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August 4, 2006
JOE HORRIGAN: Let me first begin by saying that the gentlemen up here on the stage with me, I'm really privileged to be standing with. I think you'll find that they'll have a lot of good answers to a lot of good questions, I'm sure.
I'll try to give you a little rhyme and reason as to what's going on this afternoon.
First of all, we wanted to make some availability of our Hall of Famers to you. The gentlemen up here also have some fairly unique links to some of the Hall of Famers that are being elected this year in the Class of 2006.
There's another gentleman up here to my left who I'll begin with today, Mr. Bill Willis, who I'll formally introduce in a moment who is here for an altogether different reason.
As many of you probably know from having read our material, this year, 2006, marks the 60th anniversary of the permanent integration of professional football. In 1946 four African American players - Bill Willis and Marion Motley of the Cleveland Browns, and Woody Strode and Kenny Washington of the Los Angeles Rams - signed contracts to play professional football. This is in 1946, one year before the more publicized signing of Jackie Robinson to a baseball contract. This was in our world a well-known fact, but I think in the real world was a little-known fact, the fact that gentlemen like Mr. Willis had such a pioneering role.
On this occasion of the 60th anniversary of that occurrence, we felt that it was time that we let the world know how much we appreciate what Bill and Marion and Kenny and Woody did on that year in 1946. So in these past few months we've been working with some of the folks in both the State and Federal level to gain Mr. Willis in particular recognition, and the event national recognition, in the form of in the Ohio House and Senate they passed a resolution honoring Mr. Willis, and just recently the United States Senate and the United States Congress both unanimously passed resolutions recognizing the 60th anniversary of the reintegration of the sport and Mr. Willis' achievements, career achievements, and his contributions.
With that as an introduction, I would like to turn the podium over to Bill Willis, who as mentioned is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, former Cleveland Brown, and a real pioneer in many, many ways.
Mr. Bill Willis.
BILL WILLIS: Good evening, or good day. Which should I say? I suppose I should make a statement.
Okay. The statement is I am so very happy to be here. I am so very happy that this is taking place. As you could see, I'm not used to speaking before a microphone.
This, for me, is a great occasion. It's been a great year really. It first started off in Columbus, Ohio, when I received some recognition from my State legislators. It's good to be recognized particularly by State legislators.
And then I come here to the Hall of Fame and find out that the U.S. Senate is going to say that I had some part in the reintegration of professional football. As you know, in the very large picture - and I'd like to think of it as the very large picture - now professional football is America's sport. It used to be baseball, but now football is America's sport. If I had any part in making football America's sport, then I'm happy. Then I'm happy.
Of course you know what has happened over the years as far as the game of football itself is concerned. Blacks have - I started to use the wrong word, I started to say "infiltrated," but that would be the wrong word - Blacks have now become an integral part of the entire game from players to coaches to just the entire fabric of professional football. If the small part that I played had something to do with it, it makes a person feel that it is good and that he has made his life worthwhile and that of a lot of fans who take football as America's sport.
Okay. Let's have a question if we can. We will see if we can answer it.
Q. A year ago, Fritz Pollard was inducted into the Hall of Fame. Did you ever have an occasion to meet Fritz after his playing days were over because he was obviously an earlier pioneer and someone really that pushed hard to integrate the NFL. Had you met him, and what did you think of his trailblazing in the 1920s?
BILL WILLIS: Well, to be perfectly honest with you, I had not heard of Fritz Pollard quite early because I hadn't heard, I wasn't aware at that time that Blacks played professional football at all. It was only later that I found out that, yes, we had some truly great football players in the early days, and Fritz Pollard was one.
No, I did not have an opportunity to meet Fritz, but I know an awful lot about him now. I think the Hall did itself proud last year when they honored Fritz as a pioneer. As some would say, it's about time. It was about time. It was a great occasion. It was a great occasion for me. It was a great occasion for those who happened to witness the entire session from last year.
Q. If we could carry that forward now to this year, Warren Moon goes into the Hall of Fame. Can you talk about him being the first African American quarterback to go in?
BILL WILLIS: You're going to have to forgive me because I left my hearing piece in the room upstairs. So if I ask you to repeat the question...
Q. Warren Moon, his induction, what does that mean to you? He is the first Black quarterback in the Hall of Fame.
BILL WILLIS: What does Warren Moon's induction into the Hall of Fame mean to me, it means a great deal really, because, you know, I go back a few years. I can recall, well, if you wanted to play football, you stood a better chance of playing football if you played on the line, not in the backfield, if you played on the line. Then you had a better chance, the next best chance, if you played maybe defense, or I guess you might be a blocking back or even a running back. But to be a quarterback, that was something altogether new, different.
So you can see that Warren Moon, if you look at the history of Warren Moon, he played for a long time, didn't he? Not only here in America, but he played in the Canadian league. So he had to work himself up.
It's great. It's truly great. I just admired Warren Moon from a distance. I didn't have an opportunity to meet him but only through TV or through the newspapers and what have you. But it made me proud.
Boy, I'm giving awful long answers to some of these questions (laughter).
Q. Bill, tell me about Paul Brown. Paul Brown recruited you at Ohio State and you were on his first Cleveland Browns team. What did Paul Brown mean to you? How did he treat you and Marion and Horace Gillom? Tell me about him.
BILL WILLIS: Well, you know, I was a very, very fortunate individual to come along at the same time that Paul Brown came along. I will say to you this, that regardless as to how much talent you have in any field, there's got to be somebody who will come along at the same time and help you along.
When I was in high school, I was fortunate that I had a coach, Ralph Webster, who decided that I had the ability to go on to college and play football. In high school I didn't think anything about Ohio State. I knew it was a great, big university inside of town. But going there as a student and playing football, no, I didn't think in terms of that. But I did think, because my brother was an outstanding football player, going to college and playing perhaps at the same school that he had played.
But Ralph Webster said to me, he said, Bill, I'm going to get you - because the Athletic Director of the University of Illinois was a friend of my high school coach, he was going to get me a scholarship to go to the University of Illinois. About that time, before he could make his contacts, Paul Brown became the coach at Ohio State.
So he said to me, Bill, I think it would be to your advantage to go to Ohio State. He said, I have heard about Paul Brown, he's an outstanding coach, and I heard that he is a very fair individual. So I'm going to write you a note to Paul to see if he would accept you on his team.
He wrote the note. Paul did accept me on the team. And, well, the rest is past history at Ohio State.
But Paul was a remarkable individual as a coach. They used to call him "The Miracle Man," the "Miracle Man" because of what he did at Massillon as a coach, if you look at the record books. Some of the things that you see being done on the field today was brought about because of Paul Brown, the type of practices, what have you. One of the things that Paul Brown taught me, and every player he coached, that you never give up, you never give up doing the very best you can.
After he accepted me at Ohio State, I graduated from Ohio State finally, and I was all set to coach. I wanted to coach at a school called Whitford University (phoe) in the southern part of the state, an all-Black school. I thought if I could coach there, boy, that would be Utopia for me.
So when Paul got the job as the coach professionally, I wrote Paul a letter congratulating him on being the coach and asked him if he would be willing to write me a letter of recommendation for a job because I had a couple of recommendations all for Black schools.
It wasn't until I came home from Kentucky State, I finally got a job at Kentucky State - jeez and crikey, am I supposed to be talking this long (laughter)?
Are you guys going to talk (laughter)?
All right. Let's see if we can wind this up now. Okay. Your question was about Paul Brown (laughter).
So I saw in a Black newspaper, Ohio State News, that Paul was the coach. The fella who wrote the article said, I wonder if Bill Willis will be playing for Paul Brown. That gave me an idea. So I went to see Paul Brown and asked him about my trying out for the team. He said, well, he didn't see anything in the charters that Blacks did not play in the new All-American Conference, but he would get in touch with me because he was going to a meeting the next week.
Well, a lot of things happened, but to make a long story short because it was some time before I heard from Paul, I got an invitation to -- I came to the Browns in a round-about way, which was Paul Brown's way of inviting me to camp. He invited me up there, and the rest is history. The rest is history (laughter).
And so, in conclusion may I add... (laughter).
Q. I have one more question when you're through with that. Bill, I wonder, when you broke the color barrier for the AFL, Marion Motley was also on that team with you. You and he were both Ohio guys, but he had a considerably different college experience having played at an all-Black school in the south at South Carolina State. Could you talk a little bit about how you see your experiences differing and just a little bit about him as a player and as a teammate, Marion Motley.
BILL WILLIS: Talk about Marion Motley. You know, when I look back over my career, I keep thinking how fortunate I was, because I was fortunate to play on a great team with some truly outstanding individuals. Great ballplayers. I played against some great ballplayers. I see an old fella out in the lobby there - not in the lobby, but in the audience that I played against, he's about 90 years old also - Bill Dudley.
Okay. Well, at any rate, what was your question (laughter)?
Q. Marion Motley.
BILL WILLIS: Oh, Marion Motley, yeah.
Yeah, Marion Motley was truly an outstanding football player because he could do anything. He could play on the offense, he could carry the football, he could block, he could play defense. You know, in the early days there wasn't anything like, you know, playing a half a football game like they do today. You had your offensive team and then you had your defensive team. Early on, of course, we had to go both ways. We had to know how to go both ways.
So Motley was the type of fella who was a ferocious football player, but he was like a gentle giant. He really was like a gentle giant. He got along extremely well with our teammates, and he had a way of letting me know, for an example, that, "Everything is gonna be all right. Just keep your cool, everything is gonna be all right."
And you know what? Everything turned out to be all right (applause).
JOE HORRIGAN: Thank you, Bill.
We've invited Roger Staubach here for two reasons: Rayfield Wright and Troy Aikman. Roger obviously played with Rayfield Wright for much of his career. And for those of you who may not be NASCAR fans, Roger and Troy Aikman are partners in the Hall of Fame NASCAR team. So at this point, let me call to the podium Roger Staubach (applause).
ROGER STAUBACH: Questions?
Q. Roger, first, it's a pleasure to talk to you. Talking about Troy Aikman and the Dallas Cowboy tradition that you were such a big part of establishing, did you ever think of or could you comment now on how tough it is and might have been for a guy like Troy Aikman, and even quarterbacks before Troy, to follow Roger Staubach?
ROGER STAUBACH: Well, the interesting thing for me is I graduated from the Naval Academy in '65 and the Cowboys were just kind of turning the corner, and I was actually drafted as a junior. I guess Kansas City and Dallas knew that I was eligible. I had spent one year before I went to the Academy in junior college at New Mexico Military Institute. They had about 20 military, West Point and Navy guys there.
So I was kind of watching this little blip in the Washington Post. Drafted in the tenth round by the Dallas Cowboys and then the Kansas City Chiefs. I stayed interested in the Cowboys. I kind of watched Don Meredith. And Bob Hayes and I had played in the college All-Star Game. Marion Motley, Otto Graham, Ray Renfro were the coaches of that team.
So I started following the Cowboys. Meredith was a really great, great football player that build Dallas from the expansion team to a winning team, and he retired the year I got there. I was able to get through the '70s. We had a wonderful record in the '70s. We won a lot of games. I remain humble because we lost a few Super Bowls to the Steelers, but we also won a few. Life is winning and losing. Bradshaw and Montana, I don't know how they get around in life, all they know is how to win Super Bowls. But that isn't what life is all about (laughter).
I just mentioned that, you know, Danny White took over and did a great job. Danny came close. We had some championship games. So there was a lull. Troy Aikman resurrected the Cowboys. It was the best draft I think Dallas ever made. We got Dorsett. Really helped.
In '75 and '76 I think I was the leading rusher. We got Dorsett in '77, were playing the St. Louis Cardinals. I handed it off to him, he ran 74 yards for a touchdown. I went, Hey, this is a lot more fun, we're a better team here. So that was a great daft, the way they got Tony.
But getting Troy was really, I mean, it rebuilt the Cowboys in the '90s, and being America's team. Hadn't thought of that. I was Tex -- when you're a quarterback -- and Bill Bergey knocked me down and picked me up and said, "Take that, America's quarterback" when he retired. It was fun to be part of America's team, even though there was a little arrogance there.
We were, but we kind of fell off. Troy, what he really did in the '90s was unbelievable. He was a great leader. With Emmitt and Mike, they built a team. But Troy Aikman made it happen. You look at his history of the big plays when he had to make them, the playoffs, Super Bowls, it's just a -- I think he's his own man. I feel good being the second-winningest Super Bowl quarterback that the Cowboys had.
Danny White had a little of it because I was the quarterback for a number of years, but Troy really was almost like a new team beginning. There was a lot of changes were made. I tell you, Troy Aikman was fantastic in the '90s, when they beat the Steelers. And I always tell people, Hey, we beat the Steelers in the Super Bowl. They don't remember if it was me or Troy, whatever. I gave him a brand new set of golf clubs. I sent him a long note and said, Hey, way to go, Troy.
Troy Aikman, I think, has got his own identity. I'm proud to be a good friend. We are teammates in NASCAR (indiscernible). Went a little bit over our head there. We're having fun. We're being respectable in NASCAR. Troy got me into it. He says I got him into it. We have an owner, five of us, and ironically Joe Gibbs has been instrumental in our team which his son J.D. runs his race team. But our car, 96, has been pretty competitive.
But when you celebrate, came in 17th or 22nd, I didn't think that would ever happen in sports. Troy and I were both saying, Hey, in our first race in Daytona, we had Terry Labonte drove for us and he came in 17th, we were high-fiving. I said, How do you high-five with 17th? But that's what NASCAR is all about. It's a different sport.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about Rayfield Wright. Obviously, this is a huge weekend for him, what he meant to the Cowboys in the Super Bowls that you guys were able to win together.
ROGER STAUBACH: Rayfield, I met Rayfield, I took leave in I think it was '68 or something, went to training camp. Rayfield was just reminding me about that today at lunch. He was a tight end at that time. I was throwing. My adrenaline was really pumping. I wanted to show Coach Landry that I could still play football. I actually broke his finger, his middle finger, as a tight end.
So when I got there in '69, he was moved to tackle. I didn't want him to hold it against me. He sure didn't. In the '70s he was the best offensive tackle in the National Football League. He was All-Decade Team, All-Pro. We really had, I think, the winningest record on a proportion basis in the '70s, and Rayfield was, you know, the reason we were so successful. Our offensive line was good. We had great teams. Rayfield was the very best.
You watch films. Two players that we used to watch films, it was Bob Lilly and some of the things he did on the field, and Rayfield Wright on offense. Rayfield, he had really quick feet. When you have some of the stunts, an end comes inside, if he goes to block and the linebacker comes back around, Rayfield could recover and protect because he was really athletic, and he was strong. He was big. He had real strong shoulders and arms. You know, he's a Hall of Famer. When you're in the Hall of Fame, it's a celebration. Rayfield, obviously, to me, has been a Hall of Famer for a long, long time, and this is a great weekend for him.
Q. Roger, you referenced the fact that it took a long time for Rayfield. How disappointing is it for you when guys don't get in when you feel they should get in, and in turn how much more satisfying is it now when it happens after all these years?
ROGER STAUBACH: Well, you know, it's such a big deal. I mean, for me, I was a product of some really good seasons, and it sure meant a lot to me. I didn't dream when Ray Nitsche knocked me out my first exhibition game -- my first game I played in was an exhibition game. I tried to -- said run out of bounds, I cut inside, I had a concussion. At that time I wanted to go back into the Navy (laughter).
I didn't think I'd get into the Hall of Fame.
But if you look at the '70s, and, again, I'm a Cowboy guy, but we won a lot of games. We were always in the thick of it. So to have our team recognized and, you know, obviously, to me it should be more recognized, but to have it recognized is really a fun weekend.
The Dallas papers, it's just really a big event. Rayfield represents a history that was really, really a good history. Troy represents another great history of the Cowboys. So, hopefully, there's gonna be more Cowboys in the Hall of Fame. There's room for them. But this is really a celebration weekend for the Dallas Cowboys and the entire Class of 2006.
Going into the Hall of Fame was the most fun I've ever had as an athlete. I had my teammates from the Naval Academy, from the Cowboys, and my high school teammates. I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. Were all up here on this weekend. It's a big deal. Rayfield and Troy are both really enjoying it, and so are we Cowboy fans really enjoying it.
Q. You just said, "I'm a Cowboy guy." So many times nowadays guys are known as Cowboy guys, 49ers guys, Eagles guys. So few guys go into the Hall of Fame "Cowboy guys" like Rayfield and Troy. How uniquely different or special is that playing for one team over the course of a career?
ROGER STAUBACH: Well, you know, it's a little different today as far as the way it's structured with the salary cap and free agency, but there was probably more of that in the old days. Not every one, but there's quite a few guys from the '70s that finished with the Cowboys. I was glad to do that. I mean, I had a chance to play eleven years and to be there with one team. There is a loyalty, there is never a question.
So I think I guess the message to players today, it's fun to have I think a bond with a team and teammates. I just think free agency is fine, God bless it, but I also think fans relate to players. I think a big mistake for a player, that they leave a team, they don't care where they go. Well, fans still relate to the player, they relate to the team. But I think they understand, though, that players leave and come. It's how you should respect where you were and where that opportunity was given to you. To be with the same team for eleven years, I just don't have any trouble rooting for the Dallas Cowboys.
Q. Roger, could you talk about the burden quarterbacks face to be leaders and as you said about Troy's case, resurrect a franchise?
ROGER STAUBACH: Well, I think it's one of the -- obviously, you have to have talent. In the NFL I think the big difference, you got to have velocity when you throw the football because there's not really a weak person over there. It's difficult to have a quarterback that if someone can just anticipate before they throw and have accuracy. Most of it, there is talent, and if you have that. There's quite a few players that do have that physical talent, but I think it's a major differentiator to be able to take charge and present the confidence that a quarterback has to do to his teammates.
Players at the professional level or at any level, they really are a little bit scared at times and they don't want to make a mistake. There's big games. You got to have the people that can kind of fight through the pressure and be able to take charge and say, Hey, listen, we can make this happen. Because if you don't convince the rest of the team, you can't make it happen yourself.
So a quarterback has the responsibility, I think, to get the other players believing that it can happen; that we can, even though we're behind by two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, we've lost two games in a row, we're gonna win next week or we're gonna win this game in the fourth quarter.
So I think that the leadership responsibility is -- I would think that the scouts and everyone are looking, that is a major trait in drafting a quarterback. I think this young guy, Vince Young, obviously I'm sure he has the velocity even if the way he throws is a little different. But I tell you what, he seems like he takes charge, and I'm sure that was a big reason, not only he's got great mobility. But the NFL, that will come in handy, but that's not your number one. I think his will to win and his command of his team, I think - or I would guess - that Norm Chow still took that into consideration. I sure would. If I got any player, especially the quarterback position, the job is to make sure that your teammates believe that you can win a football game.
Q. What do you think of the trend lately of rushing these draft picks, these young quarterbacks, into starting roles so early as rookies, second-year quarterbacks? Were you ready to do that as a rookie, and do you think it's a good trend?
ROGER STAUBACH: I was ready to do it as a rookie, but Tom Landry didn't feel that (laughter).
In fact, no, I think the ideal scenario is to be able to have some mentor in front of you and step in. But, you know, really, there's 32 teams now and to get that starting quality quarterback, sometimes it can be, you know, a Peyton Manning can step in. Even Peyton Manning, Troy Aikman, let me tell you, these are two of the finest quarterbacks that have ever played; they had rough first years. But there wasn't someone there that they could -- so the ideal thing is to have a mentor that's older so you could step in.
My situation was I battled back and forth with Craig Morton until my third year. It was the first year where actually Tom Landry said that when you go to training camp, you're going to have a chance to win the starting job. But before that, he would say it takes five years to develop an NFL quarterback. I was 27 at the time as a rookie and I said, Oh, that doesn't sound good to me. He gave me a chance my third year, and I think it really helped me a lot not to get knocked around those first two years.
We had somebody there and we had an established team. And, you know, they are paying these guys a lot of money today and they want the fans to come to the game, so they're putting quarterbacks in there that are young but that are also very talented. I think that could happen to Vince Young in Tennessee.
So the ideal thing, though, is to have a mentor and kind of ease into it - but not too long. I don't want to sit on the bench. I hated sitting on the bench.
Thank you very much (applause).
JOE HORRIGAN: I do want to kind of move this right along because at 3:30 we are going to go live with the Class of 2006. We do kind of have to stick to a bit of a schedule.
I want to call to the podium now a man whose name is right every way you spell it almost. For those of you who are a little bit dyslexic like me, that helps.
Jim Otto, obviously, anchored the Oakland Raiders line for his entire career. During that, he spent a lot of time getting to know Hall of Famer John Madden. I'd like Jim to take a few moments now to reflect on some of those occasions.
JIM OTTO: Thank you, Joe.
It's really an honor to be a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and to be around guys like you see here and others that you see in the Hall, it's just phenomenal.
When I went into the Hall of Fame and afterwards, I reflected upon the players, I reflected upon the coaches, and I thought, "What would be a dream team?" If I could participate, I'm one of these guys now, if I could be on a dream team, what would it be? I, over the years, put together various different teams in my mind.
Then my coach was inducted in the Hall of Fame, and I thought, "Gosh, John Madden, that would be the coach." This is just recently I'm thinking this, and I'm thinking, Golly, the best football that was ever played, according to Howard Cosell, was played in the '60s, the '70s, the early '80s, and it was played by the Oakland Raiders; Howard said that. So where would I find a better team than the team that I was playing on, and where would I find a better coach? And he's being inducted tomorrow in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
In Oakland we're very happy. Around the country people are very happy for John. For those of you who saw him last I guess it was January when they made the announcement, he was all excited. He's still excited. I mean, he's so excited and we're so excited for him. We're just very, very happy. I'm happy to say that he would be my dream team coach.
I'll answer some questions.
Q. Jim, over the years you've seen gentlemen like John, Rayfield Wright and others passed over in the selection process to be in the Hall of Fame. How frustrating is that? Why did it take so long for John Madden to get into the Hall of Fame?
JIM OTTO: Well, I don't know why it took so long for John to get into the Hall of Fame, but it is frustrating because you see other coaches going in the Hall of Fame with records that weren't even as clear as John's. He beat all those coaches, as well, in big games. He won a Super Bowl game. He won over a hundred games in ten years, less than ten years. He had the statistics. And why, I don't understand. But we're just very, very happy he's here with us now.
Q. Jim, everyone loves John Madden. He's a very likable guy. But you played for him. Were there guys who disagreed and didn't get along with John? How did he handle those sorts of situations as a coach?
JIM OTTO: He got rid of 'em (laughter).
JIM OTTO: No, John was the guy, you know, he was our fan. He was one of our biggest fans, you know, 'cause he'd get in the huddle, he'd be sweating, too. We'd be all sweating. He'd say, Okay, let's run this, let's run this, let's do this, let's do that. When we came off the field, he was always there to encourage you. He was our fan. He was one of us guys.
He became a head coach and he was only a year and a half older than me. Actually George Blanda was eons older. He was one of the guys and got in there and really pitched in and everybody went with him.
He set the tempo every week. The intensity was set. I have not seen intensity like that since he left football.
Q. Quick question about Coach Madden. Obviously, he has accomplishments as a coach as well as the announcing that he's done, the football game he came out with. Do you see he's probably bigger than life, I guess, bigger than the sport and that's why he's being inducted, not just for his coaching record?
JIM OTTO: I see him being inducted as a coach and only as a coach. What he has done for football outside of coaching is phenomenal. What he has done for young people in football is phenomenal, playing those games. But he is here as a coach, and I am very proud to say that and I will back him up a hundred percent.
Q. How has Al Davis worked with John Madden through the years when he was the coach?
JIM OTTO: I would say that back in those days naturally if someone comes to me that has knowledge, I'm gonna listen. Someone comes to me with wisdom, I'm gonna listen. I'm not gonna turn a deaf year. I would say that John Madden did listen to Mr. Davis because I think Mr. Davis is going to go down with a legacy of being one of the greatest football minds ever in football. So I would have to listen to Mr. Davis as well.
Q. Jim, every coach has a defining quality in terms of his strategy and what's his bread and butter. Give me a sense, because you were right in the thick of it, of what John Madden's defining quality as a strategist was as a coach.
JIM OTTO: Well, it's been said before and I'll say it again: John Madden knew no color, number one. John Madden was a player's coach, really, number two. He was with us guys. I mean, certainly you have heard about some of the antics of some of our players off the field. That's very possible if John would have been a little younger, he might have joined right in.
But, anyway, he was a player's coach and he had no barriers. Everybody was to him the same person. He was very fair. He is a very emotional man. I look for his lip to quiver tomorrow.
So I hope I answered that question.
Q. This is getting to be kind of an Oakland weekend here because you have the Raiders playing the Eagles on Sunday night with another Hall of Famer Art Shell coaching. I'd like to get your take on Art's second go-around as a coach. Compare him and his style to John Madden.
JIM OTTO: I think Art will have a lot of John's style. You'll see that coming back to the Raiders. Art is a man to himself. He is going to set his own tempo. His future -- and his greatness is going to be his future really as a Raider coach.
Naturally, we all look back to our mentor being John, but I think Art has a certain type of discipline you don't see too much more in the National Football League that he is going to be using on his players. That, I think, is going to really be a help to us this year.
Art is just a fine coach. He's got a great set of assistant coaches - far better than he had before, I feel - and that's going to really help him.
Thank you very much. Have a good day (applause).
JOE HORRIGAN: Thank you, Jim.
Our fourth Hall of Famer that's with us this afternoon is someone that much kind of in the reversal role with Roger talking about Rayfield protecting him, this is the man that protected Warren Moon for a lot of years, Hall of Famer, Mike Munchak (applause).
MIKE MUNCHAK: Well, everyone, I'll be brief so we don't run out of time.
I'm just really happy that I was able to come back on the weekend. I coach with the Tennessee Titans, I'm the offensive line coach, so I get a chance to watch Vince Young come around, since he was mentioned. He is going to be a great one.
Also I get a chance to be here the weekend that Warren Moon gets inducted, which is a great feeling for me to have a chance to be here to support him because obviously he was a big part of why I'm probably standing here with this jacket on now. It's always your teammates. Especially for linemen, it's going to be your quarterback, runningback, obviously make you look better than maybe you are.
You mentioned Warren. There were a lot of firsts I think in Warren's career. I mean, besides being the first Black quarterback to make it into the NFL Hall of Fame, he was probably the first free agent. He came out of Canada, the route he went to get into the League. He chose the Houston Oilers for some reason. We were a struggling team at the time. Drafted three linemen in a row: myself, Bruce Matthews and Strahan. Maybe that's why he came there, because he figured we had a pretty good, young offensive line. He came there and within one year he had us in the playoffs for seven years in a row.
He was asked to do an awful lot. He ran the running shoot because he could, which is an awful lot of pressure on a quarterback. If he didn't have a good game, we didn't win. That's how much pressure. He didn't have someone to hand it off to because there was no tight ends. He was in a situation for a quarterback, an awful lot was put on him to run our offense.
He was the Peyton Manning of the '70s - or the '80s. He was up there changing plays. Made a lot of audibles. Ran the offense. Get us in the passes, get us in the runs. He did a lot of things I don't think people are aware of to help us win.
So, again, I'll leave it open to questions. But, again, I thought he had a heck of a career for us. Unfortunately, we got to the playoffs for seven years; we just couldn't find a way to finish it off at the end.
Again, I'm just happy to be here for him. I'm thrilled for him. Luckily for him, he got in the first year. I think he had to wait to retire. He didn't want to retire. He kept on going and going and going, but now I think he found a place where he rightfully deserves to be.
Q. We see Warren, he has this unflappable, stoic look on his face, smiling, not-a-care-in-the-world guy. You must have seen some emotion from this guy at other times in other ways? Could you kind of talk about that.
MIKE MUNCHAK: He really didn't. During the game, he was so focused and locked in. I mean, I don't know if I ever saw him not that way about things. He was so in control of what he was doing at all times. Especially during his career he ran the option. We'd call the play, you know. We'd call the play. Never even know. You think he'd have a little reaction to that play. He'd audible to the option. I mean, he just did an awful lot.
I mean, his personality, I think that's what kept him going. He had the work ethic that was unmatched I thought for a quarterback. As much as those demands were put on him for appearances, things he had done as a quarterback, he still found ways to work out, keep in great shape. I think, again, that's why he held up as long as he had.
Q. With all the talk of Warren as a pioneer, first African American quarterback to go into the Hall, was there a sense when he was playing that you guys were making history? Did you guys have a sense of that in the locker room?
MIKE MUNCHAK: No, not at all. I think we were just trying to win games. We were all young at this thing, trying to get it going. I think that was really not on anyone's mind at the time.
And, again, we were thrilled he came there 'cause we had heard so many great things about him in Canada, and we wanted someone that can kind of give us that lift and he was the guy. Like I said, his work ethic is what was such a great example to the whole team - offense, defense - and I think elevated us to have guys play better than they actually were. He put a lot of demands on the receivers. He expected a lot of them, expected a lot of us as linemen. He had no problem mentioning stuff. We didn't maybe give him a little too much pressure, he'd bring it to our attention. So he was great to have around. And the year I retired is actually when he went off to Minnesota.
Q. As something of a Reggie White contemporary, can you speak to his legacy?
MIKE MUNCHAK: Well, I mean, he's a household name in this country, and in this League. Fortunately for me, they were in the NFC, I was in the AFC. I didn't see him very often. When we did, I was on the left side, he was on the right side. I liked all those things. It fit nice for me. I'd watch and see what happens on Monday Night Football, the tackles trying to block him. As an offensive line coach, I realize all the scheming that goes on to try to double-team guys like him, how much he takes over the game plan when you have a defensive lineman you have to worry about, how much he affects what we can do in the passing game, protection game. I know that's something he did probably the first guys that really were an offensive staff had to really focus on.
I've obviously played against him at times. Only time I really went against him a lot was in the Pro Bowl. Thank God he wasn't playing quite as hard as he does during the season, because he was obviously a great player.
Thank you (applause).
JOE HORRIGAN: I'd like to thank Mike and Bill and Roger and Jim for participating this afternoon. I hope it was helpful for you.
In just a few moments we're going to have the Class of 2006 down here for about a 40-minute interview, we can go a little longer if the demand is there.
But I just want to explain to you that we will be live on NFL Network and in between each of the interviews, or interviewees, there will be about a three-minute break where we break away from the live audience. Just so it doesn't confuse you as to what's going on.
Adam Schefter from the NFL Network will be at the podium here facilitating the press conference. We'll be running it the same way. Please wait for a microphone to get to your station before you ask a question.
Again, I'd like to thank the four Hall of Famers who came down here and spent their time with you this afternoon.
Thank you, guys (applause).
End of FastScripts...