Nat Moore was a 5'9" wide receiver from Tallahassee. After starting college with the Junior College University of Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks, Moore finished his college career with the Florida Gators. He earned All-SEC selection and an honorable mention All-American nod for his 1972 junior season. Miami selected him in the third round of the 1974 NFL Entry Draft with the 78th overall pick. He would wear the number 89 jersey through his career.
As a rookie, Moore appeared in 13 games, starting seven at wide receiver, leading the Dolphins with 605 yards on 37 catches, scoring two touchdowns. He also returned nine punts for 136 yards and 22 kickoffs for 587 yards, an NFL seventh best 26.7 yard average. He also ranked 10th in the league with 1,344 all-purpose yards. Miami won the AFC East title with an 11-3 record, ranking third in the NFL with 327 points scored and leading the league with 6.6 yards gained per pass attempt. Moore's best game of the season was a six catch, 95 yard performance in a week seven victory over the Baltimore Colts, 17-7. In the ill-fated AFC Divisional "Sea of Hands" game, Moore caught two passes for 40 yards. He also returned three kickoffs for 137 yards, including an 89-yard touchdown to open the game.
In 1975, Moore started all 14 games for Miami opposite Howard Twilley. He easily led Miami with 40 catches for 705 yards, scoring a team second best four touchdowns. He also carried the ball eight times for 69 yards. Miami missed the playoffs at 10-4, the passing offense ranked third in the NFL by gaining 6.7 yards per pass attempt, as Miami's quarterbacking trio of Bob Griese, Don Strock and Earl Morrall combined for an NFL second best 60.9 percent completion rate. Moore broke the 100-yard barrier on two occasions, most notably a four catch, 113 yard, one touchdown performance in a 46-13 victory over the Chicago Beards in week seven.
1976 would see Miami post a 6-8 record, incidentally, the only losing record Moore would endure through his 13 NFL seasons. Moore would be limited by injury to only nine games, starting each of them. He still easily led the Dolphins in each receiving category, with 33 catches, 625 yards and four touchdowns. With 18.9 yards per reception, he ranked ninth in the NFL. Miami's offense finished near the middle of the pack in every trackable category. In consecutive losses near the middle of the season, Moore caught eight passes for 230 yards and a score.
In 1977, Moore returned to full time duty, starting all 14 Miami games. He led the Dolphins with 765 receiving yards on 52 catches, scoring an NFL high 12 receiving touchdowns. He also rushed 14 times for 89 yards and another score. He broke the 100-yard barrier twice, and scored more than once on three occasions. He caught seven passes for 68 yards and three touchdowns in a 55-14 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in week 11. Miami posted a 10-4 record on the season, but failed to return to the playoffs for a third consecutive season. The Dolphins ranked third in the NFL with 313 points scored, gaining an AFC best 5.0 yards per offensive play. Bob Griese took most of the snaps, helping the Dolphins to an NFL best 86.0 passer rating. Moore was named to the Pro Bowl roster and also made the All-NFL first team.
Moore set team highs with 48 passes caught and an NFL third best 10 touchdowns scored in 1978 for a team second best 645 yards. He started 15 of the 16 games in which he appeared, as Miami finished the newly expanded schedule with an AFC Wildcard clinching 11-5 record. The Dolphins led the AFC with 372 points scored, finishing second in the NFL with a 59.6 percent completion rate and an 82.9 passer rating.
In 1979, Moore led the team in each receiving category by catching 48 passes for a career high 840 yards, along with six touchdowns. Miami won the AFC East with a 10-6 record. Moore broke the 100-yard mark three times during the season, including a career high eight catches for 127 yards in a week five loss to the New York Jets, 33-27.
Moore caught 47 passes for 564 yards in 1980, scoring a team high seven touchdowns. Miami went 8-8 on the season, missing the playoffs. The Dolphin's offense wasn't very good that year, ranking between the middle and the bottom of the NFL in most categories.
In 1981, Moore caught 26 passes for 452 yards and three touchdowns, due to injury starting only 11 of 13 games. He caught seven passes for a career high 210 yards with two touchdowns in the Dolphins week five 28-28 tie with the New York Jets. Miami finished the season with an AFC East Title earning 11-4-1 record.
1982 would see Moore appear in all nine games of the strike-shortened season off the bench. He posted the lowest totals of his career, catching eight passes for 82 yards and a touchdown. Miami finished with a 7-2 record, breezing through the expanded playoff field by outscoring opponents 76-26 through the first three games before dropping SBXVII to the Washington Redskins, 27-17.
In 1983, Moore ranked second on the Dolphins with 558 receiving yards gained. He caught 39 passes and scored six touchdowns as Miami won the AFC East by four games with a 12-4 record. On October 16th, Moore gave NFL Films one of their favorite highlights of the last 30 years when he caught a 46 yard strike from Dan Marino, getting spun like a helicopter when tackles by two New York Jets (see video). In a 20-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in week 10, Moore caught six passes for 85 yards and two touchdowns.
Helicopter Catch by Nat Moore of the Miami Dolphins (via natmoore89dotcom)
In 1984, Moore finished fourth on the Dolphins with 43 catches for 573 yards and six touchdowns as Dan Marino lit up everyone with 48 scoring strikes while Miami finished the season with a 14-2 record. Moore caught five passes for 105 yards and a touchdown in a week 10 victory over the Jets, 31-17. Miami's offense led the NFL with 513 points, 38 points more than second place San Francisco. The team blew through the postseason, leveling the Seattle Seahawks 31-10 and the Pittsburgh Steelers 45-28 before losing SBXIX to the 49ers, 38-16.
In 1985, Moore caught 51 passes for a team second best 701 yards, leading the Dolphins with seven receiving touchdowns. In a week four 30-26 victory over the Denver Broncos, Moore caught five passes for 109 yards and a score. Miami won the AFC East with a 12-4 record as Miami's passing attack continued to make up for their porous defense, finishing second in the NFL with 31 touchdown passes and 4,114 passing yards.
1986 would see Moore in his final NFL season catch 38 passes for 431 yards and seven touchdowns. In a week 12 victory over the Jets, Moore caught seven passes for 99 yards and two touchdowns. Miami's 8-8 record on the campaign eliminated them from postseason contention.
For 13 seasons with the Dolphins, the first few as a primary threat, the last few as a complementary piece of the puzzle, Moore caught a total of 510 passes for 7,546 yards, finishing second on Miami's all-time touchdown reception list, with 74.
In 1998, Moore created the Nat Moore Foundation to work with disadvantaged youths in the Miami Dade County Area. He was added to the Miami Dolphins Honor Roll in 1999.