Oldtime Houston Oilers fans ought to enjoy this retrospective on the life and times of Warren Moon, who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame next weekend. A little sample:
Clyde Walker had a brown Ford Falcon. Warren Moon needed a ride. And they have rolled together since high school, paving memory lane - Moon playing disc jockey to Walker's driver and playing keyboard on the dashboard.
Walker was there for the death threats before a game against Crenshaw High - and the five touchdowns Moon threw as he shrugged them off. And the high-school all-star game Moon wasn't invited to that they watched together, in silence, from the stands.
"People just had no sense of what he was capable of," Walker says. "Just like at UW."
Walker put up with racist slurs bandied around the stands, listened to fans question his friend's intelligence, until he could take no more. Then he stood up, started talking back and only narrowly avoided several fights.
"It was tough to listen to the ignorance, to listen to the racism, to listen to the frustration a lot of fans were feeling," Walker says. "They didn't get it. I felt sorry for some of those people."
They feel sorry, too. People have approached Moon in the years since he led the Huskies out of obscurity and to a 1978 Rose Bowl victory, grown men, bawling, asking for forgiveness.
"Those were some bittersweet days," Moon says. "I learned a lot about people. I learned about how tough I was. And I learned a lot about adversity and success."
Looking to leave Canada for the NFL, [Moon and agent Leigh Steinberg] took a secret visit to Houston in the middle of the night, went to the Oilers' facility when no one was around, ate dinner at an obscure downtown restaurant.
Seven teams were interested in Moon. Houston owner Bud Adams promised oil fields. New Orleans took the duo on a boat, pointed at the skyline and said, "All this can be yours." They arrived in New York City at 5 a.m., trash strewn in the streets, two cab drivers fighting on the curb.
The headline the next day in a New York tabloid read: Spaced-out Giants Shoot for the Moon.
They narrowed the list to two teams: Houston and Seattle. Both teams offered $5.5 million for five years, the largest contract in NFL history at the time. Only Houston offered $4.5 million as a signing bonus, the Seahawks only $1.1 million. Houston hired Hugh Campbell, Moon's coach in Edmonton, at the last minute.
To this day, Moon swears he wanted to sign with the Seahawks. But $4.5 million guaranteed was too much to pass up.