Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Moore and Hillsdale's Mudd are Colts' bedrocks

Coordinator and O-line coach are two of the longest-tenured and most-revered assistants in the NFL.

By Phil Richards
January 13, 2005

Conversation concluded and pleasantries exchanged, the visitor rose to leave. Denver defensive coordinator Larry Coyer stopped him at the door with a final thought.

"Let me tell you something," Coyer said. "That offensive coordinator in Indy, he's the best. You match wits with him, you lose."

Three days later, the Broncos lost spectacularly. The Colts scored seven touchdowns in 10 offensive possessions Sunday to dismiss Denver 49-24 in an AFC wild-card game at the RCA Dome. It was 35-3 at halftime.

Quarterback Peyton Manning, running back Edgerrin James, wide receivers Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne and Brandon Stokley and the rest get the credit, and rightly so. The NFL is a players' game. You win on talent. You lose on the lack thereof.

But if you're looking for the twin rocks upon which the league's most dominant offense is founded, look deeper. Look at offensive coordinator Tom Moore and offensive line coach Howard Mudd.

Only Dick Hoak, in his 33rd season as Pittsburgh's running backs coach and 43rd season overall, is senior among NFL assistant coaches. Mudd, 62, is in his 31st year as a league assistant. Moore, 66, is in his 28th. Each is in his seventh year with the Colts. They are close friends, tough-minded brothers in philosophy and expectation, and if Moore is highly regarded, Mudd ranks right with him.

"If Howard isn't the best," Kansas City coach Dick Vermeil said, "his name is going to be one of the first in the conversation."

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