The NFL has become a passing league. As fans, we are well aware of that. Records are going to be broken quite frequently with the emphasis on throwing the ball. That being said, just because teams like to throw it doesn’t mean anyone should be able to do it as well as Aaron Rodgers. When we watched Tom Brady dismantle the NFL back in 2007, it seemed as though no player would ever come close to duplicating his 50-touchdown, 8-interception performance. Enter Rodgers, who is on pace to come awfully close to matching Brady’s touchdown mark while breaking a few records of his own.Google+
Kurt Warner was known as one of the most religious players in the NFL when he played. One of his most notable moments was when he won the Super Bowl and bellowed “Thank you Jesus!” As Christ-focused as he was, the former Rams and Cardinals quarterback quickly learned that constantly mentioning the Lord can be a turnoff for some people, so he made an adjustment.
“There’s almost a faith cliche, where (athletes) come out and say, ‘I want to thank my Lord and savior,’” Warner told the Arizona Republic. “As soon as you say that, the guard goes up, the walls go up, and I came to realize you have to be more strategic.”
Warner feels that’s a lesson Tim Tebow could benefit from.Google+
The biggest story in the NFL last week was the announcement by Kurt Warner that he would retire, ending his 12-year career. With the way he played this past season — 3,753 yards, 26 touchdowns, a division title and a playoff game victory — it was a mild surprise to see him hang them up (the Bobby McCray hit says otherwise). One person sad to see Warner retire is Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt. As I was listening to Jim Rome’s show live from Radio Row, he had Yahoo! Sports writer Mike Silver on as a guest. Silver mentioned that Whisenhunt was dangling a Brett Favre deal on the table to try and entice Warner to return for another season:
“Basically, Coach Whisenhunt told me that if there’s anything you need to make this work, let me know,” Warner said. “He said, ‘I’m willing to adjust anything within reason to have you stay. If you need to take some time off, the whole offseason off, some of training camp, we’ll figure it out.’ A lot of times he would say it in passing, just sort of having some fun with me, but there was some truth in it.”
The reason I invoke Brett Favre is because #4 got to miss all of training camp before signing with the Vikings and getting picked up from the airport personally by coach Brad Childress. The only other reason I’ve heard of players missing training camp is injury or contract issues, not because the coach was allowing special privileges. I think Whisenhunt’s offer says a few things. One, it speaks to the high level Kurt Warner played at this past year because Whisenhunt knows the Cardinals are a playoff team and Super Bowl contender with Kurt as the quarterback. On a similar note, it also means Whisenhunt doesn’t have too much confidence in Matt Leinart — at least not for the upcoming season. Think about it — if Whisenhunt knew he had Aaron Rodgers in the wings, would he make that type of offer? I doubt it.
I also was critical of Kurt Warner’s Hall of Fame candidacy last year. After seeing the way he played in the Super Bowl last year, and seeing him throw for five touchdown against the Packers (in the playoffs) and Bears (in the regular season), I have changed my mind. Warner is an elite quarterback who has done many special things in the league, and his propensity to play his best in the postseason was incredible. Games like the one he had in week two against the Jags — 24-26 for 243 yards and two touchdowns — remind me that he was also one of the most accurate quarterbacks in history. Warner’s final season he may have cemented his Hall of Fame status for many people, but it also changed my mind.Google+
Calling this play the “hit that ended Kurt Warner’s career” might be premature but it likely is the hit that ended Arizona’s season. As mentioned two weeks ago when Ole Miss played in the Cotton Bowl and Jevan Snead got crushed after a turnover, defensive players love interceptions because it gives them a chance to hit the opposing quarterback. Take the second quarter of the playoff game between the Cardinals and Saints when Kurt Warner was picked off by Will Smith. On the return, Kurt Warner was crushed by Bobby McCray. Check out the video:
Warner left the game with a chest injury and Matt Leinart took over from there. Warner reappeared after halftime but once the game got out of hand Leinart came back in. With all the talk last weekend that Kurt was considering retirement after the season, you have to wonder what he will do. It’s hard to envision him going out after a butt-whooping like that but taking hits like that might make him think twice.Google+
When I first called for the Cardinals to stop screwing around and get Kurt Warner signed already, we joked around that the lord had told him he deserved a raise and that he should use the 49ers for leverage. Well, turns out we weren’t too far from the truth. Check out this beauty that Warner unloaded in his press conference on Wednesday regarding his visit with the Niners and ultimate choice to re-sign with the Cardinals:
“[My family] didn’t want to close a door if God wanted it open. So that’s what we went into it with — ‘where does God want us, that’s where we’re going to be. No matter what the money is or what the situation, that’s where we want do be.’ Very early in the process in San Francisco, as many good things that are out there, I just knew very quickly that [Arizona] is where I was supposed to be. I told my wife probably 45 minutes into that I felt God say ‘you’re supposed to be in Arizona’.”
It’s really a shame that God didn’t tell Kurt to hold out for a few months until the Cardinals paid him what he was worth, because that’s really what would have been fair. Why was the lord siding with the cheapskate Bidwells on this one? Why didn’t God send the Bidwells a message in their sleep to pay Warner the fair amount of $29 million instead of $23 million? One other tidbit I’d like to add is that I’m pleased Warner called his agent and told the agent to get a deal done with the Cardinals, no playing games. A lot of players lose sight of the fact that the agents work for them and should do what the player tells them. Often times agents give players bad advice. Just see Ramirez, Manny.Google+
Although I made the point around Super Bowl time that I don’t think Kurt Warner’s a Hall of Famer yet, I still recognize that he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He took the team to the Super Bowl, stepped ut up in the playoffs, and clearly outplayed Matt Leinart in the pre-season by a vast margin. Putting all that together, I can’t understand why the Cardinals are playing hardball with Warner and his agent.
As we’ve heard, the sides are differing on the amount of annual salary Warner should make. Kurt wants to earn the average of the top five QBs in the league — a figure worth around $14.5 million — while the Cardinals supposedly were offering only around $10 mil. Look, this is exactly what makes the Cardinals the Cardinals, and it’s exactly why they never won prior to this past season. How hard is it for them to part with an extra $8 mil and just sign the guy? He’s earned it, he should be worth it, and you guys need him. What are you going to do, surrender all the positive feeling and fan buzz you generated with your Super Bowl run by letting this guy go? How could you possible let the fans down like that?
I’m guessing that Warner and his agent are scheduling a visit to San Francisco to make the Cardinals nervous and that he has no intention of actually going to SF. Still, it’s an excellent tactic to gain leverage in negotiations. Should Kurt Warner go to the Niners, that would be addition by subtraction, and it could make the 49ers the division favorite. I don’t think he’ll do it, but hopefully this will cause Arizona to cave in and pay the guy. He’s earned it, he’ll be worth it, and you can’t possibly come back to your fanbase following a Super Bowl run and give them Leinart and a 5-11 season. Unless you’re the Cardinals, in which case anything’s possible.Google+
One of the major, unavoidable topics of the week, has been whether or not Kurt Warner is a Hall of Famer. In fact, the pregame talk leading up to the NFC Championship game centered on how much bearing it had on the impending legacy of both Warner and Donovan McNabb. Warner obviously got the edge on that one cementing his legacy as a big-game quarterback, and McNabb as a guy who could get you to a big game but not further than that (which is still a major accomplishment in my eyes). Seems like many people have since been swept up in the euphoria of the Kurt Warner cyclone and want to throw him in the Hall of Fame already. Some people are more rational and feel his performance on Sunday will dictate his place in history. Me? I need to see Kurt Warner have another two stellar seasons and take his team to the playoffs two more times to be sold.
While I have no problem calling Kurt a big-game quarterback, I’m not down with all this talk about him being the best quarterback in football and a Hall of Famer. Here’s my main beef: how many Hall of Fame quarterbacks disappeared for five years after being a stud QB? How can you vote for a guy as a Hall of Famer when he stunk during the prime of his career? I guess it’s pretty easy for everyone else to just erase the past, but it’s not for me. I remember Kurt vividly as a turnover machine. The guy was either burping the ball from center or throwing picks. He stunk up the joint completely in his last two years with the Rams, his year with the Giants, and his first two years with the Cards. Don’t remember him fumbling six times against the Giants in ’03? I do.
I’m not saying that Warner isn’t a pretty spectacular quarterback when he’s well-protected, healthy, and playing with lethal weapons — he is. I’m just saying that there were times in his career — a five-year stretch — when he was a below average quarterback in the National Football League. And that to me, does not a Hall of Famer make.Google+