Eskimos History: Warren Moon remains in a class all his own
By Rob Soria
As great a career as Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo has put together, this talk of him being the Greatest Quarterback in history of the CFL, is almost comical. With all due respect, there is only one man that can claim that honour. That man being Edmonton Eskimos legend Warren Moon.
Edmonton - September 18, 2012 - As great a career as Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo has managed to put together during his nineteen years in the Canadian Football League, this talk of him being the Greatest Quarterback in history of the league, is almost comical. With all due respect to Calvillo, Damon Allen, Doug Flutie and Ron Lancaster, whom all put up impressive numbers throughout their outstanding CFL careers, there is only one man that can claim that honour. That man being Edmonton Eskimos legend Warren Moon.
While the Alouettes QB sits atop the CFL's all time passing leaders list and has actually thrown for more yards than any man to play the game of football. Impressive for sure but that alone does not make him the best of the best. Collecting statistics because of one's longevity in the game should not and frankly can not be how one judges the greatest of all-time. In fact, if you look at the CFL record books, you will be hard pressed to find Warren Moon among the leaders in many, if any, quarterback categories.
For those of us that were privileged enough to have watched Moon during his time with the Green and Gold, we know just how good this guy was. During the six years he played in the Alberta capital, the former Washington Huskies standout, showed exactly why it was complete nonsense for him to have to come to Canada to play professional football.
He was the perfect quarterback. At 6'3" and 220 lbs, Moon was about as imposing a figure as you would find playing the quarterback position and few have ever played it with the same combination of power and grace. He had an absolute canon for a throwing arm, with pinpoint throwing accuracy and the ability to scramble with the best to have ever played the game. In short, he was the the complete package and outside of Doug Flutie, no other quarterback left one CFL defence after another wondering what they had to do to stop this guy.
However, unlike Flutie, who was far from your traditional QB, watching Moon was poetry in motion. Just thinking back to seeing him scamper to his right or left, it mattered little, and firing one bullet after another, in full stride, as if it were child's play, still brings a smile to my face. It was almost laughable at how good this kid was. He made a good Eskimos receiving core look like world beaters, placing ball after ball in the perfect spot for them to make one grab after another. If they could open, he would get them the ball.
Obviously, if it were not for the colour of his skin fans of the Canadian game would never have been blessed with the opportunity of watching Moon do his thing north of the border. It was brief stint but during his six years in Edmonton, Warren was as dominant a player as this league has ever seen. He won five Grey Cups, two Grey Cup MVP's and one Schenley Award as the league's MVP after passing for a league record 5,648 yards, in his final season.
From 1984-2000 Moon finally found his way into the NFL and despite playing all those years in Canada, he still managed to put together one of the most impressive statistical careers in the history of the National Football League. He was elected in to the CFL Hall of Fame in 2001, immediately following his retirement from the game and was than enshrined in Canton, Ohio five years later. Becoming only the second man to have both honours bestowed upon him and is the only player to have ever achieved the feat.
The Canadian Football League has had their fair share of great players come through over its storied history, many of which who played the quarterback position. As good as many of those men were, not one comes close to the greatness that fans in the City of Champions were lucky enough to witness from 1978-1983. It was a very special time for the Edmonton Eskimos and one that will not only go down for producing the greatest football team in CFL history but also the Greatest Player to have ever graced a Canadian Football League field.
Rob Soria is the Edmonton Oilers' correspondent for OurHometown.ca. Rob was born and raised in Edmonton and is the author of the Edmonton Oilers blog - OilDrop.ca. He has been a dedicated follower of the game and its history for years but his focus remains on his hometown Edmonton Oilers. If you have questions or wish to contact Rob, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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