Warren Moon spent most of his NFL Hall of Fame career playing for the Houston Oilers in the 1980s and early 1990s. While there were several division rivals he wasn’t fond of – including the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns – there was another team he disliked above all the rest.
“I think the whole AFC Central was very competitive, but when it came down to a team we disliked the most, it was the Cincinnati Bengals,” Moon said on the Damon Amendolara Show, “just because of the war of words between Jerry Glanville and their coach.”
By “their coach,” Moon means Sam Wyche, who led the Bengals to Super Bowl XXIII. The Bengals lost 20-16 to San Francisco – thanks to Joe Montana’s last-minute touchdown pass to John Taylor – but they, like the Oilers, were one of the more successful teams of the 1980s.
Glanville, in fact, led the Oilers to three playoff appearances.
“I think (the trash talk) made it a little bit more special when we played the Cincinnati Bengals just because there was a little bit more chirping, a little bit more pushing and shoving and all that type of stuff,” Moon said.
Glanville and Wyche, in short, didn’t like each other – much like Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh today.
“Oh yeah, exactly the same,” Moon said. “Those two guys didn’t like each other. They threw words around a lot. Now, Pete and Jim have been more cordial. they try to respect each other as coaches, but I’m sure those two guys don’t go out and have a beer together. But Sam Wyche and Jerry Glanville, there’s no question there was no love lost between those two guys – and it rubbed off onto the football field with the players.”
NFL fans should expect something similar this Sunday in Seattle.
“You got two coaches that have a history that goes not only in our division, but all the way back into their college days playing in the same division in the Pac-10,” Moon said. “This is a rivalry that’s probably one of the best in football right now because these teams are so good and because they’ve both beaten one another – and that’s the way to have a rivalry. You can’t have a rivalry unless either team is beating each other, and these two teams are as even as you can get as far as how they’re built. They both have great defenses, they both have really good running games and also two very good, young, exciting quarterbacks (in Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson).
“So (there are) a lot of similarities (in how) they’re built: two coaches that are very similar (with) the way they want to approach their football teams – very emotional guys. That’s why there’s just so much interest in this rivalry.”
Seattle and San Francisco split the regular-season series, with each team winning at home. A 49ers win would mean back-to-back Super Bowl appearances, while a Seahawks win would mean their first Super Bowl appearance since 2005.