He’s a legend in both leagues, but Warren Moon says he’ll never turn his back on the one that gave him his start.
Moon was in Regina Thursday for the inaugral CFL Week, despite not having been in a CFL uniform since 1983. He said being in town for the event, and continuing to promote the league, is all about loyalty.
“I’m never going to turn my back on the opportunity (the CFL) gave me because who knows where I end up if I don’t get this chance to come here and play.”
Moon was one of the first black quarterbacks to play in the league, and his success – including five straight Grey Cup championships – paved the way for so many others who came after him. He hoped that was one of the lasting impacts he had.
“Just opening doors for more African American guys to play the position and playing at a high level and consistency that made the people that made the decisions in football … see that they deserved an opportunity,” Moon said, but was quick to add his incredible record with the Eskimos.
“We are probably one of the winningest teams in the history team sports at that particular time and that was a special thing to be a part of,” he said.
Moon marvelled at the state of the league now, as to when he got started. Praising the efforts of Commissioner Jeffrey Orridge for making the league buzz all year long, just like the NFL has been able to do.
He said the league is in a much healthier place than it was when he was in it and the exposure it gets, even in the U.S. is important.
Moon moved on from the Eskimos after the 1983 season and went on to play 16 years in the NFL, primarily with the Houston Oilers, but also with the Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Having played in both leagues, he’s in a unique position to compare the two, and he said the NFL should look at the northern game more than it does.
“They need to take some lessons from up here because this game is so fast it really makes you have to have your thinking cap on all the time,” Moon said. “There’s so many ways to score and I just love that the action always continues.”
“I just love the speed of this game; I love how it really makes you think faster.”