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father moon
Leigh Montville
September 27, 1993
At every stage of his carefully plotted life, Oiler quarterback Warren Moon has shown wisdom beyond his years
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September 27, 1993

Father Moon

At every stage of his carefully plotted life, Oiler quarterback Warren Moon has shown wisdom beyond his years

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"I didn't want my kids to grow up in an exclusive neighborhood," Moon says. "I wanted them to know all kinds of people from different backgrounds. They go to public schools. I want them to grow up in a normal environment."

Felicia says his closets are, of course, color coded, everything arranged to perfection. Even the hangers are all the same color. She says he will sit in the living room, watching TV, and spot a mote of dust on the carpet. While Felicia will let the same mote sit on the floor until it is vacuumed, her husband, she says, will jump from his seat to pick it up. That is the way he is.

He is on the move constantly, especially in the off-season, one meeting after another in one city after another. There are periodic reports that maybe he will enter politics when he finishes football, but he says he doesn't think he will do that. Politics is too dirty. He does not want his life put under the scrutiny that politicians face. Acting is a possibility. Television commentary is a possibility. Entrepreneurial moves are a certainty. He would like to be part owner of a professional sports team. He already was part of a group whose bid to buy the NBA Houston Rockets fell short. He says Walter Payton, the retired Chicago Bear capitalist, is his model.

Moon seems blessed with a body, though, that will allow him to play much more football before any further career decisions have to be made. He is a workout perfectionist—no surprise—and still one of the strongest weightlifters, pound-for-pound, on the team. He has been injured only three times in all of the football he has played, a broken finger and a separated shoulder. He had one clean-out operation on a knee. The question that he asks over and over of the Houston coaches is this: Am I still playing at the same level I always have? The answer routinely is yes.

"I don't expect that they would tell me anything else, no matter what," he says. "But I think I'd be able to see it in their eyes if they were lying. I haven't seen that yet."

There is one piece of football business unfinished: Moon has yet to appear in the Super Bowl. The Oilers have been playoff flops for the past six seasons, never getting into even the conference championship. This is a statistic that bothers Moon. He wonders if he ever can be considered in the top echelon of quarterbacks if his team does not go to a Super Bowl. It would be as easy for Hall of Fame selectors to say "couldn't win the big one" as it was for the scouts to say "arm not good enough."

The disappointment last year was memorable. Coming back from the separated shoulder, he played as good a half as any quarterback ever has played, leading the Oilers to a 20-3 halftime lead in the AFC wild-card game in Buffalo. He hit 19 of 22 passes in the half for 218 yards and four touchdowns. He remembers still being nervous in the locker room.

"I went around, telling guys, 'It's not over,' " he says. "Thirty-five to three, you could feel it on the sidelines, everyone just letting down. Then it all fell apart."

The 41-38 Buffalo win in overtime was the biggest playoff comeback in history. Moon finished the game, answered the many questions in the locker room about the historic fade, then went to a telephone. He called Felicia in Houston so they could discuss whether or not the kids should be sent to school the next day, because things might be said. The decision was to keep them out for a day, then send them the next.

"It really wasn't bad for the kids," he says. "The whole city of Houston was in such trauma for about a week. Nobody was saying much of anything."

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