Colts to honor legendary coach Tom Moore Sunday

On Sunday, prior to their game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Indianapolis Colts will honor legendary former offensive coordinator Tom Moore. Moore served as the offensive coordinator of the Colts from 1998-2009, and in 2010 was the “senior offensive assistant”, basically a fancy name for trying to fire him nicely.  Chris Polian pushed the legendaryMooreout of the way, much like he did with another legend, Howard Mudd.  

Let me get this straight.  Without Tom Moore, there is no Peyton Manning as we know today.  There is no dominant, league-leading offense.  There is no super bowl championship.  None.  

And I’m not exaggerating.  

Sure, Manning would have turned into a fine quarterback and had a nice career.  They would have had an offense capable of producing some points, absolutely.  And they would have fought for the super bowl occasionally.  

With Tom Moore, Manning turned into a sure-fire hall of famer, and is in the discussion for the best quarterback in history.  Their offense turned into a power-house, and they were capable of outscoring anybody on any given day.  And they fought for the super bowl every year, went to two, and won one.  

Tom Moore developed Peyton Manning.  Manning went right to learningMoore’s offense, which was already respected throughout the league. Mooretaught Manning everything, offensive concepts, defensive reads, complex offensive plays, and the concept of the quarterback calling his own plays.  In short,Moore taught the young Manning the most complex offense in football. 

But this Manning kid was a smart kid, and he quickly grasped the offense.  By 2003, he had mastered it and was an emerging superstar.  And as Manning’s legend grew, so did the shadow covering up Moore.  Manning didn’t try to; he respectedMooreto all ends.  But the media forgot about the architect behind this stunning offense.  And Moore didn’t care.  He would say that Manning deserved it all.  

Manning and Moore made a great team.  A behind the scenes team, yes, but a great team nonetheless.  It is not often that a superstar quarterback called by some the smartest to ever play, still respects and listens to his offensive coordinator.  

Then again, not many quarterbacks have had a coach like Tom Moore.  

The hardest part about writing this article is trying to give Tom Moore the respect he deserves, while not ripping Manning of the respect he deserves.  I think Manning is the greatest quarterback to ever play the game.  I also think that Tom Moore is maybe the greatest offensive mind in the history of football.  But Manning gets his publicity.  Tom Moore doesn’t. 

More people probably know him as “the man behind Manning” than Tom Moore.  Most people don’t realize that he started this high powered, complex offense well before Manning was even throwing a football (thus Manning did not make Moore great), in fact being the coach of a certain University of Minnesota quarterback named Tony Dungy.  He coached with Chuck Noll, and he coached Terry Bradshaw.  

And he coached and developed the greatest quarterback of all time.

Moore nurtured him. Moore grew with him. They are two minds thinking as one, the prototype modern quarterback and the throwback coach…

“Trust,” he said, is the key to his relationship with Manning.

“I know he trusts me and I’ve tried to earn his trust,” Moore said. “He could do anything. I’ve got his back. Whatever he does is right. I tell him, ‘You see it, you go for it and don’t worry about it.'”…

“He tells me before the game, ‘Hey, if you see something out there, you call it,'” Manning explained. “That puts a lot of confidence in you as a quarterback. Some coaches tell their quarterbacks, ‘Hey, you can change the play, but it better work.’ That is not confidence, that is a threat.”

“Never have, never will,” Moore said when asked if he had ever second-guessed his QB. “I don’t coach that way. You don’t give someone some freedom and then the first time, you start questioning him.”

This is from an excellent article on the relationship between the two, by Hank Gola

Tom Moore is a legend.  But many people have not heard of him, and that is very sad. 

Maybe a gold jacket would change that.

At the very least, it will be good to see him in Indy once again.

For more on Tom Moore, check out Mike Chappell’s article on him in the Indianapolis Star.

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About Josh Wilson
Follow Josh on twitter @jwilsonWL, on Facebook at the Operation: Freedom page, or you can reach him by email at operation.freedom@yahoo.com.

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