Kurt Warner: Back in Your Mind, Back in Your Conversations
I'm willing to bet that 14 years ago, when Kurt Warner was working at a grocery store somewhere in Iowa, he would have never thought he'd be where he is today: Super Bowl champion, Super Bowl MVP, NFL MVP.
Most casual fans probably don't even see Kurt Warner as still being a great NFL quarterback, when in fact he is. Let me take that a little further and say that most NFL teams probably don't see him as a threat anymore, until this season anyway.
Most people, including myself, thought that he had a few great seasons and that was the end of the Kurt Warner story. Well, he's back for the sequel.
Everyone remembers watching the greatest show on turf and the hundred times a game when the networks put the camera on his wife cheering on her "Where did this guy come from" husband. It was fun to watch a team that never mattered, finally matter.
And they weren't just winning games. They were killing their opponents through the air, led by a quarterback that no one knew or ever heard of—unless you are from Iowa or watch the AFL.
Prior to this glory, Warner played in the AFL for a few years with the Iowa Barnstormers. I know what you are thinking: "Who?" But yes, there is an AFL team in Iowa, and their name is the Barnstormers.
After he put up good numbers in the AFL, the St. Louis Rams decided to sign him in 1998, a season where he appeared in only one game and completed four of 11 pass attempts. The rest is all history.
But where has Kurt Warner been for the past seven years? In the NFL, battling injury and going mostly unnoticed.
After his three years in St. Louis where he was great, he spent two more injury-shortened years there before moving to the Giants. He played in 10 games there before Eli stepped in.
After his season with the Giants, Kurt went to Arizona to be a veteran backup for the new, young Matt Leinart. Eventually Kurt would get the starting job after Leinart showed immaturity both on and off the field.
That brings us to this season, a season where people are actually talking about Kurt Warner possibly winning another MVP award—a season where the Cardinals are finally living up to their potential. And what do you know, they are led by the afterthought that is Kurt Warner.
When it first came to me to write about Warner, I thought to myself, "Are you serious? All of his success has come with either the Rams or the Cardinals. You like the 49ers, you can't write about this guy."
Fact of the matter is that Kurt Warner is a great quarterback, no matter who he plays for. No one in NFL history has a higher percentage of 300+ yard games (45 percent of games started). Only one other person has a higher career QB rating (Steve Young).
The guy is good, and when it's all said and done, I would give him a vote for the Hall of Fame.
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