In today's Rewarding Moments In Washington History presented by Maryland Lottery My Lottery Rewards, we look back to 1992 when Art Monk made his 820th career catch to stet an NFL record.
It was October 12, 1992, when the Washington Football team hosted the Denver Broncos for a Monday Night Football showdown at RFK Stadium. As 56,371 fans sat in the stands, head coach Joe Gibbs led Washington in a dominating 34-3 win over John Elway and the Broncos, but that wasn't the main highlight of the evening.
Art Monk, who was in the middle of his 13th season, caught his 820th career reception, passing Steve Largent's record of 819 to become the NFL's all-time receptions leader. Once Monk made this catch, the fans rose to their feet and his teammates stormed the field to raise Monk onto their shoulders as former Washington quarterback Sonny Jurgensen said over the radio broadcast, "it couldn't have happened to a more dedicated player."
Washington, which entered the game with a 2-2 record, had easily secured the win. It held the Broncos to a season-low 26 rushing yards while Mark Rypien and the offense amassed 362 yards. Rypien scored on a one-yard run in the first quarter, starting an onslaught on 34 points that was only broken up by a 38-yard field goal from David Treadwell.
Gibbs said after the game the team intended on getting Monk the ball to break the record. He was targeted nine times and caught seven passes for 69 yards. The last three came in the fourth quarter when Monk was targeted on back-to-back plays. With 3:12 left to play, Monk broke the record on a 10-yard reception near the Broncos' sideline.
"I knew it was for the record. It was a play designed for me to catch," Monk said after the game. "I'm glad it's over. I was nervous before the game -- that's something I'm not used to. I was glad to be able to do it here."
Art Monk went on to finish his career with 940 receptions, becoming the first player to ever reach 900 receptions. Since then, Monk has become a member of the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. While his record has since been broken, it still stands as one of greatest accomplishments in league history.