Kurt Warner: Arizona Cardinals Are (Finally) Claiming Him As One of Their Own

Tom HighwayCorrespondent INovember 19, 2009

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 15:  Quarterback Kurt Warner #13 of the Arizona Cardinals drops back to pass while being defended by Deon Grant #24 of the Seattle Seahawks in the second half at University of Phoenix Stadium on November 15, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Seahawks 31-20.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

This week, the Arizona Cardinals' front office Web site is running with the theme that Kurt Warner has now played more games as a Cardinal than as a Ram.  The general idea is that now he's finally a "real" Cardinal.

For those who have followed the Cardinal franchise, this theme is curious.  Until only recently, the Bidwill family seemed intent on not claiming Warner as one of their own at all.

Were it not for the foresight of current head coach Ken Whisenhunt, Warner would likely have been run off the roster long ago by the Bidwills to clear the way for their prized first-round draft pick: the chronically-immature, under-skilled and oft-injured Matt Leinart.

However, if the Bidwills were sincere today in their newly-developed wish to cement Warner's place in Cardinal football history, they should have begun earlier.

Perhaps even last year would have been an opportune time to start.

Kurt's legacy as a Cardinal would have been even more firmly solidified had he been awarded the NFL MVP last season, which he deserved more than any other player in the league. Instead, the award went to Peyton Manning.

The award is based upon regular season performance, and Warner bested Manning in almost every quarterback category. And it's difficult to argue that any player was more valuable to his team last season than Kurt Warner.

The injustice was made even more obvious once the postseason got underway. Manning lost his first playoff game. He's lost in the Colts' opening round six times now. Warner, meanwhile, elevated his game, tied Joe Montana's single-postseason touchdown record and led the Cardinals to their first-ever Super Bowl.

Here is a summary of their respective 2008 regular season statistics:


Kurt Warner
4,583 yards, 401-of-598, 67.1 percent, 7.7 YPA, 30 TDs, 14 INTs, 96.9 rating.

Peyton Manning
4,002 yards, 371-of-555, 66.8 percent, 7.2 YPA, 27 TDs, 12 INTs, 95.0 rating.


Why did Manning receive the 2008 MVP? Well, he won it—in large part—because his team actively lobbied for him to receive it.

The Bidwills, on the other hand, directed their Web site shill, Darren Urban, to actually write that Warner didn't deserve it in the middle of the 2008 season.

Was this strategy calculated based on Warner's becoming a free agent after the 2008 season? Did the Bidwills instruct their lackey to downplay Warner as an MVP to drive down his looming contract asking-price?

Based on the track record of the miserly Bidwills and the undistinguished history of their in-house propagandists, the answer is clearly Yes .