Warren Moon: the NFL Could Learn a Few Things from the CFL

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Warren Moon talks about his playing days in the CFL during the inaugural CFL Week activities.

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, Saskatchewan, Thursday for the inaugural 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,” he said.

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 of team sports at that particular time, and that was a special thing to be a part of,” he said.

Moon marveled at the state of the league now, as to when he got started. Praising the efforts of CFL 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 played a combined 22 seasons in the CFL and NFL. He began his career in 1978 with Edmonton before signing with the NFL’s Houston Oilers in 1984. He also played for the Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs before retiring in January 2001. Moon, 60, is a member of both the Canadian Football and Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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.”

By Arielle Zerr
650 CKOM – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan