Lion wideout Herman Moore isn't one of those players who likes to leave the game at the stadium. He brings it home so he can discuss it with his personal trainer, who also happens to be his wife, Angela. "We talk a lot about techniques," Moore says. "When I get home, she'll say, 'I noticed something you didn't do,' or 'This might be why you made that mistake,' " Moore says. "She's involved in what I do, and she can be critical."
But even Angela hasn't found much to criticize about her husband's play in his fifth year in the league. Not even Jerry Rice or Michael Irvin have meant more to their teams than the 6'3", 210-pound Moore has meant to the Lions. In the most spectacular season ever for a Detroit receiver, Moore has latched on to a league-high 108 receptions for 14 touchdowns and a club-record 1,522 yards.
In almost every game, Moore has done something special. Against the Packers on Oct. 29, he became the first Lion receiver since 1985 to catch three touchdown passes in a game. Against the Bears on Dec. 4, he made a club-record 14 receptions for a career-high 184 yards. Then there was the TD catch he made on Sept. 25 in the Lions' 27-24 upset of the 49ers.
Leaping high, his vision partly obstructed by the arms and hands of defenders, Moore somehow grabbed the ball at the back of the end zone. The catch was a classic display of Moore's most valuable assets—height, leaping ability and Velcro hands. "I've made harder catches," Moore says. "I really pride myself on making the tough catches look easy."
Moore wasn't always so confident. As a rookie in 1991 he dropped so many balls that Detroit fans began to wonder if the Lions had squandered their No. 1 draft pick. He improved dramatically in 1992, increasing his receptions from 11 to 51. But he didn't begin to reach his potential, or rid himself of the injuries that constantly nagged him, until he began working out with Angela in the summer of '94. Both had been members of the track team at Virginia, Angela as a distance runner and Herman as a high jumper.
"She makes me feel guilty when I want to stop," Moore says. "She gives me the incentive to dig deep."
"We push each other," says Angela, "and it's also a time to talk. We always feel like a team in everything we do, and working out is part of that."
Herman credits the workouts for improving his strength, stamina and quickness. He's also tougher. In 1994, for the first time in his pro career, Moore didn't miss a game because of an injury. "You'll always have bumps and bruises," Moore says, "but where it used to take me a week to shake them, now I can do it during the course of a game. Last season I turned an ankle and kept playing. The year before, I missed a game with the same thing." Moore passed the 1,000-yard barrier for the first time in 1994, hauling in 72 passes for 1,173 yards and 11 scores. When Rice skipped the Pro Bowl, Moore was named as a replacement.
Although he has reached the top of his profession, Moore keeps his priorities in order. Being a member of Team Moore—he and Angela have two sons, Aaron, 3, and Ashton, 2—is more important to him than being a member of the NFL's elite. "No matter how the game turns out," Moore says, "I go into the tunnel and see my wife and kids. That makes everything all right."