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Monday, December 4, 2023


Opinions vary on Warner’s Hall of Fame chances

Kurt Warner (above) gives a speech in 2007. He may be giving another one in Canton, Ohio in a few years. | John Trainor/Wikimedia Commons

Jason Ovalle: Kurt’s got the goods

I think there is no doubt that Kurt Warner is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. First, it must be noted that Warner went undrafted and was cut several times in the NFL before he caught on with the St. Louis Rams in 1998.

In comparison to other modern era NFL quarterbacks already in the Hall, he has a higher career passer rating (93.7) than Troy Aikman, Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, Warren Moon, John Elway and Joe Montana, as well as other quarterbacks already in the hall.

Warner finished the year with a 93.2 passer’s rating. He also passed for 26 touchdowns and 3,753 yards. In 2008, he led the Arizona Cardinals franchise to their first Super Bowl appearance. He led the Rams to two Super Bowls, winning one, and was named Super Bowl MVP in 2000 and regular-season MVP in 1999. He finished his career with 208 touchdowns and 32,344 passing yards.

Not only does he have the stats to be in the hall, but a great story as well. It’s a no-brainer that he will get in.

Tristan Tippet: But did he have the consistency?

Kurt Warner has certainly had a unique career. He’s what comes to mind when you think of the underdog story. He was a good quarterback, who had some outstanding seasons.

The 1999 season was perhaps one of the greatest single seasons by any quarterback. For that three-year period, you could argue he was the best quarterback in the game. Nearly 10 years later, he’s resurfaced with the Arizona Cardinals and had a similar run. With multiple sterling seasons, three dramatic Super Bowls and a great story, he’ll probably be voted into the Hall of Fame.

However, in my opinion, he’s more on the border than people might realize. Warner had problems staying on the field. From 2002-06, he missed a total of 45 games, his career totals took a hit, and he fell off many people’s radars.

There are exceptions, but longevity and production are not mutually exclusive.  Hank Aaron hit 755 homers because he stayed good for 24 seasons.

Brian Legrand: Is that a serious question?

Of course he’s first-ballot Hall of Famer, no question.  Kurt Warner is literally a rags-to-riches story. He went from stocking groceries and “clean up on aisle four” to NFL MVP to Super Bowl champ, to back on the bench in New York with the Giants, to being sent to Arizona to mentor Matt Leinart, then finally back to starter and Super Bowl quarterback.

It’s a rags-to-riches-to-rags-back-to-riches story. Not only does he have the numbers he put up over the last 12 years, but he also resurrected two franchises left for dead and turned them into contenders almost instantly.  And he did it at the age when most NFL players are on the decline.

He did it first at 27 with Rams, then again at 37, an age when most former players are still trying to get their memories back from getting knocked in the head too many times. If Warner isn’t first ballot, then someone must be getting paid in stacks to keep him out.

Judge Higgs: Going out on a limb there, guys?

I know I’m new to the Sports desk here at the Daily Cougar, but was it really necessary to lob me such a “softball” argument to judge? Come to think of it, can you really call it an argument when there’s only one possible response? With Warner’s recent retirement, it makes sense that we’re covering the prospect of his Hall of Fame credentials, but really, what kind of argument can you make that he doesn’t deserve to be inducted?

The only person who even took a stab at it was Tristan, and the quality of his explanation speaks for itself. Hank Aaron? Really? He probably wouldn’t have enjoyed such longevity if he had had 300-pound linemen looking to tear his head off.

And if healthy seasons were the barometer of Hall of Fame worthiness, the list of quarterbacks in Canton would be exactly one name long — Brett Favre.

Jason’s stats make for a good start, and I like Brian’s enthusiasm, but all you need to say is that the man owns spots one, two and three in all-time Super Bowl performances. That, and he took the Cardinals to the big game. Yes, the Arizona-freakin’-Cardinals!

Verdict: While everyone basically made the same argument, Jason actually added some stats to back up the feel-good part of Kurt’s story, so he’s the winner this week.

Facetime: Go check out the band WHY? and its new album Eskimo Snow. I’m out.


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