Lenny Moore

Last updated

Lenny Moore
1lenny moore.jpg
Moore in Baltimore, 2011
No. 24
Position: Halfback,
Flanker
Personal information
Born: (1933-11-25) November 25, 1933 (age 89)
Reading, Pennsylvania
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:191 lb (87 kg)
Career information
High school: Reading (PA)
College: Penn State
NFL Draft: 1956  / Round: 1 / Pick: 9
Career history
Career highlights and awards
NFL record
Career NFL statistics
Rushing yards:5,174
Yards per carry:4.8
Rushing touchdowns:63
Receptions:364
Receiving yards:6,039
Receiving touchdowns:48
Player stats at NFL.com  ·  PFR

Leonard Edward Moore (born November 25, 1933) is an American former professional football player who played both halfback and flanker in the National Football League (NFL) for the Baltimore Colts from 1956 to 1967. He played college football for Penn State Nittany Lions. He was named the NFL Rookie of the Year in 1956 and was selected to the Pro Bowl seven times. Moore was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1975.

Contents

Early years

Moore was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, and was blessed with exceptional athletic ability. He attended Reading High School, where his speed on the field earned him the nickname "The Reading Rocket." He was tagged with a number of other nicknames: "Sputnik," for the fear he incited in opposing defenses; "The Reading Rambler" and "Lightning Lenny," for his unmatched speed; and "Spats," for the way he taped his high-top shoes, making them look like low-tops, and one of the first to expose tapings outside the shoes. [1]

College

Moore leveraged his speed and ability into a college athletic scholarship and entered Pennsylvania State University in the fall of 1952 as the first individual in his family to attend college. In an era before freshmen were allowed to play in games and "redshirt" status did not exist, he achieved great success, scoring 24 touchdowns in 27 games in just three seasons on the varsity with the Nittany Lions. [2] Moore left the school as their all-time leader in 100-rushing yard games (12), rushing yards (2,380), all-purpose yards (3,543), and single-season all-purpose yards (1,486 in 1954). [3]

NFL

Moore in 1954 Lenny Moore 1960 (cropped).jpg
Moore in 1954

Moore's achievements at Penn State did not go unnoticed by scouts from the NFL, and he was drafted by the Colts in the first round of 1956 with the ninth pick. [4]

Moore was both a great runner and receiver, lining up in the backfield as a halfback and split wide as a flanker, and was equally dangerous at both positions in the Colts' offense run by quarterback Johnny Unitas. Moore averaged at least seven yards per carry in three seasons, and has a career average of 4.8 yards per carry. He had 40 receptions for 687 yards and seven touchdowns in 1957, the first of five years in which he would have 40 or more catches. In an era of pounding running games, Moore was a glimpse of things to come in the NFL, with a career average of 30 receptions per year out of the backfield. [5]

During his rookie season in 1956, Moore established himself as one of the most well-rounded runners and receivers in the league, and won the NFL Rookie of the Year award. In 1958, he caught a career-high 50 passes for 938 yards and seven touchdowns in helping the Colts win the NFL championship. In 1959, Moore had 47 receptions for 846 yards and six touchdowns as the Colts repeated as champions.

Moore was injured in 1962, a knee injury, and lost his starting job in 1963 from the knee injury. In 1964, he had one of his best statistical seasons when he scored 20 touchdowns, helping to lead the Colts to a 12–2 regular-season record and a trip to the NFL Championship Game for the third time in seven seasons. He was voted by his fellow players as the Most Valuable Player, a remarkable award considering he played most of the season with complications from appendicitis, and gave credence to the claim that he was one of the toughest players in the NFL. He also won Comeback Player of the Year Award in 1964.

Moore scored a touchdown in an NFL-record 18 consecutive appearances starting in 1963 and continuing through the entire 1964 season, ending in 1965. This record stood for 40 years until being equaled by LaDainian Tomlinson in 2005. [6] Because his streak was interrupted by a five-game absence due to injury in 1963, he does not hold the NFL's official record for consecutive games rushing for a touchdown.

Race and football

Moore faced the difficult task of being an African American in the NFL during the 1950s and 1960s. Most teams averaged about six African American players on their roster during his time in the league. His race also came into question after his retirement in 1968 when he was not given a long-term contract with CBS Television, ending his attempt to be the first black sports broadcaster for CBS.

Moore occasionally speaks to student groups about his experiences as a black football player during an era when, in the words of Baltimore Sun sportswriter Rick Maese, "Moore could travel with his teammates but couldn't always eat in the same restaurant, couldn't always stay at the same hotel, couldn't always fraternize with them the same way out of the locker room as he had in it."

"There was never anybody ever closer than me and the guys that I played football with on that Baltimore team – on the field," Moore told the Sun. "We were just like glue. One for all, all for one." But "once they blew the whistle and the game was over, they (the white players) went their way, we (the black players) went our way. We split. It was race."

Fellow NFL player Ollie Matson mentored Moore and warned him that "'they're going to call you the big N. You're going to hear it all. So don't get yourself all worked up, because it's going to happen.'" [7]

Legacy

Moore retired from professional football after the 1967 season. In 12 seasons and 143 regular-season games he scored 111 total touchdowns, accumulated 11,213 total yards, made seven Pro Bowls, and five all-NFL teams. His uniform number 24 was retired by Baltimore, and in 1969 a sportswriters' poll named him to the NFL's 50th Anniversary Team.

In 1975 Moore was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and was named to the NFL's 1950s All Decade Team. In 1999, The Sporting News' ranked Moore 71st on its list of the 100 Greatest Football Players. He is the only player in NFL history to have at least 40 receiving touchdowns and 40 rushing touchdowns.

Football Outsiders, in their book Pro Football Prospectus 2007, named six of his seasons among the top 500 running back seasons of all time, which was tied for the 5th most seasons among the top 500 of any player. Moore's retired number is honored along with all of the other Baltimore Colts retired numbers in M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, home of the Baltimore Ravens.

On January 19, 2008, Moore was inducted into the East-West Shrine Game Hall of Fame class. [8] Moore was an honorary captain for Penn State's game versus Syracuse on September 12, 2009. It was the first time a former Penn State player has been invited to participate in the pre-game coin toss. [9] Moore is a member of The Pigskin Club of Washington, D.C. National Intercollegiate All-American Football Players Honor Roll.

Moore retired in 2010 from the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services after 26 years of service. His job with the state included traveling to middle and high schools, mixing and mingling with at-risk children, trying to keep them straight. He was a keynote speaker for churches, organizations and youth groups, teaching children and adults about the risks of drugs and he worked to improve the lives of troubled teens. [10]

On October 8, 2013, Moore had a road in Baltimore County named after him in his honor. [11]

Moore's charity work includes raising money for the fight against scleroderma. He holds an annual benefit dinner in memory of his son Leslie, who died at 43 of that disease.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Johnny Unitas</span> American football player (1933–2002)

John Constantine Unitas was an American football quarterback who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 18 seasons, primarily with the Baltimore Colts. Following a career that spanned from 1956 to 1973, he has been consistently listed as one of the greatest NFL players of all time.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Raymond Berry</span> American football player and coach (born 1933)

Raymond Emmett Berry Jr. is an American former professional football player and coach in the National Football League (NFL). He played as a split end for the Baltimore Colts from 1955 to 1967, and after several assistant coaching positions, was head coach of the New England Patriots from 1984 to 1989. With the Colts, Berry led the NFL in receptions and receiving yards three times and in receiving touchdowns twice, and was invited to six Pro Bowls. The Colts won consecutive NFL championships, including the 1958 NFL Championship Game—known as "The Greatest Game Ever Played"—in which Berry caught 12 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown. He retired as the all-time NFL leader in both receptions and receiving yardage.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Franco Harris</span> American football player (born 1950)

Franco Harris is an American former professional football player who was a fullback in the National Football League (NFL) for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks. After playing college football for the Penn State Nittany Lions, he was selected by the Steelers in the first round of the 1972 NFL Draft, the 13th overall pick. He played his first 12 years in the NFL with the Steelers; his 13th and final year was spent with the Seahawks. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Marshall Faulk</span> American football player (born 1973)

Marshall William Faulk is an American former professional football player who was a running back in the National Football League (NFL) for 13 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts and St. Louis Rams. He played college football at San Diego State, where he was a two-time consensus All-American. He was selected by the Colts as the second overall in the 1994 NFL Draft, whom he was a member of for five seasons, before spending his last eight seasons with the Rams. Faulk was a member of the Greatest Show on Turf, a name given to the St. Louis Rams team that appeared in two Super Bowls and won Super Bowl XXXIV over the Tennessee Titans. In 2000, Faulk was named the Most Valuable Player of the NFL. Faulk is one of only three NFL players to reach at least 10,000 rushing yards and 5,000 receiving yards and the only one to amass 12,000 yards rushing and 6,000 yards receiving. He was also an analyst for various programs on the NFL Network until December 2017. Faulk was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2017. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest running backs of all time.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Priest Holmes</span> American football player (born 1973)

Priest Anthony Holmes is an American former football running back who played 11 seasons in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the University of Texas at Austin. He was signed by the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 1997.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Edgerrin James</span> American football player (born 1978)

Edgerrin Tyree James is an American former professional football player who was a running back in the National Football League (NFL) for 11 seasons. He played college football at the University of Miami for the Miami Hurricanes. He was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts fourth overall in the 1999 NFL Draft. James also played for the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Alan Ameche</span> American football player (1933–1988)

Alan Ameche, nicknamed "The Iron Horse", or simply "The Horse", was an American football player who played six seasons with the Baltimore Colts in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and won the Heisman Trophy during his senior season in 1954. He was elected to the Pro Bowl in each of his first four seasons in the league. He is famous for scoring the winning touchdown in overtime in the 1958 NFL Championship Game against the New York Giants, labeled "The Greatest Game Ever Played."

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Paul Warfield</span> American football player (born 1942)

Paul Dryden Warfield is an American former professional football player who was a wide receiver in the National Football League (NFL) from 1964 to 1977 for the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins, except for a year in the World Football League (WFL) with the Memphis Southmen. He was known for his speed, fluid moves, grace, and jumping ability. A consistent big-play threat throughout his career, his 20.1 average yards per reception is the highest in NFL history among players with at least 300 receptions.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eric Dickerson</span> American football player (born 1960)

Eric Demetric Dickerson is an American former professional football player who was a running back in the National Football League (NFL) for 11 seasons. Dickerson played college football for the Mustangs of Southern Methodist University and was recognized as an All-American. He was selected in the first round of the 1983 NFL Draft and played professionally for the Los Angeles Rams, Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Raiders, and Atlanta Falcons of the NFL. During his NFL career, he rushed for over 13,000 yards. He holds the NFL's single-season rushing record with 2,105 yards, set in 1984. Dickerson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999 and, in 2019, was named to the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest running backs of all time. He wore prescription goggles throughout his career due to myopia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Joe Perry (American football)</span> American football player (1927–2011)

Fletcher Joseph Perry was an American professional football player who was a fullback in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) and National Football League (NFL). He played for the San Francisco 49ers from 1948 to 1960, the Baltimore Colts from 1961 to 1962, and returned to the 49ers in 1963 for his final year in football. He was exceptionally fast, a trait uncommon for a fullback and one which earned him the nickname, "the Jet". The first African-American to be named the NFL Most Valuable Player, he became one of American football's first black stars.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tom Matte</span> American football player (1939–2021)

Thomas Roland Matte was an American professional football player who was a running back in the National Football League (NFL) in the 1960s and 1970s and earned a Super Bowl ring. He attended Shaw High School in East Cleveland and was an Eagle Scout. Matte was an All-American quarterback playing college football at Ohio State University.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Preston Pearson</span> American football player (born 1945)

Preston James Pearson is a former American football running back in the National Football League for the Baltimore Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys. He played college basketball at the University of Illinois.

Joe Dan Washington Jr is a former American football running back in the National Football League (NFL) for the San Diego Chargers, Baltimore Colts, Washington Redskins, and Atlanta Falcons.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">George Taliaferro</span> American football player (1927–2018)

George Taliaferro was a professional American football player who was the first African American drafted by a National Football League (NFL) team. Beginning his football career at Indiana University for the Hoosiers team, he played in the NFL for the New York Yanks from 1950 to 1951, the Dallas Texans in 1952, the Baltimore Colts from 1953 to 1954, and Philadelphia Eagles in 1955. Taliaferro was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1981.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cecil Isbell</span> American football player and coach (1915–1985)

Cecil Frank Isbell was an American football quarterback and coach. He played five years in the National Football League (NFL) with the Green Bay Packers, leading them to the NFL Championship in 1939. He retired after the 1942 season to become an assistant coach at his alma mater, Purdue University, and the following year became its head coach for three seasons.

The 1964 Cleveland Browns season was the team's 19th season, and 15th season with the National Football League. The Browns won the NFL Championship, despite having not made the playoffs in six seasons.

Jerry Hill is a former professional American football running back for the National Football League's Baltimore Colts. He is a native of Lingle, Wyoming.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">L. G. Dupre</span> American football player (1932–2001)

Louis George Dupre was a professional American football running back in the National Football League for the Baltimore Colts and Dallas Cowboys. He played college football at Baylor University.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jonathan Taylor (American football)</span> American football player (born 1999)

Jonathan Taylor is an American football running back for the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League (NFL). Taylor played high school football at Salem High School, where he set the New Jersey state rushing yards record. He played college football at Wisconsin, finishing his college career as the sixth all-time rusher in the NCAA and the first player in history to rush for more than 6,000 yards in any three-year span. Taylor finished in the top ten of Heisman Trophy voting three times. Following each of the 2018 and 2019 seasons, he was named a unanimous first-team All-American and recipient of the Doak Walker Award, the award for the top running back in college football. Taylor was selected in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft with the 41st pick by the Colts. With the Colts, Taylor led the NFL in both rushing yards and touchdowns in 2021, becoming a unanimous All-Pro and Pro Bowler in the same season.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jake Funk</span> American football player (born 1998)

Jake Funk is an American football running back for the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Maryland. In Maryland's four games during the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season, Funk averaged 129 rushing yards per game. He also led the Big Ten Conference and ranked second among all Football Bowl Subdivision running backs with an average of 8.6 rushing yards per carry. Funk was drafted in the 7th round of the 2021 NFL Draft NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams, and won a Super Bowl with the team in 2022.

References

  1. NFL Films, #94: Lenny Moore | The Top 100: NFL's Greatest Players | NFL Films , retrieved December 17, 2018
  2. "Sports Reference CFB" . Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  3. "College Days: Lenny Moore | Pro Football Hall of Fame Official Site". www.profootballhof.com. Retrieved September 12, 2020.
  4. "Flanker-Running Back Lenny Moore". NFL Internet Press. Retrieved December 23, 2016.
  5. "Pro Football Reference - Lenny Moore". Pro-Football-Reference.com . Retrieved December 27, 2016.
  6. Moore's record tied by Tomlinson - Pro Football Hall of Fame
  7. Maese, Rick (February 20, 2009). "Ex-Colt Moore's 'real story' grabs students' attention". The Baltimore Sun . Baltimore, Maryland . Retrieved October 12, 2015.
  8. "East-West Shrine Game Announces Hall of Fame Class". East-West Shrine Game press release. Archived from the original on February 22, 2008. Retrieved January 22, 2008.
  9. Rudel, Neil (September 9, 2009). "Moore amazed in return to State College". Williamsport Sun-Gazette .
  10. "Catching up with Lenny Moore". David Selig. Baltimore Sun. November 21, 2011. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  11. "Randallstown road to be renamed after legendary Colts running back Lenny Moore". BaltimoreNewsJournal.com. Archived from the original on October 8, 2013. Retrieved October 7, 2013.

Further reading