Kurt Warner: Accusation of Packers' Dirty Play in 2009 Playoffs Is Perplexing

Marques EversollAnalyst IMay 5, 2012

The NFL Network's wide variety of personalities among its on-air talent is a classic example of "the good, the bad, and the ugly."

Rich Eisen is as good as it gets in his role as the network's main host, and from the charismatic Deion Sanders to the articulate Kurt Warner, a number of former players turned analysts demonstrate enough perspicuity to maintain the viewer's attention.

That's the "good."

On the other end of the spectrum, it's often difficult to decipher exactly what Warren Sapp is trying to say amid his exaggerated expressions and distracting mannerisms.

In no reference to his appearance; Sapp represents both the "bad" and the "ugly."

Some might suggest a fourth category: the "Dukes." This category would be reserved for one particularly employee who seems to think that the louder he talks, the more likely it is that viewers will look past his lack of insight.

I'm very sorry, Jamie, but the "talk-loud, say nothing" tactic doesn't work. It's thoroughly annoying.

The NFL Network has it all, but its name reflects the one constant focus of the company: football. When my television is on, it's set to the NFL Network an estimated 96 percent of the time, so clearly I'm able to look past some glaring deficiencies in communication skills among a couple of its on-air employees.

This week, however, one of the network's most reliable and intelligent analysts made some perplexing comments when asked about the New Orleans Saints' "bounty-gate" scandal.

The Packers had no answer for Kurt Warner in the '09 playoffs.
The Packers had no answer for Kurt Warner in the '09 playoffs.

During the several years of the alleged "bounty" scandal, Kurt Warner was violently knocked out of a playoff game by Saints defensive end Bobby McCray. The hit occurred following an interception, and it sent Warner to the sideline in what ended up being the last game of his illustrious 12-year career.

Although when he was asked about "dirty play" in the 2009 playoffs, Warner wouldn't point his finger at New Orleans. Instead, he accused a different team of illegal hits: the Green Bay Packers.

Prior to playing the Saints in the divisional round that year, the Arizona Cardinals narrowly edged the Green Bay Packers in what Chris Berman deemed the "Roaster in the Toaster."

The officiating in the game has since been heavily scrutinized by both Packer fans and the national media; however, Kurt Warner believes it was the Packers, and not the Cardinals, who were guilty of playing outside the rules.

During an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show earlier this week, Warner referred to the Packers when asked about teams going above and beyond their call of duty and targeting specific players:

"The week earlier against the Packers, I really felt like I was getting a lot of hits to the head in that game...I felt like there was a lot of shots going towards my head in that game. That's just one that I recall."

In Warner's defense, he didn't point his finger at any particular player, and he only mentioned the Packers for about 30 seconds of his 10-minute interview, but nonetheless, his comments are sure to raise some eyebrows.

There was no penalty on the play that decided this 2009 meeting.
There was no penalty on the play that decided this 2009 meeting.

If the Packers had any malicious intent against Warner, it went unnoticed by the naked eye.

That night, Warner turned in one of the most impressive single-game performances ever from a quarterback. He was in surgical that day as he orchestrated an unstoppable Arizona offense; the Cardinals scored 51 points, put up 531 total yards and averaged 9.5 yards per play.

Warner threw five touchdown passes. He threw just four incompletions.

Surely, you'd expect a better performance from the Packers' defense who was just accused of playing "dirty."

Then again, the Saints' defense didn't exactly put fear into their opponents' eyes during the alleged "bounty-gate" scandal. Yes, opposing offenses likely had the New Orleans game circled, but for far different reasons: it was about to be a Fantasy Football field day.

While the quarterback on the other sideline, Aaron Rodgers, may have been on the bad end of a missed call on the play that decided the game in overtime, Warner referred specifically to the Packers for going at his head on several occasions in that game.

If there was any questionable calls or non-calls in that particular game when the Cardinals offense was on the field, I'd really like to see some video examples.

I'd love to see some instances of the alleged "dirty play" where the possession ends with a shot of something besides more points for Arizona and/or disgusted Green Bay defensive backs.

That 2009 playoff game had it all: the offense was good, the officiating was bad, the defense was flat-out ugly, and Kurt Warner's comments were questionable.

Perhaps a better adjective for Warner's analysis of the Packers' defense that day would be "ungrateful."