All posts by

Moon, Warren


Card: Action Packed 1991
Acquired: In Person, Houston Oilers Training Camp 1992
See also: http://n8d.flywheelsites.com/2011/moon-warren-2/

Warren Moon’s career is a long and storied one, that while it didn’t end in a SuperBowl appearance, certainly it was worthy of the Hall of Fame induction that he received in 2006.  Warren Moon’s career in football spans amazingly 4 decades of the sport. After a standout performance for the Washington Huskies that culminated in a Rose Bowl appearance and MVP honors, he was told by NFL scouts that he’d be better suited to play defensive back or tight end. You see back in the 70’s there was still the stigma at the pro level that black players couldn’t play quarterback. Frustrated and ready to prove people wrong, – Moon packed his bags and headed to Canada to play for the CFL, where he’d be signed by the Edmonton Eskimos. He went on to shatter CFL league records leading the Eskimos to 5 consecutive Grey Cup Championships from 1978-1982, and winning Grey Cup MVP honors in 1980 and 1982. He’d also set the record for most yards passing in a game,(broken in 2005,) and most yards (career) in league history.

Moon would decide to enter the NFL in 1984 where a bidding war ensued for his services. The Houston Oilers stepped up to the plate, offering the most attractive opportunity for Moon. With Hugh Campbell (his former CFL coach,) and a million dollar a year salary on the table, Moon immediately became the centerpiece for the long suffering Houston franchise. Moon quickly set the team season passing record in his first year under center, but Campbell would be fired after two losing seasons. With a new coach in Jerry Glanville, the Oilers began to take on a new tough personality, and Warren became the prime beneficiary of the team’s change. With the Red Gun offense firmly in place, Warren led the Oilers to their first winning record with him under center and the beginning of the team’s consecutive playoff appearance streak. 1989 saw Glanville’s last season in Houston, and the new Sheriff in town in 1990, who installed a new sense of discipline, and the Run ‘N Shoot offense- Jack Pardee. Over the years, the team built an impressive receiver corps in Drew Hill, Haywood Jeffires, Curtis Duncan, and Ernest Givins. Warren Moon would set new career highs leading the league in a variety of categories, and tied the record with 9 300 yard games. In his greatest moment, Warren trodded out onto the frigid Arrowhead stadium field in 1990, (a place they had gotten whupped a year earlier 35-3) and threw for 527 yards against a staunch Kansas City defensive unit.  1991 again saw  Moon set a new NFL record for attempts with 655 attempts (since broken), and during the offseason Warren would also help on USA broadcasts for the WLAF games.  The team won its first divisional title in 1991 and again in 1993 with a league best record 12-4- but the team advanced no further than the divisional round in any season. By the end of the 1993 season, Warren virtually held every team passing record.

In came meddling owner Bud Adams during 1994, (- a recurring theme in Oilers history), who decided that the team was too old and wanted to change the direction of the franchise. Bud decided that much of the team was too old, so he traded Warren to Minnesota for a few draft choices.  In the meantime the team slumped to 2-14 behind Bucky Richardson and Cody Carlson at quarterback as Jack Pardee quit. Warren however went on to prove Adams wrong throwing for over 4200 yards in each of his first two seasons with the Vikings.  By 1997, Moon was a free agent again, signing with his college hometown Seattle Seahawks. He’d be the oldest player to score a touchdown at the age of 40. After two seasons there (he’d play in the movie “Any Given Sunday” as head coach of the rival New York team and then,) he’d head to Kansas City to serve as backup, retiring in 2001.

Warren over his career was named to 9 ProBowls, ProBowl MVP once, Man of the Year in 1989, NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 1990, Pro Football HoF in 2006, and the Canadian HoF in 2001, in addition to numerous other accolades. Warren was also named #5 on the all time list of greatest players  in CFL history. Warren also at one point was ranked in the top 5 of nearly every NFL category, (including career fumbles and fumble recoveries- since passed by Brett Favre in career fumbles). Since football he continues to do commentary for the Seattle Seahawks, and wrote a book “Never Give Up on Your Dream: My Journey”. Recently Warren Moon was mentioned in an episode of “30 Rock”, and he has struggled from time to time with domestic issues. To give perspective of Warren’s career, he threw for over 25 miles in 4 decades of football from 1978-2001 (23 seasons) and he is the first and only black starting quarterback in the NFL HoF. A stoic presence on the field and a shrewd negotiator of contracts, Moon had an amazing arm, longetivity, and displayed quick release and smooth velocity on his throws. His combined CFL and NFL statistics are listed below along with some great videos of his work.

G 312   Att 9205  Comp 5357   Yds  70553   Pct 58.2%     Td 435  Int 310  Rat 84.2

A Moon highlight video playing for the Huskies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jp7hh52GBXE
Houston Oilers highlight video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxNuAcL2H74&feature=related
HoF video: http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/09000d5d8012ef58/Hall-of-Fame-Warren-Moon

Haley, Charles

Card: Action Packed 1992
Acquired: In Person, Dallas Cowboys Training Camp 1994.

Charles Haley is perhaps one of the craziest players I’ve had the pleasure of getting an autograph from and unfortunately this reputation has denied him from entry into the Pro Football HoF.

There’s always that guy you hear ‘stories’  and rumors about- The one who pulls out his manhood and runs down the hall peeing on Carmen Policy’s office wall. The guy who masturbated during team meetings and talked about other player’s wives while he did it.  The guy who attacked head coaches (George Seifert) and had a wonderful vocabulary that he loved to share with the media but they couldn’t print it. The guy who was so crazy it was rumored that Ronnie Lott was assigned to keep him in line. A guy who nicknamed himself “The Last Naked Warrior” -but it wasn’t his fantasy football team.  The guy who once received bananas in his locker as a joke because of his Neanderthal-like ways.  That’s what I heard.

But there’s the guy who you hear the straight up truth about what he left on the field as a player and father. He’s also the guy who suffered from Bi-Polar disorder, was manic, and was only diagnosed with it a few years after football. He’s the only guy who’s won 5 SuperBowl rings (49ers and Cowboys) and is modest enough not to wear one. He’s the guy who’s daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia and decided to retire. He’s the guy who came back for a final season despite injuries ‘for the love of the game’. He’s the guy who racked up 100.5 sacks over his career as a budding situational pass-rusher and then later defensive end. He’s the guy who wrote his wife poetry when they dated at James-Madison. He’s the guy who loved to go on shopping sprees- for his mother. He’s the guy who walks with a slight bend after constant back surgeries and through therapy, self-discovery and medication has come to understand what he’s done.  He’s the guy who with a committee that values winning over statistical performance, both which he’s demonstrated- still has not gotten into the NFL HoF.

The latter is Charles Haley today and that’s how I choose to remember him, and despite my penchant for hating on Cowboys- I really liked him.

In 2011, although drafted by the San Fransisco 49ers, Charles was honored by the Dallas Cowboys who selected him to announce their 2nd round pick during the NFL draft, and also with an induction into the Cowboys Ring of Honor along with Larry Allen and Drew Pearson.

G/Gs 169/109     Tac  485     Sac 100.5      Fum 26        Int 2    Yds 9   Avg 4.5      Td 0     Lg  8

Ervins, Ricky ‘Ric’

Card: Action Packed Rookies 1991
Acquired: In Person, Dallas Cowboys Training Camp 1996

Near the waning days of my first autograph collecting stint, (which could be directly attributable to a horrid relationship I began in a different story all together for a ‘my diary posting’,) I got wind that Ricky Ervins was signed by the Los Angeles Raiders who needed depth at running back to get through training camp because of injuries to many of their key players in 1996. I’d get him along with a few other players that year, but this would be my final time at Cowboys Training Camp at St. Edwards in Austin. It was a good, long run which yielded a slew of SuperBowl talent and interesting stories, but the Cowboys were leaving Austin and the Oilers had already packed Bud’s moneybags for backroom promises in Tennessee. I’d effectively tune out of the sport after 1997- not even watching it again until 2000.

Ricky Ervins from Pasadena, Ca is considered a USC legend- (holding many records that Reggie Bush would later break) for the squad and is most remembered for his 1990 campaign in which he won the Rose Bowl MVP honors. Despite his credentials, Ricky had to wait until the 3rd round of the 1991 draft to hear his named called-  by the Washington Redskins. You see, Ervins is another case of a player before his time.  At 5-7 , 200, Ervins was considered undersized for a tailback, but in this day and age Ricky would fit right in with most West Coast offenses and their 3rd down, ‘scatback’ roles. The Redskins immediately put him to work along side Earnest Byner and the electric duo would help the Redskins make other teams respect the run. In his rookie season, Ervins scampered for 680 yards (leading all NFC rookies), a 4.7 per carry average (leading all rookies),  a 65 yard long jolt for a touchdown, and win SuperBowl XXVI. (Ricky would be the leading rusher of the game with 72 yards.) He’d rarely see starting time but rather was brought in for a fresh set of legs and a change of pace. Ricky also was a formidable receiver out of the backfield making 32 catches in 1992 and start a career high 10 games en route to 51 more receptions in 1994.  He’d be signed by the San Fransisco 49ers in 1995, and inexplicably for no reason, got lost in the backfield shuffle and be out of a job at the end of the season. The Oakland Raiders came calling in 1996, where Ricky flew down to be in camp with the team in Austin for training camp. Unfortunately he wouldn’t make the final roster and retired. Since football, Ricky has opened a successful high school athletic prep academy called Xtreme Xplosion (http://www.xtremexplosion.net/) in Northern Virginia.

G/Gs 76/11   Att 554     Yds  2114   Avg 3.8   TD 8    Lg 65T    |
Rec 117    Yds 870    Avg  7.4     Td 2    lg  28