If you do not know who Dave Moore is, then it’s a sad day in Tampa Bay. Much of the younger crowd is oblivious to who Dave Moore was, let alone the things he had done for the team.
First a little back story on Dave Moore:
Moore decided to take his aspirations and skills to the University of Pittsburgh, where he would split roles during his first 16 of 38 games for Pitt as both a running back and as a tight end. During the 1988 season, he recorded no catches as he was primarily used as a running back. Moore Carried the ball only 15 times for 45 yards, and it looked as if running back wasn’t his gig, so they even used him as a kick returner, where he fielded one kick return for a handful of yards.
The following season, Moore was beginning to fall into his permanent role. Still being used sparingly, he caught six passes for 119 yards and a touchdown, while only attempting two carries on the ground for less than admirable gain. He would still attempt fielding a kick here and there over the next two seasons, but the running attempts ceased. In his last 22 games with Pitt, Moore was used primarily as a tight end. Again, only being used sparingly, Moore caught 83 passes for 904 yards and 4 TDs.
While not spectacular collegiate numbers, Dave Moore the tight end, was heading to the NFL.
Moore was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the 7th round of the 1992 NFL Draft. For reasons that aren’t still fully understood, the Dolphins chose to release Moore after only one game, but he found himself staying in Florida, as he was immediately picked up by the Buccaneers who wasted no time in casting their net into the waters of Miami to prove the Dolphins had made a big mistake.
While Moore wouldn’t see his first NFL touchdown until 1993, the Buccaneers immediately noticed they had an extremely reliable target as his catch percentage wouldn’t drop below 50% for another decade. Once the 1993 season rolled around and they witnessed just how reliable he was, Moore saw his playing time drastically increase as he would play in 15 games that year, which was more than double what he’d played in the previous season.
During his 5 seasons as a backup tight end, Moore would go on to record 8 touchdowns and average over 10 yards per catch. He also saw his dual threat talent from his college days show back up again, as he found himself used at fullback, even if only for one play. The Buccaneers could see the pieces starting to fit together for Moore as his catch percentage was quickly approaching 75% and they decided to take advantage of it by making him a starter in 1998.
It was his first season as a starter that would give us his most memorable play. He was responsible for what many call the “one handed catch”, which was a one handed 44 yard touchdown reception against the Chicago Bears. It was the kind of catch that would leave even Bears fans forgetting their chants of Da Bears as that day was all about Da Bucs, and all the Bears fans could do was watch as Moore and his catch would spark a comeback win over the Bears. That catch is still considered one of the top 10 catches in Buccaneers history and is including in countless highlight films used around the league.
While Moore’s NFL career isn’t one that screams Hall of Fame to anyone that is involved in selecting the nominees, his career is definitely memorable, especially for Bucs fans, and one he should be and most likely is, extremely proud of.
Among his many years as a Buccaneer, Moore was able to find himself part of a few key events that can never be repeated, and a few that while possible, are highly unlikely to ever be repeated. Among them, is his being on the team that recorded the very first win in Raymond James Stadium, he was responsible for scoring the 2nd ever touchdown for the Buccaneers in Raymond James Stadium, and he would find himself as being one of the most sure handed players in NFL history having only recorded 3 fumbles in 15 years.
After 15 years in the league that would see him quickly become a Buccaneer fan favorite to a short stint with the Buffalo Bills and returning home to Tampa to finish out his career, Moore decided to hang up his cleats for one final time as in June of 2007, he ended what was an illustrious career that many around the league hadn’t noticed, even though he was selected the year prior to his first ever Pro Bowl.
Moore became one of only five tight ends in NFL history to have played as many games: Pete Metzelaars, Tony Gonzalez, Jason Witten, and Antonio Gates. Pretty good company if you’re a tight end.
Upon retiring from the league, Moore would find himself working again for the Buccaneers, but this time in the radio booth as he would take over for Hardy Nickerson as the color analyst along side play-by-play legend Gene Deckerhoff.
He can also be seen helping to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association along with hosting his own fishing show on Sun Sports called “One Moore Catch” along with his long time wife Annmarie. When he’s not fishing or calling the action, you might me able to catch him down at his restaurant The Island Way Grill in Clearwater along with his former teammate and co-owner the A-Train himself Mike Alstott. As if that wasn’t enough to keep him busy, he still manages to find time to serve as an assistant coach for the Jesuit Tigers and spend as much time as possible with his son Jake who is the long snapper for the University of Dayton Flyers.