When you think of legendary NFL quarterbacks, recent legends like Brett Farve and John Elway and the current greats like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning come to mind. But another great quarterback that has to be mentioned in the same air is Warren Moon. I recently caught up with the legendary quarterback and here's what we talked about!
MP: Who did you model your game after growing up?
WM: To be honest, I didn't really model my game after anyone. I had versatility in my game. I could throw on the run, play-action pass, run if I had to and I could stand in the pocket and take the hit as well. That versatility allowed me to last in the league for so long and also allowed me not to be pigeon-holed as a particular style of player.
MP: Who were some of your idols growing up?
WM: Most of my football idols were minorities. I can remember growing up watching Roman Gabriel and James Harris play quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams. I also watched Jimmy Jones, who was a great quarterback at USC and in the Canadian Football League, and Marlin Briscoe, who was the first black quarterback to start a game in the NFL. Another guy I watched growing up was Joe Gilliam. Jefferson St. Joe drew me in with his flash and the strong arm that he had. Roger Staubach was a guy that I kept up with as well due to his scrambling, running ability and his propensity for making big plays. But for the most part, I idolized guys that looked like me and most of them happened to be in the area of the country where I grew up, Los Angeles. I grew up as a Lakers, Dodgers and Los Angeles Rams fan.
MP: For those that don't know, Warren does broadcasting of NFL games as well as having his own sports marketing company, Sports 1 Marketing. Warren, what do you feel has made your career after football so successful?
WM: I prepared myself beforehand educationally and financially. I actually did radio and other things while playing to prepare myself for life after football to see what I liked and what I didn't like. I pretty much had my plan in place for life after football during my playing days.
MP: What inspired you to give back to your community through charitable organizations?
WM: So much was done for me as a young kid with organizations like Little Leagues and Cub Scouts. I just wanted to use the platform that I had to help people that were less fortunate.
MP: Have you ever thought about coaching?
WM: I honestly never have. Coaching is a full-time commitment and I have tremendous respect for them. But I have so many other things that I like doing and coaching wouldn't allow me to do all of them.
MP: Anything that you wish you could have done differently in your career?
WM: You always go back to certain big games that you lost, but as far as my career, I would say that I could have worked even harder. There's always more work that you can do to get better.
MP: You played in the Canadian Football League and the NFL. Besides the rules and field length, what were some of the differences you saw in the Canadian Football League and the NFL?
WM: Players were more athletic in the CFL, especially defensive linemen because of the ground they had to cover. The game in the CFL was faster. You had 20 seconds to get the next play called when the ball was spotted. There were so many ways to score in the CFL. Every kick and punt had to be returned or you were giving up points. For example, if a field goal was missed, you had to bring it out of the endzone or it was a point for the team that missed the field goal. Another big difference is we only had three downs in Canada instead of four like the NFL.
MP: When you are doing broadcasting, what is your favorite part of calling NFL games?
WM: My favorite part would be when the game is tight coming down the stretch. You really have to analyze and anticipate what the next move is. The emotion begins to carry you and the game is moving so fast. You have to make sure that you are sharp on what you're analyzing and saying.
MP: What do you think about the current NFL compared to when you played?
WM: It's definitely different. It's not as physical as reflected by the rules. The passing game dominates more and the money that these players are making is astronomical. They deserve all of it and I hope they understand what players went through before them to get what they are getting now. Another huge difference is the amount of social exposure with mediums like Twitter and Facebook. And that's something that players really have to make sure they pay attention to and they have to watch themselves even more off the field.
MP: Who is your favorite quarterback to watch in the NFL right now?
WM: There are so many good ones, but I like watching Cam Newton. Cam is able to throw the football and can run. To be that fast and big and be able to think the game is exciting to watch. As he gains experience, he will be even better. My personal relationship that I've had with him since he has been out of college makes it even more interesting to watch him as well.
MP: Who was your favorite player to play with throughout your entire NFL career?
WM: I would say Tony Gonzalez. He was a young guy coming in the league in Kansas City when I was at the end of my career as a backup for the Chiefs. Me and Tony developed a bond and I became a mentor to him, gave some wisdom to him and watched him grow as a player.
MP: What advice would you give to players in the NFL or aspiring NFL players?
WM: I would tell them to continue to work on your craft and be the best that you can. There's always someone behind you trying to take your job, so don't become complacent, even when or if you reach stardom.
Much thanks to Warren for doing this interview with me. And remember to check out his company, Sports 1 Sports Marketing( http://www.sports1marketing.com) and also be on the lookout for Warren calling an NFL game near you!
(Warren Moon picture via www.knue.com)