How many other coordinators would open a game with 22 consecutive passes, as Moore did against Green Bay earlier this year? How many would give their quarterback the freedom at the line of scrimmage that Moore gives Manning? Sure, it's much easier to do with a player like that, but it's still progressive stuff.
"You can't play scared," Moore said.
There lies the secret to his success. In a league full of convention, he isn't conventional. If you play tight and blitz, he'll throw for an entire quarter if he has to do so. Play off, and he'll run it down your throat. Just ask the Patriots, who got a dose of that in the season opener.
Run, run, pass on third down is not the Colts way. It's not the Moore way.
"I don't ever want to be labeled conservative or predictable," Moore said. "That's two things I don't want. I don't believe in playing that way. That's not Tom Moore. Tom Moore has to be Tom Moore. You have to be aggressive. You have to take your shots. No guts, no blue chips."
No guts, no blue chips.
That's a Tom Moore-ism. He is full of them, and he often passes them down to his quarterback, one- or two-sentence phrases to help keep him on top of things.
"He always gives me those," Manning said. "It's one of his old coaching tricks."
"Just things I've collected over the years," Moore said.
He has also collected the wisdom of plenty of good coaches. A former quarterback at Iowa -- would you expect anything else from the way he calls plays? -- Moore began his career as a college coach, working his way up to offensive coordinator at the University of Minnesota, where his quarterback for a year was none other than Colts coach Tony Dungy.
Moore came into the NFL as an offensive assistant and coordinator under Chuck Noll for the Pittsburgh Steelers, staying from 1977-1989, winning two Super Bowl rings. After that, he went to the Vikings as coordinator and then to the Detroit Lions from 1994-96. It was there that he worked a major miracle.
Moore made Scott Mitchell a 4,000-yard passer in 1995 when the Lions led the league in offense. Scott Mitchell?
That 1995 team was a hint of things to come. Brett Perriman and Herman Moore each had more than 100 catches, the first tandem in league history to accomplish that feat, and Barry Sanders' presence in the backfield makes that even more amazing. But Moore doesn't make a big deal about it.
"We did some pretty good things that year," he said.
After a year with the New Orleans Saints in 1997, Moore joined the Colts as coordinator for Jim Mora. Manning came on board in 1998, and the two worked through Peyton's tough rookie year.
"He stuck by me, though," Manning said. "He never held me back. That's one thing about Tom. He wasn't going to restrict me. He let me work through a lot of things. That helped as I got older."
Mora was fired after the 2001 season, and Moore was in limbo. That's when his former player Dungy took over as coach of the Colts. Dungy did the smart thing and kept Moore on as coordinator.
Dungy and Ron Meeks run the defense. The offense is all Moore.
His play-calling and offensive system might be modern, but he coaches with a style that is definitely retro. Ask any Colts player to describe Moore, and they'll all talk about his in-your-face approach.
"Tom's direct," running back Edgerrin James said. "He'll get on you. That can bother some guys. But I'm more laid-back. I'll tell you one thing, he knows everything there is to know about football. He's got a million stories. And he knows how to put points on the board. I know that. He's a bad mother------."