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Lenny Moore

Lenny Moore

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Leonard Edward Moore is a former American football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

 halfback
Halfback (American football)
A halfback, sometimes referred to as a tailback, is an offensive position in American football, which lines up in the backfield and generally is responsible for carrying the ball on run plays. Historically, from the 1870s through the 1950s, the halfback position was both an offensive and defensive...

 who played for Penn State
Penn State Nittany Lions football
The Penn State Nittany Lions football team represents the Pennsylvania State University in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Football Bowl Subdivision as a member of the Big Ten Conference. It is one of the most tradition-rich and storied college football programs in the...

 in college and the Baltimore Colts
History of the Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts are a professional football team based in Indianapolis, Indiana. They play in the AFC South division of the National Football League. They have won 3 NFL championships and 2 Super Bowls....

. He came to the Colts in 1956, and had a productive first pro season and was named the NFL Rookie of The Year
NFL Rookie of the Year Award
Since 1967, the Associated Press has given two annual Rookie of the Year Awards to National Football League players: one for an offensive player and one for a defensive player. These two are often regarded as the "official" awards...

. He is the great uncle of retired NBA player Donyell Marshall
Donyell Marshall
Donyell Lamar Marshall is a retired American professional basketball player, at the small forward and power forward positions. During his extensive NBA career, he played with eight different teams...

.

In His Prime


Moore was both a great runner and receiver. He lined up both in the backfield as a halfback and split wide as a flanker, and was equally dangerous at both positions in the offense engineered by quarterback Johnny Unitas
Johnny Unitas
John Constantine Unitas , known as Johnny Unitas or "Johnny U", and nicknamed "The Golden Arm", was a professional American football player in the 1950s through the 1970s, spending the majority of his career with the Baltimore Colts. He was a record-setting quarterback, and the National Football...

. Moore averaged at least 7.0 yards a carry in several seasons. He made 40 receptions for 687 yards and seven touchdowns in 1957, the first of five straight years in which he would have 40 or more catches. In 1958, he caught a career-high 50 passes for 938 yards and seven touchdowns in helping the Colts win the NFL championship. Then in 1959, Moore had 47 receptions for 846 yards and six TDs as the Colts repeated as champions.

Nicknames


Moore was tagged with a number of 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.

1964


After being injured in the 1962 season and losing his starting job, Moore had one of his best statistical seasons in 1964 when he scored 20 touchdowns, and helped 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.

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
LaDainian Tomlinson
LaDainian Tramayne Tomlinson is an American football running back for the New York Jets of the National Football League. He was drafted by the San Diego Chargers fifth overall in the 2001 NFL Draft. He played college football at Texas Christian.Tomlinson, often referred to by his initials, L...

 in 2005. 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 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."

Teammate 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.'"

(Maese, Rick: "Ex-Colt Moore's 'real story' grabs students' attention. Baltimore Sun, February 20, 2009.)

Legacy


Moore retired after the 1967 season. 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, he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
Pro Football Hall of Fame
The Pro Football Hall of Fame is the hall of fame of professional football in the United States with an emphasis on the National Football League . It opened in Canton, Ohio, on September 7, 1963, with 17 charter inductees...

. In 1999, Moore was ranked number 71 on The Sporting News
The Sporting News
Sporting News is an American-based sports magazine. It was established in 1886, and it became the dominant American publication covering baseball — so much so that it acquired the nickname "The Bible of Baseball"...

 list of the 100 Greatest Football Players. He is also the only player to have at least 40 receiving touchdowns and 40 rushing touchdowns. Football Outsiders
Football Outsiders
Football Outsiders is a website started in July 2003 which focuses on advanced statistical analysis of the NFL. The site is run by a staff of regular writers, who produce a series of weekly columns using both the site's in-house statistics and their personal analyses of NFL games.In 2005 and 2006,...

, in their book Pro Football Prospectus 2007, named 6 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
East-West Shrine Game
The East–West Shrine Game is an annual post-season college football all-star game played each January since 1925. The game is sponsored by the fraternal group Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, and the net proceeds are earmarked to some of the Shrine's charitable works, most notably the Shriners...

 Hall of Fame class.

Moore was an honorary captain for Penn State's game versus Syracuse
Syracuse Orange football
The Syracuse Orange football program is a college football team that represents Syracuse University. The team is a member of the Big East Conference, which is a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I conference that is part of the Football Bowl Subdivision...

 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
Coin flipping
Coin flipping or coin tossing or heads or tails is the practice of throwing a coin in the air to choose between two alternatives, sometimes to resolve a dispute between two parties...

.

Lenny Moore is a member of The Pigskin Club of Washington, D.C.
The Pigskin Club of Washington, D.C.
The Pigskin Club of Washington, D.C., Inc. was founded in 1938 with the goals of "improving relationship between persons interested in the game of football; that there may be given encouragement for good, clean sport; that there may be a more perfect understanding among such persons; and, that...

  National Intercollegiate All-American Football Players Honor Roll.

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