Warren Moon has seen the playoffs from both sides now, not to mention both sides of the border.
Before entering the NFL in 1984, the former University of Washington quarterback led the Edmonton Eskimos to five consecutive Grey Cup victories. In 10 seasons with the Houston Oilers, Moon appeared in 10 playoff games. Since becoming the analyst for radio broadcasts of Seahawks games in 2004, Moon has called 13 playoff games – including Super Bowl XL after the 2005 season, and Saturday’s divisional playoff win over the New Orleans Saints that has the Seahawks hosting the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game at CenturyLink Field on Sunday.
So who better to ask for playoff memories than the prolific passer who is member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Canadian Hall of Fame?
And with Moon, there are memories as a player from his 17-season NFL career that also included stints with the Minnesota Vikings (1994-96), Seahawks (1997-98) and Kansas City Chiefs (1999-2000) and as a broadcaster sitting next to play-by-play man Steve Raible.
“It was our first playoff game after me getting there and going through a couple of lean years before we finally built our team into a playoff team,” Moon said Wednesday, while standing on the sideline watching the Seahawks’ practice along the shores of Lake Washington. “So getting that first playoff win at home was huge.”
Did it matter that it came against the Seahawks, the other team Moon considered signing with when he came out of the CFL?
“It really didn’t,” Moon said, before adding with a smile, “But it did.
“But it didn’t really matter who we played. It would have been just as special against another team because it was the first one and it was at home in front of our home crowd. And they had waited a long time. They had been through some really lean years.”
Like 3-13 in 1984. Like 5-11 in 1985 and 1986. But that 1987 season was the start of a seven-season run with Moon at the offensive controls where the Oilers won 10-plus games four times and nine in each of the other three seasons.
“So that was special,” Moon said.
Moon the broadcaster opts for the obvious – the 2005 NFC Championship game against the Carolina Panthers in Seattle. But not just because of the outcome – a 34-14 victory that sent the Seahawks to the only Super Bowl in franchise history.
“That was pretty special,” Moon said. “We’ve had a lot of loud games since, but I think that’s still been the loudest game so far that I can remember. With the press box trembling and the crowd just going nuts for that whole football game. For 60 minutes, the energy in that building was unbelievable.
“And then after the team won, the players going around the field slapping high-fives with all the fans. That was a moment to remember.”
Has the game changed for Moon now that he’s analyzing the action rather than involved in it?
“Game day is still the same for me,” he said. “Every week, I come into the stadium almost like I’m walking in like I’m a player. I have the same mindset that I would as a player, even though I’m getting ready for a broadcast. I come out on the field and I talk to as many of the guys as I can, giving them a little advice or whatever it might be.
“It might not mean anything to them. But to me, it’s a way for me to give off some energy that I still have inside even if I don’t play anymore. So game day is still what I miss the most about it.”