As the dust has recently settled on the 2014 NFL Hall of Fame inductions and we are back to playing football, albeit pre-season, talk is starting to gather pace about who might be on the 2015 Hall of Fame list. In his first year of eligibility the name of Kurt Warner should be a name that get Cardinals fans excited.
I know he has recently been inducted into the Cardinals own Hall of Fame, but this man deserves a place at the NFL’s top table and a day in the sun at Canton, Ohio. What is interesting here, is not if Kurt should go in, but should he go in as a Cardinal or a Ram. As Free Agency has taken hold in more recent years, more and more Hall of Fame careers will be spent over 2 or 3 teams, rather than just 1, which in turn will pose the question which fan base will claim the player as theirs when the time comes to visit Canton and listen to the speech.
There are those who would argue that Kurt doesn’t belong in the Hall, but if a QB is measured in how they played in the big games then I point to the fact that Kurt has 3 of the best single game performances in Super Bowl history, and if it wasn’t for a last second FG from New England and the tip toes of Santonio Holmes could well have more rings to his name.
Feb 2, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (right) hugs former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner before Super Bowl XLVIII against the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
But the Hall of Fame is not just about Football, but also about the man, the career, the impact he had. Kurt ticks all of these boxes, his career could easily be the subject of a Field of Dreams type movie (if you throw it, it will come), from the Supermarket aisles to Super Bowls. He inherited someone else’s team twice and then far outplayed what coul d have been expected out of his competition. Does anybody think seriously that Trent Green would have directed the “Greatest Show on Turf” or that Matt Leinart would have got Arizona to a Super Bowl?
Off the field together with his wife Brenda, the Warners had a huge impact on the community around them, something continued today, as he has moved into the media after one of the Saints bounty hits was probably one of the main considerations in calling time on the playing career.
Michael Strahan, during his Hall of Fame speech, kept referring to the improbable in his life, well if Strahan’s career was improbable then Warner’s should have been nigh on impossible. As I am sure Kurt himself would remind you though, you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.
Although he won the Super Bowl in St Louis, I am claiming him as a Cardinal Hall of Famer, in many ways his career in Arizona is a metaphor for the team. The unlikely ones, that no-one gave much thought to, but were prepared to keep going and never give up, and sometimes you can achieve your dreams. Arizona is a city that hosts Super Bowls, not plays in them was the much wider perception ( although sure would be nice to do both in early Feb 2015) and why not have a newly elected Hall of Famer, Kurt Warner to toss the coin.
When Warner took over as starting QB, we saw the real Larry Fitzgerald (another future Hall of Famer) come to life, the Super Bowl run was miraculous, but the Cardinals were right back in the hunt again the following year, until Gregg Williams tore up some long established moral guidelines. Following some leaner times in New York, the rebirth of Warner sparked a rebirth of the Cardinal franchise and the two are still greatly entwined now.
So yes, Kurt Warner the football player, Kurt Warner the man, and Kurt Warner the career story all belong in the Hall of Fame, and in the days to come he should be talked about with the greats of the game, as a Arizona Cardinals, Hall of Famer
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