Friday, March 07, 2008

Linky Blizzard

The Starting Five asks if Brett Favre is really better than Warren Moon. For the record, I don't think Moon is nearly as good as Favre (and I certainly like Moon better--he had a good couple of years for my beloved Purple). But the point is valid: because of racism, Moon's first six years of pro football were spent in the CFL. If it weren't for this racism, what NFL records would Moon hold? How differently would we regard him? In recent years, Favre has been praised for overcoming the sorts of things that people commonly struggle to overcome, such as death and illness in the family. That sort of universal suffering should not be diminished, but there's something odd about so much praise on one person for dealing with it. But who really overcame more in his career? Moon had to go excel in Canada before he had a chance to be an NFL starting quarterback because of racism--now he's a Hall of Famer.

Via PFT, Kent Somers questions Larry Fitzgerald's commitment to winning--because he'd rather not give up the money that he has earned by his performance and that his team has agreed to pay him in a contract they gave him. If The Arizona Republic has to fire some reporters, I'll question Somers' commitment to working for a good newspaper if he doesn't restructure his contract to take less money. OK, there is some selfishness involved when an employee puts himself above his fellow employees (I once heard a story of a high school teacher that, during contract negotiations, preferred younger teachers be fired than see his wages frozen at all). But the Cardinals gave Fitzgerald a huge contract based on incentives that he met. If he hadn't met those incentives, he wouldn't be entitled to the money, and if he was really bad, he might be cut.

MJD writes about Warren Sapp's retirement. In the mid and late 90s, Sapp was a dominant defensive tackle, a player I really feared.

53 Deep discusses the Vikings' team needs for the draft. I'm now all about defensive line depth in the draft, and I also think the team should trade for some reasonable backup quarterback (Sage Rosenfels? J.P. Losman? Somebody reasonable).

When I saw the Yahoo headline and blurb about a golfer charged for killing a hawk with a golf shot, I thought it was remarkably stupid. They're really going to charge a golfer for hitting a bird with a shot? I assumed that it was an accident. No, he purposely and repeatedly tried to hit the bird with golf ball because it was noisy. A stupid quote, though, from a Humane Society executive: "Americans have no tolerance for cruelty to animals." Well, no, except for all the animal cruelty that people don't call animal cruelty and thus still participate in. The golfer should have just waited until hunting season, used a gun, and killed a different type of bird. Our laws and morals about treatment of animals are a mess of inconsistency.

At Epic Carnival, wwtb? explains why Brett Favre's career interception record will never be broken.

Addendum #2
At Fanhouse, TAN has some interesting insights about Favre and changing media treatment of players. But here's a rule: whenever a Fanhouse post touches on race at all, absolutely do not read the comments section. You'll just get sick.


  1. I hear what you are saying, but wouldn't those six years force us to see Moon in a different light given the success of his career. If you think about it, how many great quarterbacks put up the numbers he did after playing elsewhere for SIX years? Astonishing. Give Moon 11,000 yards in those six years instead of the 22,000 I projected and Favre would still be in his mirror. It cannot be diminished.

  2. Certainly. We can't know for sure, but I think had Moon gone straight to the NFL and got a chance to start in his first or second (or even third) year, he'd probably be the career leader in passing yardage (though note that according to the numbers you provided at your site, Moon would also be the career interception leader!). But Moon deserves to be in the Hall of Fame both for what he accomplished in his actual NFL career, and for what he accomplished in his entire pro football career.

    It's also speculative. I don't know what Moon might have been if racist stereotypes hadn't kept him from the NFL for six years, so I do base the quality of the player on what I was able to see. Favre appears better based on my own observation and on the numbers (not cumulative numbers, but peak numbers and the number of quality seasons; for example, Favre threw 30+ TD passes 8 times, while Moon threw 30+ TD passes 2 times).

    But that "What might have been?" question is still significant, and should make us appreciate Moon even more. I'd still take Favre at his best over Moon at his best, but I recognize that I don't know just what Moon might have been able to do with those six years in the NFL instead of the CFL. Those "lost" six years, through no fault of Moon's own, cost him the chance to be the career yardage leader, which would have made everybody respect his accomplishments a whole lot more.

  3. Anonymous4:10 PM

    There's really no comparison between the two. None. Just looking at stats (tossing out toughness, intangibles, leadership qualities) Favre's individual seasons dwarf Moon's (Moon's best TD season would be tied for Favre's 4th best, Moon's third best season rates 2 under Favre's 10th best--and on and on) and Moon played in the pass happiest offense in human history, in a dome. One season he had three Pro Bowl receivers--that must say something--Givens and Drew Hill were pretty good players and Jefferies was fine. Favre has had WRs go to the Pro Bowl a total of 8 times in his entire career. Moon threw a damn pretty pass and he got a raw deal early on but who knows how much he needed to learn the ropes before he could start in the NFL. Maybe if he doesn't go to Canada and star he languishes on an NFL bench for his career. What if?! If Steve Young got to start earlier he'd have pretty gaudy career stats too.


  4. Anonymous4:20 PM

    It annoys me how Fitzgerald is being villanized by some of the media. Seriously we are talking about a guy entering his 5th year and he has made the pro-bowl twice and he is young. He has over 31 million coming due him in the next 2 years and if the Cardinals aren't willing to offer that much guaranteed over the next 4 years well then too bad for them. They get him for 2 extra years and they can pay for other players.

    They got themselves into this mess they can deal with the problem. Either pay the man or cut him. If he got cut he would have no problem making over 20 million in guaranteed money. He obviously wants a shorter contract so that he can cash in via free agency earlier rather than allow the Cardinals to lock him up for more years without any competition for determining Fitzgerald's value.

  5. What the hell is it gonna take for a brotha to get some shine without all the damn buts?....

    Brett Favre is the career interception leader.

    Moon NEVER played with talents like Sharpe or Freeman or even Dorsey Levens g'damnit.

    Doesn't that amount for something? What the hell!

  6. RK:
    I don't think you can hold the run and shoot against Moon for two reasons.

    1. It's not like Chris Miller and Rodney Peete ripped it up (and they were in domes); it's still an offense that needs a great QB.

    2. You'd also have to hold it against more recent QBs that thrived in a lot of 4 and 5 receiver sets (including Favre in '07); 4 WRs is now a pretty standard formation.

    You've got one contradiction.

    You want to add CFL numbers to make Moon the leader in passing yards, AND you want to hold it against Favre that he is the interception leader. But if you add CFL numbers, Moon becomes the interception leader (according to the numbers you provided at your site). So if in an argument Moon is to benefit from his CFL yards, it's harder to criticize Favre as the INT leader without giving Moon the CFL INTs, too.

    I think Moon played with some pretty good WRs (Haywood Jeffries, Cris Carter, Jake Reed) but never very good RBs.

    I guess I'm in between: I think Moon was better than RK thinks he was but not as good as Mizzo thinks he was. But I still think Moon is a worthy HOFer who was screwed early on, so I don't think I'm showing Moon disrespect for that position.

  7. Anonymous10:00 PM

    Moon was good.

  8. I didn't add his CFL numbers. Those were projected NFL numbers based on his 230 (presumably low because of the last two years) per game average. Yes you are correct about the interceptions, I'll give you that, but played with Cris and Jake what...two years? He put up pretty solid numbers when he did. This is not a total racial thing PV, but say Blacks were heading the media, when we give reference to Marino, Elway and Montana, we would definitely add Moon. There's no question about it. Those six years changed history. Yeah we can say well maybe he would have taken time to develop, but six years? Yeah right.

    Also it's not like his legacy wasn't beginning in earnest as early as UW. Even though he was operating in a racist system, he persevered and won MVP in the Rose Bowl. How do we know he wouldn't have came into the league like Marino? To me, Moon is the Dr. J of the NFL. He was very successful as a Net, but we didn't get to see his true talent because of those ABA years. I have a huge problem with Moon not being mentioned as an all time great. Just like Randall in the NFC Championship against ATL (Gary Anderson) Moon is being punished for not winning the big one. That 93 team was good. It wasn't his fault his defensive coordinator faltered when it mattered most (Buffalo comeback even though Frank Reich did the same thing in college against Miami). The coordinator was fired the next day. I'm rambling, but I'm just sick of the buts when it comes to the brothas. We give unique White athletes their props (Nash, Favre, Kevin Love) it's time for history to do the same (Moon, Cunningham, Kobe Bryant(He's due for MVP))It's all about respect. Who do Whites consider Moon's equal? Dan Fouts? Come on!

  9. Mizzo,

    I agree: Moon deserves more respect than he gets.

    He's another great quarterback who led great offenses (so he did what was in his control) but didn't get helped by great defense. I think if we're going to evaluate QBs by team success, we should do so by points scored rather than wins.

    From '88 to '93, the Oilers ranked #2, #7, #2, #4, #6, and #4 in scoring. In '94 the Vikes ranked #7. In 1995 the Vikings were #4 in points scored, but #27 in points allowed. 27th! That 8-8 season wasn't Moon's fault. That's eight straight seasons he led teams to a top quarter scoring total (with two different teams), and he was 32 at the start of that run (there are other QBs that didn't hit a peak until their 30s, but not for the reasons Moon had to wait).

  10. A few other notes:

    When you look at Moon's first few NFL years, you see the numbers of an inexperienced QB learning the game (low completion percentage, high interception rate, much worse stats than in his later career), not a player who came from the CFL ready to go. So I don't think it's accurate to suggest the CFL allowed Moon to develop. At an age when most QBs are hitting their primes (28-31), Moon was learning to adjust to the NFL game. Considering he was a good college QB, he should have been adjusting to the NFL at 22-24, not 28-30. I think it's more accurate, then, to call the CFL years "lost" years for Moon's NFL career, not a development period.

    And Mizzo, Viking fans blame Gary Anderson and Dennis Green for '98, in that order.

  11. Re: Favre's and Moon's teammates

    Moon played with Cris Carter for two and a half years; Favre played with Sterling Sharpe for just under three years. Their WRs are pretty comparable: a few years with an elite WR, a lot of years with very good ones (RK doesn't think Brooks, Freeman, Driver, Walker are as good as I do, but I don't think Jeffries, Givens, Hill are as good as he does).

  12. Anonymous10:51 PM

    Well, hell, if Rodney Pete failed..--I mean, come on. I wasn't saying Moon was awful. I wasn't saying he was Rodney Pete. Chris Miller's stats in his healthy years were fairly comparable to Moon's. He had about as much success in the play offs as Moon ever did, too, which is to say he won a game.



  13. Before you hold Moon's playoff record against him, look at his actual playoff performances: he played well in a lot of very close losses. Here are some of his playoff games:

    He threw for 315 yards and 2 TDs, lost to the Steelers by 3.

    He threw for 325 yards and 3 TDs, lost to the Broncos by 2.

    He threw for 371 yards and 4 TDs, lost to the Bills by 3.

    In 10 playoff games, he averaged 283 yards per game, 1.7 TD passes per game, 7.0 yards per attempt, and completed 64.3% of his passes. He's actually a good playoff quarterback.

    People have to stop holding playoff losses against QBs--THEY DON'T PLAY DEFENSE! In his 10 playoff starts, his teams gave up an average of 26 points per game. There aren't many QBs winning playoff games when their defenses are giving up 26 ppg. Eli Manning is now praised as a clutch playoff QB; if the Giants had given up 26 points in any one of their playoff games this season, they would have lost.

  14. Here's another thing on Moon's playoff career: late in his career, he had four consecutive playoff games completing 70% of his passes: 70%, 75%, 72%, and 74.4%. The Oilers won the first one, and lost the next three, giving up 26, 41, and 28 points.

    I know that QBs that come through in clutch situations are rightly praised. But it's absurd to hold a team playoff record against one player at one position when the statistics show that he performed excellently, but his team's defense just wasn't good.

  15. I thought the Moon discussion was worthy of its own post. See above:

  16. Anonymous12:25 AM


    Did you actually look at Chris Miller's stats???? Or are you just "remembering" his stats.

    Comparing Moon to Chris Miller is a total insult to Moon.

    Seriously, go look at the stats. An insult.