The League

Rob Rang
Draft Guru

Rob Rang

Senior Analyst for NFLDraftScout.com and CBSSports.com

Moon Most Underrated

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I've read the comments of my colleagues and it would be difficult, if not impossible to disagree with their assessments regarding Jerry Rice, who I believe to compete only with Jim Brown as the best player in the history of the league and George Blanda, who, of course, revolutionized the game with his age and versatility.

However, the question posed wasn't who was the best 40+ year old player, but who was my favorite.

That man is Warren Moon.

Many of you have heard of him, but few know his prolific success on the gridiron as well as you should. Quite frankly, I believe in the history of the game, few quarterbacks have been more underrated.

The term underrated shouldn't apply to Moon. After all, he was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility (2006), so obviously those that matter realized his worthiness.

Still, few realize that Moon signed with the University of Washington because the Huskies were one of only a few teams willing to field a black quarterback in 1976. Despite success, including leading UW over Michigan in the 1978 Rose Bowl, Moon went undrafted and ultimately signed with the Edmonton Eskimoes of the Canadian Football League. Not surprisingly, Moon dominated there, leading the Eskimoes to 5 consecutive Grey Cup championships, before the Houston Oilers offered him a chance at the NFL.

Despite entering the NFL six years later than most NFL players, Moon played 17 seasons in the NFL, earning Pro Bowl honors 9 times. He accomplished this feat while playing for 4 different teams (Houston, Minnesota, Seattle, Kansas City) and played in his final Pro Bowl at 42.

When he retired, Moon held a litany of professional football records, including most passes completed and most touchdowns thrown. Combining his NFL and CFL stats, Moon's numbers are staggering: 5,357 completions in 9,205 attempts for 70,553 yards and 435 touchdowns. Even if his CFL production is taken away, Moon's career is still exceptional: 3,988 completions for 49,325 yards, 291 touchdown passes, 1,736 yards rushing, and 22 rushing touchdowns.

He is the only player to be enshrined in both the CFL and NFL Hall of Fame. He is currently the only black quarterback to be enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame.

Like many before him, Warren Moon changed the game. Few, however, changed the college, CFL and NFL landscape along the way.

By Rob Rang  |  July 20, 2009; 1:35 PM ET  | Category:  NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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It is amazing, and unfortunate that Moon didn't get a chance to start right away in the NFL.

Can you imagine if he played for Gibbs and the Redskins while the Hogs were around? The Redskins would have 2-3 more Super Bowls, and never would have had to utilize so many different QB's.

His career was awesome. He achieved the ability to win, and play in the NFL. But it would have been nice to see him win a Super Bowl.

Posted by: jmounadi | July 21, 2009 3:32 PM

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