Well, Mr. Warner is no longer a young gun. The little gas he has left in the tank is being depleted as we speak, and the raging question must be brought up. Is Kurt Warner a hall of famer, or is he just Brad Johnson? Is he Ken Anderson, or is he among the same league with the truly great ones, such as John Elway, Dan Marino, and even Dan Fouts.
The question cannot be answered unless we take an entire look at his career. Measure up all of his accomplishments and shortcomings on both sides of the same argument. Let's begin by learning a little bit about Kurt...
In 1994, Warner went undrafted and it looked like he wouldn't even be able to join an NFL team's bench. He refused to give up on his dream to be an professional quarterback. Since he couldn't join the NFL, he joined the Arena Football League.
This is the pro football hall of fame, so we cannot discount his accomplishment there. In the Arena League, he excelled like no other and in just two years he was already being mentioned as one of the great Arena Football Players. In 1998, he signed with the Admirals, another Arena Team AND the St. Louis Rams. This is where his NFL career begins...
In 1999, Kurt Warner replaced an injured Trent Green and their lives would never be the same again. Kurt Warner commanded and lead his team to win the Super Bowl in the single greatest season team turnaround this game has ever seen. In his first season, he also won the NFL MVP award with over 4,000 yards and a passer rating of 109.1.
"The greatest show on turf" was born and Warner was the ringmaster. In 2001, Warner won his second MVP award and the show was looking brighter and more exciting than it ever did an unfortunately ever would. Warner lost the Super Bowl in 2001, and he chances to establish a dynasty slipped away and so did his job.
It took many years before he finally got back up on his feet. In 2007, he finally got a second chance and started the majority of the games. He played well enough to convince the coaches that this man was their man. He has played every single game in 2008 in an MVP-worthy record-breaking season.
The Case For...
He has a super bowl ring, something just about every quarterback must do to join the elite class of gunslingers. If he wins the MVP in 2008, he will tie Brett Favre and Jim Brown for the Most MVP awards ever, and you can almost guarantee he will go to the Pro Bowl this year, which will make it four times, that's not a lot, but it's as much as Boomer Esiason and Kenny Anderson (individually).
It's also worth mentioning that in every season where he has actually started every game, his stats are amazing. To my information, he is tied for second with Peyton for the best passer rating in NFL history behind Steve Young. He's also one of the most accurate passers ever to play the game, with a very high completion percentage in just about every year.
The Case Against...
There is a strong case going for Kurt, but there is also a strong case going against him. His career stats look pretty damn good, but bring up his seasons next to each other and he's had his share of time on the bench.
How can you be one of the best ever if your coaches don't even think you are the best on your team? And it's not like when he was benched he didn't get his fair share of chances, which he screwed up, by the way.
From 2002 to 2006, he wasn't like Brett Favre throwing a lot of interceptions down the stretch. He was a bench warmer and during the "prime" of his career, too. When he does have success, he has a whole lot of play makers to help him...
"The Greatest Show on Turf" is arguably the greatest group of wide receivers ever in the history of the game. And the Arizona group is one of the best today. He may bee one of the mos accurate passers ever, but he's also one of the least mobile and most often sacked quarterbacks.
If Warner wins the MVP this year, then everything looks brighter, and he goes in with a great case. It'll help even more if he leads the Cards to win their first playoff game in decades.
In the end, I think he hasn't crossed the border yet. Maybe if he delivers this year and the next, but if he doesn't, there are more deserving candidates of the past and present who need enshrinement before Warner.
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