A Burgundy and Gold Obsession
Game 12 - Philly. No biggie. Just a season in the balance ...

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  1. #1
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    Helmet Matt Mosley's NFC East Hall of Fame Debate

    ESPN NFL Divisional writers have been going through the NFL listing players they think may be HOF worthy. Matt Mosley wrapped up today with the NFC East.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/nfceast/post...of-fame-debate

    Redskins: Gary Clark, wide receiver

    Claim to fame: He didn't have the longevity of Art Monk, but he was brilliant during his eight seasons with the Redskins. In the late '80s and early '90s, I thought he overtook Monk as the best receiver on the team. He could stretch the field with his speed, but he was also willing to go across the middle -- as evidenced by his annual appearances on the All-Madden team.

    Case for enshrinement: The thing that always jumps out at me is that Clark had 65 touchdowns in only 167 games. Art Monk's in the Hall of Fame with 68 touchdowns in 224 games. But I don't want to turn this into an anti-Monk argument. I think they probably both deserve to be in the Hall.

    The fact that Clark was the top receiver on what I thought was the best Redskins team ever ('91) holds a lot of weight with me. He caught 70 passes for 1,340 yards and 10 touchdowns that season. Clark also had seven catches for 114 yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl win over the Bills.

    Clark was a player who inspired all of his teammates. And as of a couple of years ago, he was still inspiring the Redskins. Santana Moss told me about a time when Clark showed up to practice and told him to kick it into gear. Moss went on to finish the season strong after that talk in '07. Of all those great players from the Gibbs I era, Clark's the guy who always stands out to me. Perhaps he's hurt by the fact that Monk and Ricky Sanders were both so good.

    Case against enshrinement: He simply didn't do it for long enough. And one of his Super Bowl rings came in a strike-shortened season. If he'd played 16 games in the strike-shortened '87 season, I believe Clark would have had another 1,300-yard season. Those were pretty rare in those days, but he made it look easy.

    Clark got a late start because he spent a couple of seasons in the USFL. Those are two years he could've put up big numbers for the Redskins in the mid-'80s. But to nearly reach 11,000 yards in a relatively short career (compared to Monk's) is pretty remarkable.

    Bottom line: Despite his brilliance, he just doesn't have the numbers to get in.

    Best player who will never make it: I hope I'm wrong about this one, but it's unlikely left tackle Joe Jacoby will enter the Hall. The Hogs finally have a representative with Russ Grimm. I think those dominant teams of the '80s that blew open holes for John Riggins deserve more, but it probably won't happen. Jacoby was a trailblazer of sorts because he didn't get in a three-point stance on obvious passing situations. He was one of the first players to do that, and it soon caught on around the league. I think it's pretty much a wash when you put Grimm and Jacoby next to each other, but that's just me. I'm also a big fan of defensive end Charles Mann's work in the '80s and early '90s.

    ---------------

    No mention of Chris Hanburger however, this may just be for guys who are still on the ballot. If old #55 ever gets in, it will have to be through the Veterans Committee.

    The case for Clark is pretty solid, especially when you compare him to Lynn Swann and John Stallworth, guys who played at the same time as Gary. John Madden calls Gary one of his all-time favorite players and says he should definitely be in the HOF. Taking off the homer blinders for a second, like Swann and Stallworth, Monk and Clark made each other better. Had Emmitt not had Aikman or Irvin or vice-vice-versa it's possible none of those three would be in the HOF. Just because one steals a little of the other's thunder shouldn't lessen their accomplishments.

    The same can be said for Jacoby. Playing on a great line shouldn't diminish his contributions. I don't know if he'll ever make it but he should.

    Then again, I'm not totally sure why I get so caught up in HOF voting. Players usually get voted in because of others around them more than for their own accomplishments. The player who makes it is seldom totally responsible for his own stats. Greatness begets greatness in the eyes of those who vote. To them, numbers don't lie. The rest of us know better.
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  2. #2
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    Michigan State

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post

    The case for Clark is pretty solid, especially when you compare him to Lynn Swann and John Stallworth, guys who played at the same time as Gary.
    Not exactly. Swan retired after the 1982 season. Gary Clark debuted for the Redskins in 1985. Stallworth retired after 1987 so they only overlapped for 3 years. I wouldn't exactly call that playing at the same time.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by China View Post
    Not exactly. Swan retired after the 1982 season. Gary Clark debuted for the Redskins in 1985. Stallworth retired after 1987 so they only overlapped for 3 years. I wouldn't exactly call that playing at the same time.
    You're right China. I meant to say the same era. Other than Air Coryell and Dan Marino, teams really weren't throwing as often during that time. The fact that Clark lost a couple years to the USFL really has him playing earlier. Still, a guy like Jerry Rice is the reason a LOT of receivers will have a harder time making it to the HOF.

    At least he's a Hall of Famer to Skins fans, just like Chris Hanburger and Joe Jacoby.
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