Warren Moon is a retired football player, who played for the Canadian and American football leagues. He was born in Los Angeles, California on November 18, 1956 and was the only brother of 6 sisters. His father was a laborer who died of liver disease when Warren was a young child and his mother was a nurse who had to work single handedly to raise 7 children. Warren was a very supportive son, and helped his mother with the household chores like sewing, cleaning and cooking. He was a keen sportsman in high school but could only limit himself to one sport because he had limited time available to play after school. He attended Alexander Hamilton High School, but had to lie about his address because of the poor reputation of his own neighborhood. Although he was on the school team, he didn’t get much time on the field until his junior year. He was then selected as the varsity starting quarterback, and was named to the all city team.
Moon was selected by many colleges, but most of them wanted him not to play as quarterback so he decided to attend junior college instead of a 4 year college. He attended West Los Angeles College from 1974 to 1975 where he could play the position of quarterback as he chose. After this, he attended the University of Washington where he played for their team called “The Huskies”. Despite a slow start at the new college, he helped to defeat the Michigan Wolverines in the 1978 Rose Bowl, for which he was named the “Most Valuable Player” (MVP). After graduating from college, Moon was surprisingly short of NFL offers so he chose to join the Canadian Football League (CFL) instead. He joined a team called the Edmonton Eskimos, whom he helped to lead to five consecutive championship victories between 1978 to 1982. He also won the MVP award in 1980 and 1982. His final season in the CFL was 1983, when he was also awarded the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player Award.
Warren Moon decided to join the NFL that year, with many teams coveting him. He decided to go with the Houston Oilers, where he was coached by his former coach Hugh Campbell. He was offered the highest contract at that time, that is, $5.5 million for 5 years. He had a difficult transition period, especially because his coach was fired soon after he joined. Additionally, he was the only African American player in the NFL at that time, and the enormous amount of money paid to him put a lot of pressure on him to perform. He was eventually able to feel more comfortable, and between 1987 and 1993, the Oilers made it to the playoffs every year. Moon was ranked among the top 5 quarterbacks for two years. One of his best seasons was 1990, when he threw for 4,689 yards. This was one of the highest scores in the history of the NFL at that time.
In 1993, Moon was traded to the Minnesota Vikings, for a two-year contract worth $5.5 million. His time with the Vikings was fruitful and he performed well, but he still hadn’t been able to win a Super Bowl. In 1997, he became a free agent, and signed a 2 year contract with the Seattle Seahawks but was forced to leave after one season. Between 1999 and 2001, he played as a backup for the Kansas City Chiefs. He retired in 2001, the same year that he was inducted into the CFL Hall of Fame. Despite never having won a Super Bowl during his career, his performance spoke for itself and Warren Moon was inducted into the NFL’s Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006, becoming the first African American to be inducted. After retirement, he became a commentator for the Seattle Seahawks, for which he was also awarded the coveted Super Bowl ring by the team management.