cornerbacks attempting to cover him, no demonstrative complaining when he thought the ball should have been thrown in his direction. It also meant that he didn’t talk to reporters much. Many believe that is why the writers who select the players to get enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame by passed Monk the first seven times he was eligible for induction before finally doing the right thing in 2008.
The continued snubs were ridiculous. When Monk retired he was the all-time leader in receptions with 940. That distinction has always been an automatic ticket to Canton. His more impressive statistical accomplishment came in 1984 when he became the first NFL player (discounting the pass-happy AFL here) to catch over 100 passes in a season.
He set the record for pass receptions in a season in the most dramatic way possible. In the final game of the season the Redskins were hosting the St. Louis Cardinals. A win would give them the division title. The Redskins seemed to be cruising after Monk set the record with a 36-yard catch in the third quarter that set up a Mark Moseley field goal. But the Cardinals roared back and took a 27-26 lead late in the fourth quarter. Let’s let my book pick it up from here:
The Washington offense responded, but the drive was in trouble after end Elois Grooms sacked Joe Theismann to create a third and 19 at the St. Louis 47. With 2:40 remaining, everyone in the stadium knew the ball was going to Monk.
Therefore, Joe Gibbs had to try to find a way to hide Monk, inasmuch as that was possible. He sent in a play and formation that he had just installed that week called Two Divide. It called for Monk to line up at tight end on the right side. He fought his way off the line, found a hole on the right sideline and, Monk said, “The ball was perfect.” It worked for a 20 yards and the first down at the 27. On the day, Monk caught 11 passes for 138 yards.
Three plays later, Moseley came in. “I felt comfortable and positive,” Moseley said after the game. His feelings were justified as his 37-yard kick was perfect with room to spare and Washington was ahead 29-27 with 1:42 left to play.
-- From The Redskins Chronicle by Rich Tandler
The Redskins had to survive a late field goal attempt and they were finally able to celebrate their division title after Neil O’Donoghue was short on a 50-yard field goal attempt as time ran out.
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