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The Short List: Tom Moore

At most schools, an open coordinator position wouldn't be cause for serious contemplation. Coordinators come and go, in most circumstances. Iowa football isn't most schools, though; the program hasn't hired a new coordinator in thirteen years, and a full-on head coaching search looks to be years away. Offensive Coordinator LET'S TALK ABOUT IT.

Not since Anna Nicole Smith married that one old dude had a septugenarian's ability to connect with teenagers questioned as much as Tom Moore was yesterday. The rumors started mid-morning and exploded from there. Depending on your source, Tom Moore was on campus, had taken the quarterbacks out for a spin, had lunch with Kirk Ferentz, had been offered the offensive coordinator position, and had promised to find Peyton Manning some more eligibility for 2012.

Thomas-moore_mediumTom Moore, of course, was the longtime offensive coordinator of the Indianapolis Colts, spending eleven seasons with the team under three different head coaches, all with the same starting quarterback in every game: Manning. Depending on who you ask, either Moore or Manning was completely responsible for the success of the Colts' offense over the last decade, but never both at the same time, and certainly not Moore once Manning had ascended Mount Football, slayed the football dragon and drank its blood, giving him football superpowers. In any case, Moore has a Super Bowl ring from the Colts (and a couple more; we'll get there), a 117-59 record during his time as a coordinator, and a season where his quarterback threw for 49 touchdowns.

Prior to that, he only coached Barry Friggin' Sanders. Moore spent 1994 to 1996 as the offensive coordinator in Detroit, saving Wayne Fontes' job a couple of times before a string of injuries took ol' Rasputin down. He spent a couple of years as assistant head coach to Jerry Burns and Dennis Green in Minnesota. He spent thirteen seasons under Chuck Noll in Pittsburgh, first as receivers coach and then, for the last seven seasons, as offensive coordinator. He picked up a couple Super Bowl rings with those teams, as well. The man likes jewelry. He hasn't been in college football since 1976, but that was with Minnesota, so he really hasn't been in college football since a two-year stint with Georgia Tech in 1970-1971. He's in play here for what happened a decade before that: Moore grew up in Mt. Pleasant, played for Forest Evashevski at Iowa, and spent a couple of years after graduation as a GA.

What we're saying is, he's pretty old; 73, to be exact, and he'll be 74 by the time the 2012 season kicks off. He resigned as offensive coordinator in Indianapolis after the 2008 season to take a newly-created spot as "Senior Offensive Coordinator" mostly because changes in the NFL pension plan forced his semi-retirement. He spent last season as a special consultant to the New York Jets, telling a reporter it was in large part because he could work from home. HE PLAYED FOR FOREST EVASHEVSKI, FOR PETE'S SAKE. Dude is old as all get-out.

No one denies he has the experience to do the job; just look at that recap and realize the man coached 29 seasons for three franchises and made the playoffs 19 times. Likewise, no one denies that he's precisely the sort of quarterback guru Ferentz seeks: Professional football-heavy resume, tons of playcalling experience, track record for developing quarterbacks. His personality fits perfectly: By all accounts, he's the offensive version of Norm Parker.

The question, then, is whether he would come out of semi-retirement for a college coordinator position, and how his appointment would affect recruiting. The first question, we do not know, because we are not mind readers. Moore's affect on recruiting, though, would likely be two-fold. He has a background that can be sold: If Charlie Weis could walk into living rooms with his Super Bowl rings, say "Tom Brady" sixty-three times, and land top quarterbacks, Moore should be able to do the same with Peyton Manning (though his one season with Terry Bradshaw might not play as well now). The problem is, of course, is that someone else will have to make that pitch. Moore negotiated his last job so that he could work from home, after all, and probably won't spend too much time on the recruiting trail. In November, Ferentz said he didn't think Norm's absence from recruiting had made much of a difference. This would be a deed matching his words, and would essentially leave Iowa a body short on the recruiting trail once again. Whether those physical limitations are outweighed by the sales pitch he offers is the big question.

Obviously, as a long-term solution, Tom Moore makes little sense. Kirk Ferentz has nine years left on his current contract, and the idea that Moore would serve until he's 83 is completely unrealistic. Moore only makes sense if Ferentz has another name in mind that he doesn't believe is ready for full-on playcalling duties yet. That person might be Erik Campbell (though, given his resume, if not now, when?). It might be Lester Erb. Or it could be a certain New England assistant whose name rhymes with Tryin' Terentz. If it's Moore, it's a stalking horse for someone else, and the palace intrigue has only begun.