The League

Zach Leibowitz
Sideline Reporter

Zach Leibowitz

A former sideline reporter for ESPN

Kurt Warrants HOF Talk

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If Kurt Warner wins his second Super Bowl -- with his second NFL team -- how is he not a Hall of Fame QB? He's knocking on the Hall's door already and I think a second championship should seal the deal.

Warner has thrown for almost 29,000 career yards and over 180 TDs. This is a guy who went to an obscure football school and was never drafted. He was an unknown QB who had to play in the AFL and in Europe just to earn his NFL shot. Over a decade later, Warner stands tall as third all-time in career passer rating. He has made four Pro Bowls. He has won two MVP awards and he was won a Super Bowl MVP award. With a victory over Pittsburgh, Warner will take home his second career Super Bowl ring.

It's fitting then that Warner is going up against the historic Steelers franchise because he's already thrown for more career yards than Pittsburgh's most famous, Hall of Fame QB Terry Bradshaw. There's no disputing Bradshaw's Hall of Fame worth. He won four Super Bowl titles and an MVP. Except Bradshaw was an overall #1 draft pick who was expected to put up those kind of numbers. Warner was not supposed to be here.

Jim Kelly took Buffalo to four Super Bowls in the early 1990's but never won one. That wasn't necessarily all his fault. Had Scott Norwood's kick straightened out, Buffalo's fortunes would have been changed forever. Kelly played 11 seasons, racked up over 35,000 yards and 237 TDs. Hall of Fame numbers for sure. But history shows Kelly's Bills never won the big game.

I bring these statistics up because Warner's are quite comparable. What determines a Hall of Famer? Is it just the statistics? Is it the amount of Super Bowl titles? Is it the number of MVP awards? Is it your character on and off the field? Well, if it's a combination of all of those factors, wouldn't Warner belong?

I understand there are many critics who will say Warner wasn't consistent enough on a year-to-year basis. He played for three teams, was injury plagued, and recorded only 27 passing TDs from 2002-2006. I argue to look at what he did before that. And after recovering from injuries and given another chance, look at what he's done after that.

Kurt Warner's path to the Hall of Fame discussion was an unusual one. He defied many odds and multiple injuries and finds himself, at 37 years of age, competing for his second championship. Even if he doesn't win, he'll still go down in history as having won one more Super Bowl than Jim Kelly, Dan Marino, Dan Fouts and Warren Moon.

If Warner wins his second title, put him in the Hall of Fame. His body of work over time is just that -- an accumulation of statistics, substance and success that spans a lifetime on and off the field. Those are the sorts of things that must be enshrined for all to see.

By Zach Leibowitz  |  January 21, 2009; 9:30 AM ET  | Category:  Arizona Cardinals , Zach Leibowitz Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Compelling. Cheering the underdog is what sports is all about, so why shouldn't we celebrate them in the hall of fame? How many INT's does Brett Farve have to throw before people consider his candidacy no greater than Warner's?

Posted by: ben1978 | January 21, 2009 2:27 PM

Agreed, Warner is what being a football player and a hero is all about.

Posted by: DutchyDC | January 21, 2009 3:01 PM

If Cardinals win Super Bowl-absolutely!!How many quarterbacks have taken two different franchises to championship heaven?

Posted by: sleibowitz | January 22, 2009 11:13 AM

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