Warren Moon accomplished a lot in his 17-year NFL career. That's why he was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006. There's one thing Moon missed out on, though. He never played in the Super Bowl.
More than anything, Moon wants a championship ring.
"I'd love to have one, even if I have to buy it," Moon told me with a laugh before leaving for New Jersey on Monday.
There's a chance he'll get one if the Seahawks win Super Bowl XLVIII. Moon, a former star for the University of Washington and the Seahawks, serves as an analyst for Seattle's radio broadcasts. He's worked for the Seahawks for the last ten years.
"That's the thing that's great about this whole experience," Moon said. "I've watched these players grow up into a great football team. Most of the guys came in together the last three and four years, and Pete (Carroll) has assembled this great group of talent. To watch them blossom and mature has been really fun."
Moon never played in the Super Bowl, but he's been to several of them. He covered the Seahawks when they played the Steelers in Super Bowl XL, and as a Hall of Fame quarterback, he's been invited by the NFL to attend the Super Bowl as a special guest.
"You love being around the game," said Moon. "I've been a fan of the game ever since I was a kid, and I'm still a fan of it. I'm around a team that has a chance to win a championship, which I never had a chance to do in the NFL. I can be on a championship team this year, so I'm just as excited as these guys."
Moon said it's important for the Seahawks to temper their excitement, and he added that they need to get through all the distractions that come with the Super Bowl. This atmosphere is unlike anything the Seattle players have dealt with before, but Moon doesn't necessarily think that's a bad thing.
"If you've never experienced it before, you don't know what to be nervous about," Moon said. "I think these guys just go out and play every week and have a ball doing it."
"They prepare very hard. Pete (Carroll) keeps them thinking every game is a championship, and they have that mindset. This week should be no different if they keep that same mentality," he added.
Moon noted there's more to the Super Bowl than distractions; there's also a lot of waiting. The pregame festivities and halftime are much longer than normal. He said there are plenty of things that can mess with your focus.
"It's unlike any other game you're going to play in," Moon said. "Players are creatures of habit. They're used to routines. 'When I go in at halftime, I have about this much time before I have to get back on the field.' Now, they're going to have to wait a little bit longer."
Since this is the first outdoor, cold-weather Super Bowl, the players might have to deal with the weather as well. That's something Moon said can actually benefit the Seahawks. Talking from his own experience of playing in New Jersey, Moon said the wind could mess with Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.
"The wind that swirls in the Meadowlands can make it very difficult to throw the football," Moon said. "If there's a weak point in his game, it would be the weather. His passes could struggle if the wind is strong that day. He might not be as accurate, and it might lead to some turnovers for us. He's shown in his history that he doesn't play as well when the weather is bad and when it's windy."
If the weather is not enough to slow Manning, it's up to the Seahawks defense to shut him down. Moon said field position is going to be one of the keys to Super Bowl XLVIII.
"Make (Manning) go the distance of the field when he gets the football," said Moon. "You don't want to give him any short fields to work with. He needs to earn every yard he gets going down the field."
Aside from field position, Moon also said the Seahawks' running game, controlling the tempo, and time of possession are going to be important for Seattle on Sunday.
"You don't want to give Peyton Manning as many possessions as he's used to," Moon said. "You can cut down a couple possessions because you're keeping the ball away from him."