May 12, 2013

Rookie of the Year: Lenny Moore, 1956

Halfback, Baltimore Colts

Age:  23 (Nov. 25)
College: Penn State
Height: 6’1”   Weight: 190

An outstanding all-around talent in college, Moore rushed for 2380 yards, intercepted 10 passes, and averaged 15.8 yards on punt returns and 24.3 yards on kickoff returns. He was taken in the first round of the 1956 NFL draft by the Colts (9th overall).

1956 Season Summary
Appeared in all 12 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Attempts – 86
Most attempts, game - 13 (for 185 yds.) vs. Green Bay 10/28
Yards – 649 [8]
Most yards, game – 185 yards (on 13 carries) vs. Green Bay 10/28
Average gain – 7.5 [1]
TDs – 8 [3, tied with Alan Ameche & Hugh McElhenny]
100-yard rushing games – 2

Pass Receiving
Receptions – 11      
Most receptions, game – 2 on four occasions
Yards – 102
Most yards, game - 27 (on 1 catch) vs. Green Bay 10/28
Average gain – 9.3
TDs – 1

Attempts – 4
Completions – 1
Yards – 8
Touchdowns – 1
Interceptions – 1

Punt Returns
Returns – 8
Yards – 38
Average per return – 4.8
TDs – 0
Longest return – 15 yards

Kickoff Returns
Returns – 10 [18]
Yards – 129
Average per return – 12.9
TDs – 0
Longest return – 21 yards

All-purpose yards – 918

TDs – 9 [6, tied with Frank Gifford]
Points – 54 (14)

Awards & Honors:
NFL Rookie of the Year: UPI
2nd team All-NFL: NY Daily News
Pro Bowl

Colts went 5-7 to finish fourth in the NFL Western Conference while placing second in the league in rushing (2202 yards).

While he never carried the ball more than 98 times in any of his first six years, he was highly effective when he did, leading the NFL in yards per carry three more times. He was perhaps even more effective as a pass receiver, often lining up out wide as a flanker, and was a formidable offensive weapon for the Colts, leading the league in yards from scrimmage in 1957 (1175) and twice gaining over 900 receiving yards in a season as he achieved consensus first-team All-Pro honors in four consecutive years (1958-61) and five straight Pro Bowl selections (1958-62). He also had over a thousand yards from scrimmage in five consecutive years (1957-61) with a high of 1536 in Baltimore’s first championship season of 1958. In the meantime Moore, nicknamed “Spats” for the manner in which he taped up his football shoes, was shifted full-time to halfback in 1961. In ’62, injuries limited his effectiveness and in 1963 he played in only seven games and saw limited action. It appeared that his days with the Colts were numbered, but Moore wasn’t traded during the offseason and started 1964 as backup to Tom Matte at halfback. He had a remarkable comeback season, gaining 1056 yards from scrimmage and setting a then-NFL record with 20 touchdowns. Moore gained 878 yards from scrimmage in 1965 (464 rushing, 414 receiving) and played another two years, although he carried the ball just 105 times (for 431 yards) and caught 34 passes as his playing time diminished. Following his retirement after the 1967 season, he had gained 5174 yards rushing on 1069 carries (4.8 avg.) and caught 363 passes for 6039 more yards (16.6 avg.) while accumulating a total of 113 TDs, which ranked second all-time. He totaled 12,449 all-purpose yards. The Colts retired his #24 and Moore was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 1975.

[Updated 8/4/13]


Rookie of the Year Profiles feature players who were named Rookie of the Year in the NFL, AFL (1960-69), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press – Offense or Defense, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, or the league itself – Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year). 

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