Warren Moon Highlights a Unique Challenge Tom Brady Has With the Bucs

Virtually all football lovers have a take on what is or isn’t working for a team. But truly insightful analysis is a scarce commodity. One group qualified to weigh in are former players. Case in point: Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon recently gave his thoughts about Tom Brady’s current role with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Let’s look at Moon’s football career and exactly what he had to say about TB12.

Warren Moon’s CFL career

Despite having put together a successful college football career, Moon went undrafted in the NFL. Instead, he signed a deal with the Edmonton Eskimos, a team in the Canadian Football League. Moon would go on to play six seasons with the Eskimos. In that time, he set a bevy of records and established himself as one of the greatest players the CFL had ever seen.

During his time in the CFL, Moon threw 1,369 completions for 21,228 total yards and 144 touchdowns, according to Just Sports Stats. As a starting quarterback, Moon led his Eskimos squads to three straight Grey Cup victories. He remains one of the greatest players the CFL has ever seen, and was voted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 2001.

Moon transitions to the NFL

Tom Brady and Warren Moon during Super Bowl XL
Warren Moon meets a young Tom Brady in 2006 | KMazur/WireImage

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In 1983, with his football talent well-established, Moon decided to make the leap to the NFL. He ultimately settled on the Houston Oilers, where he spent 10 seasons. Moon’s adjustment to the NFL wasn’t a smooth one. His less-than-stellar supporting casts didn’t help. Yet under his leadership, the franchise turned its prospects around.

Moon made five Pro Bowls as the Oilers’ quarterback. His greatest statistical season came in 1991, when he threw 404 completions for 4,690 total yards, per Pro Football Reference. Following the 1993 season, the Oilers traded Moon to the Minnesota Vikings. There, he continued his top-level play. Brief stints with Seattle and Kansas City rounded out his career.

When all was said and done, Moon amassed an amazing 3,988 completions and 49,325 passing yards as an NFL quarterback, reports Pro Football Reference. Those numbers in themselves are elite-level. Yet combined with Moon’s CFL stats, it becomes clear that Moon was easily one of the five or 10 best quarterbacks ever.

Moon’s thoughts on Brady’s challenge with the Bucs

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As one of the best QBs to ever hit the field, Moon is in a unique position to evaluate a fellow-great like Tom Brady. He did just that in an appearance on The Herd with Colin Cowherd. Initially he was asked how he himself had managed to remain competitive as he grew older in the NFL.

Moon replied that he had made up for his declining physicality by honing his anticipation and learning to read defenses better. The conversation then moved onto the subject of Brady. Cowherd pointed out how many “weapons” Brady has on his Bucs team. Cowherd suggested that such optionality might bring additional pressure, with the QB feeling like he needs to target each of your guys enough.

Moon acknowledged that it can be a challenge to “make sure they all get the football.” But he implied that ensuring equity is part of what makes a QB great. He also referenced one of his own “run and shoot” Houston Oilers teams, which had four wide receivers on every down. As he recalled:

“One year three of those guys made the Pro Bowl with me, because I distributed the ball pretty evenly to all those guys and they were all very successful. And that’s what you have to do when you have a lot of different weapons. You have to keep all those guys happy somehow some way.”

To judge by Brady’s success in Tampa this season, it seems fair to assume he’s lived up to Moon’s standard of what it means to be a great quarterback.