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The Underrated Magnificence of Kurt Warner

Brad JamesCorrespondent INovember 11, 2008

During this week's exceptionally entertaining Monday Night Football game matching the Arizona Cardinals against the San Francisco 49ers, Kurt Warner amassed 300 passing yards for the 46th time in his illustrious career.

This has happened in 45 percent of his starts which eclipses Hall of Famer Dan Fouts' mark of exceeding 300 yards 28 percent of the time. With this said, it's obvious to me that Warner is a sure-fire Hall of Famer, but as recently as the 2008 preseason, Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt said the starting quarterback job was Matt Leinart's to lose.

Well, obviously, Leinart isn't under center, but the Cards are having their finest season since migrating to the greater Phoenix area in 1988. Incidentally, Warner is setting lofty marks this season even when one considers his previous excellence in St. Louis.

This season, Warner is amassing just under 307 passing yards a game which is his best mark since he tossed for 311.7 yards a contest in 2000 when the Greatest Show on Turf was at its zenith. Furthermore, in the season's first 10 weeks he has thrown for 2,760 yards, 19 touchdowns and only six interceptions while completing almost 71 percent of his passes.

Obviously, his talented targets Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin deserve much of the credit, but undoubtedly Warner is the trigger man who makes it all possible. Even after he led the Rams to an improbable Super Bowl championship in 1999, he was considered in some circles to be a fluke, but no one can dispute his career results at this point.

For a sampling of what I mean, here's a few tidbits appertaining to Warner's excellence: he is second all-time in career completion percentage as he has completed 65 percent of his tosses. For added perspective, he has a much stronger arm than the current all-time leader, Chad Pennington of the Miami Dolphins, who checks in at 65.5 percent.

Other statistical categories rank him near the likes of Dan Marino and Peyton Manning, who I believe will one day take his place in Canton as the greatest signal-caller the game has ever seen.

Still, notwithstanding the fact that the nation watched the Cardinals take complete control of the NFC West with their goal line stand against the 49ers, Arizona was not the talk of the town on the national airwaves.

Thus, much like their impressive quarterback, the Cardinals continue to excel in relative obscurity. However, the most dangerous assassins are those who stealthily succeed and stun the entire populace. That's precisely what Kurt Warner and the Arizona Cardinals could do this season. Stay tuned.

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