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Monk, Green: Recognition For An Era, Too

The Redskins, of course, were an elite NFL team in the 1980s and early 1990s, but before last weekend that fact really wasn't apparent in terms of Hall of Fame voting.

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Now, with Art Monk and Darrell Green elected to the Hall of Fame last weekend, there is new respect for what the Redskins were able to accomplish as a team and as an organization during their 10 seasons at or near the top of the NFL.

In the golden era of Redskins football, which stretched over 10 seasons, the Redskins won Super Bowl XVII against Miami 27-17, Super Bowl XXII against Denver 42-10 and Super Bowl XXVI against Buffalo 37-24.

In addition, Washington made it to Super Bowl XVIII but was routed by the Los Angeles Raiders 38-9.

For all of that, prior to last weekend the Redskins had just one Hall of Fame player from their powerful 10-year stretch: John Riggins. (Joe Gibbs became a Hall of Fame coach in 1996.)

Riggins went into the Hall in 1992, the lone representative from the time when the Redskins were so successful. And he wasn't even part of the Redskins' latter two championship clubs.

The election of Monk and Green rights some wrongs over the last few years.

The Detroit Lions teams of the 1970s won no playoff games, but they produced two Hall of Famers. The St. Louis Cardinals teams of the same decade produced four Hall of Famers, but no Super Bowl appearances.

The announcement that Monk and Green will be enshrined is, of course, wonderful for them and their careers.

But to put the Hall of Fame Class of 2008 into some perspective is to see that the elevation of Monk and Green is validation of what the Redskins were able to accomplish between 1983 and 1992.

The Redskins teams of the 1980s and early '90s were perhaps overlooked because of the dominance of the Joe Montana-led San Francisco 49ers during the same era.

No longer, though.

During a press conference on Tuesday, Monk and Green were reluctant to say that the Redskins' golden era needed any validation.

They were more interested in thanking Redskins fans for embracing their careers, Hall of Fame or no Hall of Fame.

"You could look at it [as validation], I guess, with two of us going in," Monk said. "And the thing you have to realize is that, we have other teammates from our era who are deserving, too."

Green, like Monk, said there was just something special about those Redskins Super Bowl teams.

As the Hall of Fame cornerback put it: "It sounds kind of simple, but we had unity, we had leadership, we were character-based."

The Chicago Bears (26), Green Bay Packers (21) and New York Giants (18) have the most Hall members. The Redskins and Steelers are next with 17 "primary" representatives apiece.

Surely, the Redskins have a long way to go before they catch up with the Bears and Packers but for the time being the Class of 2008 puts the spotlight on many of those memorable moments, plays and games staged at RFK Stadium.

And rightfully so.

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