- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 31, 2007

MIAMI — It took Marvin Harrison and Peyton Manning a long time to reach the Super Bowl. But the patience of the Colts’ superstars pales in comparison to that of Tom Moore, their offensive coordinator.

Moore is finally back in the title game 27 years after helping Pittsburgh win back-to-back Super Bowl titles in the 1978 and 1979 seasons. In the intervening years, Moore helped construct dangerous offenses for the Steelers, Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions and Indianapolis.

The Colts have ranked in the top four in scoring and yardage in seven of their nine seasons with Moore. And yet he has never been a head coach. At 68, he almost certainly never will be.

“I haven’t been cheated because I haven’t been a head coach,” said Moore, who claims that it’s the players, not his schemes, that make the Colts’ offense so feared. “Nobody owes me anything. There are only 32 head coaching jobs. My whole theory in life is to be the best that you can be with what you’re asked to do.”

Manning, Moore’s triggerman during their entire tenures in Indianapolis, said his coach — who interviewed for an opening in Washington in 1997 before heading to New Orleans — doesn’t ask much.

“There’s not a day that goes by that we don’t appreciate having Tom as a coordinator,” Manning said. “His support, the trust he has in us makes you want to execute for him. You want to win for Tom because you like him so much. He’s very fair. All he asks is for your best effort. I’ve really grown and developed in his offense. The offense has expanded the more experienced I’ve become. He’s given me more freedom each year.”

And Colts coach Tony Dungy gives Moore the freedom to run the offense. After all, Moore was his position coach at the University of Minnesota in 1973.

“Tom Moore is a special coach,” said Dungy, a fellow assistant with the Steelers and Vikings. “I have ultimate faith in him. It was very comforting to know that I wouldn’t have to worry too much about the offensive side of the ball [when taking command of the Colts].”

Moore hasn’t had to worry much either, not with Manning, Harrison and left tackle Tarik Glenn in place for at least nine years.

“Tom has taken an offense that has been successful in so many other places and simplified it to really a science,” Glenn said. “He doesn’t care if people know what we’re doing. Tom’s a firm believer if we do it better than they do it, we’re going to be successful.”

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