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Warren Moon HOF interview (1 Viewer)


An interview with:


THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon,

Ladies and Gentlemen. National Football

League would like to introduce 2006 Hall of Fame

inductee Warren Moon. Thank you for being with

us today. Let's open it up for questions.

Q. You had a lot of people in your

career who had an influence on you. Is it an

easy decision to pick Leigh Steinberg or did

anybody else come close that you had to

agonize over?

WARREN MOON: You know, when you

play 23 years, you have a lot of people that kind of

influence your career, are mentors to you, had

confidence in you along the way, especially the

trail that I took. It was really hard to find one

person that was involved in every phase of my

professional career. I thought about Hugh

Campbell, who was my first professional coach in

Canada, as well as my first professional coach in

the NFL. I thought about Don James, my college

coach, who really saw something in me as a major

college player that a lot of other people didn't see.

I thought about my kids doing it.

The person that really has been with me

from the beginning from the time I came out of

college all the way through my professional career

was Leigh Steinberg. We became very close

friends as well as business partners throughout

that time. We continue to be great friends still. I

thought he would be the appropriate guy.

But, yeah, wasn't an easy decision. I think

he makes the most sense of everybody that I


Q. When you got to the NFL in '84, at

that point the scouts kind of admitted they

didn't have it right in '78, you became the

highest paid player in the league. Was there

anything after that point that you still had to

overcome to get to where you are today in the

Hall of Fame?

WARREN MOON: I think whenever you

come in with the type of fanfare that I did, making

the amount of money that I did, people were

looking I'm sure for me to make things happen

immediately. I was aware enough to know that you

can't do it alone. In football, it's the ultimate team

sport. You have to have good people around you

as a quarterback for things to happen.

We were in a rebuilding process in

Houston. I knew it was going to take time before

we got to that point where we could be the type of

team, I could be the type of player that I knew I

could be. I was very patient. But it was very

difficult in those early years because I took a lot of

criticism. That was probably the biggest thing I

had to overcome coming back was getting the type

of people around me, not only on the offensive

side of the football, but also on the defensive side

of the football, that could make up the type of team

I knew we could eventually be.

Q. After the '85 season in Houston, I

think you took quite a few hits, were sacked

quite a bit. It wasn't a great year, coaching

change. How much was your confidence

shaken after that second season?

WARREN MOON: I don't think my

confidence was shaken as much as I just knew I

wasn't in a system that was taking advantage of

my abilities. We were very limited in the things we

did offensively. A lot of the reasons I took a lot of

those sacks is because of different types of

protections that we didn't have in our protection

scheme. People were able to exploit that. We

weren't able to really audible at the line of

scrimmage, which hurts any quarterback, as far as

if you have a bad play called in the huddle, you

see what the defense has, you can't get out of it. I

just felt like we weren't in the right offensive


I think once we made the changes

offensively that next off-season to bring in the right

people to run the type of offense that took

advantage of my skills, we could get back on the

right track. That finally happened.

I was very disappointed in that '85 season,

no question about it, because I thought I had

played decent as a rookie, but I went backwards in

my second year only because of the coaching

change within that season and some of the things

we were doing offensively.

Q. What does it mean to you to be the

first undrafted player to be in the Hall of Fame?

WARREN MOON: It just makes me feel

like I worked hard to get to where I am right now,

that I took a very unconventional route to get to the

NFL first, then kind of reestablished myself, had a

pretty productive career. I just know that nothing

was really given to me, that I really worked hard for

it, as does every guy work hard in his career to get

to this point. I think the way I did it was just a little

bit different because of some of the other things I

had to overcome that didn't have to do with


I'm very proud of the fact that I was -- not

so much that I was undrafted, because I would

have loved to have been drafted, but the things I

was able to do considering I wasn't drafted and

wasn't looked highly upon as an NFL-type player.

Q. Other than maybe doing the

negotiations with Houston in '84, who in the

Oilers organization was most responsible for

you coming to the NFL?

WARREN MOON: I would say Mike

Holovak initially, because he was the one who

saw me up in Canada as he scouted the league.

He really had glowing comments back to the

organization about the type of player that I was.

Then Ladd Herzeg, the general manager

at that time. He was pretty much the one running

the football organization. He pulled a lot of those

strings, had a lot of power. I'm sure Mr. Bud

Adams had a play in it, too. Whenever you're

going to pay a player that type of money, I'm sure

the owner has a lot of say so in that. I think all

three of those guys had a lot to do with me coming

into the NFL and getting a chance to play.

But I'd say probably Ladd Herzeg was the

guy that really made things happen because of the

way he negotiated with my agent at that time and

made things happen.

Q. Now that you are retired, what is

your opinion about the Bills comeback in 1993?

WARREN MOON: It's no different now

than it was then. Definitely not as disappointed as

I was that particular day. I look back at that game

all the time, of different things that either I could

have done right or we could have did right as a

team that might have made the outcome a little bit

different. It will always be one of those games that

I will look back on and wish that things would have

been a little bit different because I really felt like

that team was good enough to win a Super Bowl.

If we could have got past that particular Sunday,

who knows what would have happened in the


Q. Your father passed away at a very

young age. I think the comment was made that

you were to be the man of the house at a young

age. What kind of effect did that have on you?

WARREN MOON: I think it had some

positives as far as how responsible I was, the way I

prepared for different things, the way I handled

different situations. But I think on the other side, I

think it made me grow up a little bit too fast and

probably didn't have as much fun growing up as I

probably could have just because I felt so much

responsibility on my shoulders at such a young


I think there were positives and negatives

to it. I think for the most part it really did help me

deal with a lot of things I was going to have to deal

with at a very young age that had to do with race

and the stereotypes and the different things I had

to deal with. I think if I was a little less mature, I

probably of would have maybe acted out a little bit

more or maybe not handled things in such a

mature manner if I wasn't kind of raised the way I


Q. In January you talked about going in

the Hall of Fame as the first black quarterback.

Now that you've had some time to think about

it, what is the significance for you?

WARREN MOON: Well, what I really think

it does, it just continues to legitimize the fact that

even though I don't think that needs to be any

more, that black quarterbacks can play this game

at a very high level, and we kind of established or

accomplished things at every level of football that

there is, whether being the first to start a game, the

first to get to a playoff game, the first to win a

Super Bowl, and now I'm the first to get to the Hall

of Fame, which is considered the pinnacle of

professional football.

I think we've kind of done it at every

particular level. There's nothing that ever can be

said about the African-American quarterback and

whether he belongs in the NFL, whether he

belongs in the Hall of Fame.

Q. How do you feel about being the

model of other quarterbacks like McNair,

Culpepper and Vick?

WARREN MOON: Well, I hope by the way

I carried myself and the way I played my game, it

had an impact on some of those young guys, just

gave them more of an opportunity to play the

position. I think the same was done for me as I

came along. You look at James Harris, Marlin

Briscoe, Joe Gilliam, guys like that that played

before me, they gave me kind of the inspiration to

show that I could play the game. Hopefully Doug

Williams, myself, Randall, some of the guys that

played during my era gave some of these guys

who are playing today inspiration that they could

play the game.

I think it's really helped. I think it's going to

be up to them to continue to carry the baton and

do a good job as players, not only on the field but

off the field, the way you carry yourself. It just

continues to give more guys opportunities to play

the position.

Q. Was there any reluctance on your

part to play in Houston, given the social climate

at the time, playing in a southern city in the

NFL, being an African-American quarterback?

Wouldn't it have been easier to go to Seattle

where you played your college ball?

WARREN MOON: Yeah, it was definitely

discussed as far as where I was going to play, how

I might be perceived down there. But if you know

me, if you know how stubborn I am, if you know

how I like challenges, I think then you understand it

wasn't as big a deal to me. I knew what I was

going to be dealing with going down there, just like

I knew when I went away from Los Angeles to go

up to Seattle to play coming out of junior college,

that that was going to be a big challenge for me,

too, because they had never had a starting black

quarterback up there. I was going to a place

where I knew absolutely no one. I was going to a

program that was 2-9 and had racial problems

before I got there under the Jim Owens’ era. The

two had similarities to me as far as a challenge

going in, taking a program that wasn't doing well,

and hopefully turning it around and becoming a

successful program.

I think the similarities really intrigued me

going down to Houston as well as having a

comfort zone of a head coach that I had been with

before in Canada and had success with. I thought

that comfort would help me.

Q. You were greeted like royalty when

you came to Houston. Were you worried when

they drafted Jim Everret that they were going to

trade you?

WARREN MOON: I was a little concerned

and I did ask about it. They told me they basically

drafted him to use him as trade bait for someone

else. All I could do is go by their word. But when

you do draft a quarterback that high in the draft,

you had a quarterback that just struggled the year

before, it makes you kind of wonder.

But I knew they had put a lot of money into

me two years before that. Normally you give a guy

a little bit more time than that. I really wasn't sure,

but I went along with their word. Fortunately, their

word was good, that they did trade Jim Everett to

the Rams. We got some great picks as well as

some good football players, Drew Hill being one of

those that I had a lot of success with as a receiver.

Q. Did you feel offended when you

wanted to play in the NFL after playing in

Washington and many people wanted you to

change your position?

WARREN MOON: There's no question

about it. I was hurt by the fact that I thought I had

done enough in my college career to at least

warrant getting drafted at a pretty good position in

the draft, then getting an opportunity to play.

Because there was so much opposition as far as

me playing another position, possibly not getting

drafted, it really concerned me. So that's one of

the reasons I chose the CFL is because they were

giving me an opportunity to play quarterback and

they were going to give me an opportunity to play


I just wanted to keep playing football and

keep developing. I really didn't care where it was.

But there's no question I wanted to play in the NFL

because that was my dream as a young kid and

also my goal as a college football player.

Q. Can you recall some of the

memories of going up against Reggie White?

WARREN MOON: Oh, no question about

it. He was probably the most intimidating, the most

physical football player that I played against.

Three guys I always refer to as three of the top

defensive players that I played against: Reggie

White, Lawrence Taylor and Bruce Smith.

Those three guys, you always had to know where

they were, you always had to concern your

protection about where those guys were. You

always had to either have a back on them or tight

end or giving help to that offensive tackle on that


Reggie White could take a game and

change it by himself. He was one of the few

defensive players that could do that because of the

amount of attention you had to give to him. One of

the nicest guys you ever want to meet off the field,

but one of the most physically intimidating players

that you ever want to see on the field.

Q. It's often said that quarterbacks are

measured by their championships. How

significant do you think the CFL years, those

titles, were in helping you get into the Hall of


WARREN MOON: I think they definitely

played a part because it showed that I did have

championship abilities in me. But I think the

consistency that I had in the NFL as far as being

able to get to the playoffs many, many times in a

row, it showed consistency that I could win.

Now, the championship, yeah, that takes

you to the next level. Sometimes guys get a

championship and they're considered maybe a

little bit better than what they are. But I think

consistency and productivity are just as important.

No question about it, championships are what you

play the game for. I definitely played it for that. I

would have loved to have won at least one. It's a

team game and you have to have the right team in

order to win the whole thing.

It's unfortunate that I didn't get that. That

was one of the goals I set for myself. But I

accomplished and surpassed so many other things

that I never thought I would accomplish in my


Q. Without guys like Haywood Jeffries,

Ernest Givens, are we sitting here talking with

Warren Moon?

WARREN MOON: I hope so. I would

hope anybody -- not anybody that I had around,

but I would hope they would have good receivers if

those guys weren't there. There's no question you

have to have good players around you to be a

good quarterback. I've always said that. A

quarterback is only as good as the people that

surround him.

I think we worked hand-in-hand. I think

there's things I did to make those guys better and

vice versa. That's the way quarterback-receiver

combinations work in this game. I would think it

would be no different with these guys.

Q. The fact that you're in the Hall of

Fame now, does that make up for not winning a

championship or are you always going to have

a void?

WARREN MOON: I don't think it will ever

take the place of not winning a Super Bowl

because it's a team game, it's a team award,

winning a championship. The Hall of Fame to me

is more of an individual award within a team game.

I think the two are very different. I think this

validates me as an individual player getting to the

Hall of Fame, but I think not having that

championship ring will be something I'll always

wish I had at this particular level only because

that's the main reason you play this game.

Q. Are you going to continue doing


WARREN MOON: I would like to. I really

enjoy it. I think it's a lot of fun. I think it gives me a

chance to talk about the game, a game that I

played a long time. It just keeps me close to it.

Football has been a part of my life since I was 10

years old. I just can't see myself not being

involved in it in some form or fashion. I think

broadcasting gives me a chance to do that, but it

also gives me a chance to do other things where

I'm not just pigeonholed into being just a football


Q. Do you find it interesting two of the

guys in your class are Aikman and Madden,

two fellow broadcasters?

WARREN MOON: Right. That's kind of a

natural transition for a lot of guys, to go into

broadcasting after their playing days are over, only

because we do have so much knowledge of the

game. I think people want to hear from guys that

actually played the game. If you have a way of

communicating that to people, you usually can be

pretty successful in this business. If you have the

work ethic that you carry on the football field into

your profession as a broadcaster, I think you can

have success.

Q. Which of the teams you played on in the NFL was the best and why?

WARREN MOON: There's a couple of

teams I played on in Houston that were probably

the best. I think it was just because of the balance.

I think the team we had maybe in '92 or '91, it was

one of the top defensive teams in the league as

well as we had one of the top offenses. We had a

punter that was an all-pro punter in Greg

Montgomery, a very good place kicker in Al Del

Greco, and a very good offense and a very good

defense. I think those two teams are probably two

of the best I ever played with from a pure talent


Q. Do you mean the '93 team?

WARREN MOON: Yeah, '93 and '92. The

team that came to Buffalo and played that day

was a very good defensive team. We were ranked

very well in the league defensively. We just had

the collapse in the second half defensively. We

played well all year long on defense.

Q. Have you ever been to Canton for

the enshrinement ceremonies? What do you

anticipate your emotions to be like that day?

WARREN MOON: It's been a while since

I've been there because I played in two Hall of

Fame games, one with Houston and also one with

Seattle I think it was. It's really hard to say

because when you're looking back and seeing

other guys say their speeches, you don't even

imagine yourself being up there on that stage as a

player because you almost look at these guys as

surreal, Hall of Fame players. Like, wow, these

guys are the best that ever played the game. It

would be sure be great to be that way one day.

Here I am one of those guys now.

It's hard to measure what my emotions are

going to be. I know what my emotions were when

they first told me that I was selected. They were

very, very high emotions for me, especially a guy

who is not real emotional. I wept like a little baby

when I was told.

I don't know how I'm going to react once I

actually get up there on the stage, but I know how I

did when I first found the news. I'm sure it will be

an emotional day for me, but I'm going to try my

best to keep things in check.

Q. Didn't you almost ride off the road

on your way to the press conference?

WARREN MOON: Didn't almost drive off

the road, but my wife did take the wheel for me

because I was overcome with emotion. We never

got out of control or anything like that, but she did

take the wheel and steer the car for a little bit until I

got myself back together.

Q. Didn't you almost ride off the road

on your way to the press conference?

WARREN MOON: Didn't almost drive off

the road, but my wife did take the wheel for me

because I was overcome with emotion. We never

got out of control or anything like that, but she did

take the wheel and steer the car for a little bit until I

got myself back together.
thought this was pretty :eek:

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