By Andy Green
After the Giants Super Bowl win, Kurt Warner said that he did not believe that Eli Manning’s post season success qualified him as a Hall of Famer just yet. His much publicized comments prompted my thoughts of which recently retired quarterbacks are worthy of Hall of Fame consideration.
The first quarterback on my list is the man that prompted this thought; Kurt Warner.
Warner’s story is one of the best in professional sports, the true American dream.
After being cut by the Green Bay Packers as a rookie Warner played in the Arena Football and stacked shelves at the local store. After three stellar seasons in the AFL and one in NFL Europe he found work with the St. Louis Rams in 1998 as a backup.
The following season, after an injury to starter Trent Green, he found himself living every young boy’s dream as he led the St. Louis Rams to Super Bowl glory collecting both the league and Super Bowl MVP awards in the process.
Warner would win his second league MVP award two seasons later before being upset in the Super Bowl by Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
After two injury plagued seasons with the Rams and a season in New York, Warner signed in Arizona in 2005.
In and out of the line-up for two seasons he finally took hold of the job when starter Matt Leinart was lost for the season in week 5 of 2007. Warner never looked back starting 48 of his final 49 games and leading the Arizona Cardinals to their first Super Bowl appearance. And within one drive of their first Super Bowl victory – they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Warner played one more season in the NFL and retired in 2009 with 1 Super Bowl ring, 3 Super Bowl appearances, 2 League MVP awards and countless NFL records.
Whilst being an elite quarterback on the field, Warner was an even better man off the field. Winning numerous awards for his charity work and his foundation, First Things First.
When considering Wanrer for the Hall of Fame his playing statistics speak for themselves. In 124 regular-season games, Warner completed 65.5 percent of his passes for 32,344 yards and 208 touchdowns. Only Warner and Fran Tarkenton have thrown for 100 touchdowns and 14,000 yards for two teams.
But, Warner deserves to be in Canton for more than his statistics alone. He should be there for his heart, his determination, his will to succeed. Kurt Warner is true example that if you want to achieve greatness and are willing to fight for it you will succeed. He had a Hall of Fame career and fought for every step he took on the field.
On his legacy Warner said; “It’s not the way I threw the football, it’s not particular games that I won, but that they remember that here’s a guy that believed, that worked hard,”
Kurt Warner is a guy that deserves to be remembered forever.
A Hall of Famer.