Buck Harvey: Moons apart? If the Texas QBs had switched [SIZE=-1]Web Posted: 08/05/2006 09:35 PM CDT[/SIZE][SIZE=-1] San Antonio Express-News[/SIZE] Troy Aikman and Warren Moon were together for a rare moment Saturday. Opposites for their careers — joined only by the same agent — they entered the Hall of Fame as equals. Both deserve their honor, but perhaps not their legacies. Aikman is forever known as a winner, Moon as a numerical freak. But what would have happened if they had switched Texas cities in the 1990s? Then, would either have become what they are known for today? As it is, one of their busts should face north in Canton, the other south. Aikman was drafted No. 1 overall, Moon wasn't drafted. Aikman played for one pro team his entire career, Moon for five. Aikman's best moment came against Buffalo, Moon his worst. Their final days in Texas were as dissimilar. Whereas the Cowboys wanted to extend Aikman's football lifespan past the next concussion, the Oilers discarded the man who had taken them to seven-straight postseasons, trading Moon for a couple of mid-level draft picks. The salary cap was an issue, as was Moon's age. But would the Cowboys have ever dumped Aikman for those reasons? Jack Pardee, Moon's coach at the time, said years later he didn't know why Moon was traded or who orchestrated it. Former Oiler Sean Jones was harsher. "That organization," Jones said of the Oilers, "didn't deserve a player like Warren." The Oilers went from 12-4 with Moon to 2-14 without him, and with that the city of Houston had little incentive to compromise with Bud Adams' stadium needs. Two seasons after Moon left, the Oilers did. Moon did better as an ex-Oiler. He put together two 4,000-yard passing seasons in Minnesota, leading the Vikings offense to team records in points and total yards in 1995, and he played a total of five more seasons after Houston. Living a more stable life, basking in the competence of the '90s Cowboys, Aikman loved the Jimmy Johnson focus and the power of his teammates. Aikman bowed Saturday to those who made him what he was. Aikman handed off to the NFL's all-time rushing leader. Aikman could throw for 200 yards and still control the game with balance. Moon? He had to endure Jerry Glanville, among others, as well as an offense that never proved reliable. Moon never threw to a Hall of Fame receiver. Aikman did, assuming voters someday look past Michael Irvin's past. Aikman said Saturday he played behind one of the game's best offensive lines, and Moon, too, had several quality linemen. But, again, the run-and-shoot skewed even that. In Moon's final game as an Oiler, at home against the Chiefs in the playoffs, he was sacked nine times. So if the two had traded places, Aikman is likely the one who would have suffered. His numbers would have risen; his accuracy would have worked in the run-and-shoot, too. But Aikman could get frustrated, and he did in his final Super Bowl run. Then, bothered by the lack of detail under Barry Switzer, Aikman gnashed his teeth on the way to his third title. Had he been in Houston, with Buddy Ryan slugging the offensive coordinator on the sidelines, Aikman would have developed a facial tic. There are no guarantees Moon would have won in Dallas. Moon threw a beautiful spiral, but not the Aikman fastball. His stats would have dropped in Dallas. And then there's the natural question of a quarterback who never went far in playoffs. Did Moon sometimes buckle under pressure? The details suggest he didn't. The Oilers lost a playoff game in Denver in 1992, for example, and most remember a John Elway comeback. Most forget Moon went 27 of 36 for 325 yards and three touchdowns. The Buffalo fiasco came the next year, but was Moon to blame? He completed 36 of 50 passes for 371 yards and four first-half touchdowns. Then there's that last game against Kansas City. The quarterback who beat Moon that day was Joe Montana. Moon doesn't have to prove anything any more. Everything worked out for him, just as everything worked out for Aikman. They made their mark in their own ways and their own places, and that brought them to Saturday. Then Aikman talked of his time in Dallas, his voice sometimes cracking. And as he walked off the podium, Aikman shook hands with the first person to greet him. There, in the same place at last, stood Moon.