Tom Moore has cast a long shadow of coaching in the NFL since graduating from Rochester High School in 1957.
He went on to play quarterback at Iowa and began coaching shortly after his playing days, in 1961. Moore has been a coach in the NFL since 1977 and the 82-year-old is currently an offensive assistant with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who will face the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. (CBS).
Through 41 seasons in the NFL, Moore still gets a thrill out of coaching football. He was describing the feeling to his wife, telling her about getting on the bus and going to play the NFC Championship Game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay two weeks ago.
“From a coaching and a player’s standpoint, hey, that’s as good as it gets,” he said. “That’s fun and that’s what keeps me going. I love the game.”
This will mark the fifth time that Moore has coached in a Super Bowl and he is in search of his fourth victory. But even if that victory should occur, Moore has no plans of retiring.
“I want to coach until physically or mentally I can’t or until I die,” he said. “Because there is absolutely nothing about working that turns me off. So I want to coach as long as I can, I want to coach as long as someone will hire me and that I can do the job that I’m supposed to do.”
When he was an assistant coach with Indianapolis, Moore and the Colts had their path to the Super Bowl blocked on several occasions by Tom Brady. Now the 43-year-old Brady has guided the Bucs to the Super Bowl in his first season in Tampa Bay.
“He did break my heart a few times, he broke a lot of peoples’ hearts,” Moore said. “You can’t help pull for a guy like Tom Brady, who you see has all the dedication, the work ethic. Everything he does to be successful, he wanted to have greatness and he worked to get it. It didn’t come easy; it just didn’t fall out of the trees for him. He’s worked very hard and continues to work hard.”
Moore has now worked with two of the best quarterbacks ever in the NFL. He spent a number of years with Peyton Manning in Indianapolis, and the Colts won a Super Bowl during that time.
“Their work ethic is very similar, their preparation is very similar and their competitiveness is very, very similar,” Moore said. “They want to compete and they want to do the process, they enjoy the process and they enjoy the games. It’s fun to watch and both of them have had a lot of success.”
On Sunday, Moore and the Bucs will take on a Kansas City team whose offense features standout quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
“They have Mahomes at quarterback and he’s excellent,” Moore said. “And he’s got great weapons with (tight end Travis) Kelce and his wideouts. And they do a good job of protecting him. And you have to give coach (Andy) Reid all the credit in the world.”
Moore notes that the 2020 season has been challenging on a lot of fronts. Due to COVID-19, there has been constant testing of players and coaches, few if any fans have been in the stands and teams were always at a risk to lose players for a period due to the pandemic.
Moore, who has been vaccinated for COVID-19, is in his second season as an assistant under 68-year-old head coach Bruce Arians in Tampa Bay. He gives Arians a lot of credit for holding the Bucs together this season.
“I feel very fortunate to have an opportunity to work for Bruce. He’s done just a masterful job in my opinion of handling the whole thing,” Moore said. “The players have done a great job and are to be commended for their cooperation, their stick-to-it-ness with the process to keep this thing down so we didn’t have a lot of episodes of it. And it was not easy, there was a lot of discipline involved."