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Doug Farrar
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Doug Farrar

A FootballOutsiders.com staff writer

Warner Is the Winner

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Donovan McNabb's benching this year was a bump in the road in what has been a mostly stellar career. But Kurt Warner went from Green Bay castoff, to Arena League superstar, to NFL Europe developmental project, to guy off the bench for the Rams when Trent Green got hurt. Anyone not in Kurt Warner's immediate family who thought that Kurt Warner was ever going to do what he did in the NFL before he did it is absolutely lying.

Of course, Warner learned a quick release by necessity in the point-per-minute Arena League game, and having to bag groceries to pay the bills gave him a toughness, maturity, and humility that most quarterbacks never possess. By the time he started running the Greatest Show on Turf in 1999, all necessary aspects had come together in very improbable fashion, and Warner won a Super Bowl and two MVP awards.

The great thing about Warner's story is that he's come back from obscurity twice. The Rams released him in June of 2004, and he spent that season watching his career take further hits with the New York Giants. It was thought by many that his one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals in 2005 was yet another in a long line of signings of over-the-hill "name" players to boost receipts as opposed to wins. But a funny thing happened on the way to Warner's demise. Over the next few years, he got his game back, replaced Matt Leinart as the starter, and competed for MVP consideration through part of this season.

McNabb has shown the ability to escape disaster in the short term, but he can't compete with the Kurt Warner story - a tale so improbable, you'd have trouble believing it if you didn't know it was true.

By Doug Farrar  |  January 15, 2009; 8:20 AM ET  | Category:  Arizona Cardinals , Doug Farrar , Philadelphia Eagles Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Great article, Doug!

Kurt Warner is da man!

Posted by: HardHat | January 15, 2009 3:04 PM

Doug, I agree that Kurt Warner has a great story, that encompasses several teams and leagues, highs and lows, successes and failures. However, if you look at McNabb's story, he had to prove to the vast majority of the Philly fans that he was what was needed to win. I'm not a Philly or Arizona fan, so I'm not prejudiced either way, but I expect the Cards to fold. With Kurt dealing.

Posted by: Kings_Rook | January 15, 2009 6:24 PM

No one can disregard Warner's fortitude in making it to the NFL, nor his perseverence in keeping his career alive, nor the tremendous accuracy with which he delivers the ball.

On the other hand, McNabb never had a supporting cast of Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt and Marshall Faulk, or Larry Fitzgerald, for that matter. He never had a single teammate at an offensive skill position of similar caliber, let alone three, except maybe T.O., for a brief period, and now a frequently injured Westbrook.

For the first half of his career McNabb was basically asked to play two positions: QB and running back. The fans rebelled from the time McNabb was drafted, having counted on the Eagles picking Ricky Williams, and made McNabb pay for a decision he had no part in making.

McNabb is far from perfect. He added to his own burdens by casting himself as some type of a Messiah; he's inconsistent as a passer; he's shown lack of judgment and awareness of the game situation on more than one occasion, dumping the ball off to receivers with the clock running down and no times out, when he should have thrown the ball away.

But as this second NFC title game showdown between McNabb and Warner looms, I will go with Donovan. He still has mobility, still has the strength to shake off rushing linemen to keep a play alive, whereas Warner stands in the pocket like a lamppost waiting for the dogs to come spray it, not a healthy idea when your facing a defense coached by Jim Johnson.

Eagles by 13 points.

Posted by: bfieldk | January 15, 2009 8:01 PM

You're way off the mark Doug. Remember the Rush Limbaugh incident? Donovan has been through some much tougher things than Kurt. Well if you don't count having to look at his wife every morning. How that man can be married to her and still believe in God is miracle. Ok that was really mean, but Donovan faced down racial issues with class and dignity. Give him credit where it is due.

Posted by: shastamcnasty8 | January 16, 2009 1:29 PM

you want to talk about toughness & maturity......i'm not one to play the race card, but was warner ever told he wouldn't be welcomed into a college program as a quarterback but instead would only be accepted to "athlete" positions of receiver or rb as mcnabb was during his recruitment (before deciding upon syracuse because they recruited him as a qb)?

was warner ever the topic of discussion for blowhards like rush limbaugh? look, i at times think mcnabb has taken the race issue too far when trying to distance himself from the "running quarterback" stigma that seems to be more prevalent in his mind than in the minds of his fans. we just want to win. if he has to run 5 or 6 or 20 times a game to accomplish that, it doesn't diminish the victory in the least.
you want to talk about warner making it in the nfl after being cut by the packers, why not mention that the guy was too timid to even call plays in the huddle when he was with green bay during preseason? is it really their fault for cutting a guy who at the time apparently inspired no confidence and couldn't command a huddle?

have people forgotten how terribly warner played in 2002 & 2003? he was cut because he was a turnover waiting to happen and threw the ball with the velocity of a 7 year old girl.
and why does his resurgence from those down times make him a better redemption story than mcnabb, who has dealt with and rebounded from the following;

1) broken his leg in the 1st half of a game (vs the cardinals) & finished the game after throwing 4 touchdown passes. injury cost him the rest of the reg season and helped cost eagles a super bowl birth as he was well less than 100% vs. tampa bay in '02
2) the TO debacle
3) the torn groin/abdominal muscle which he valiantly tried to play through for 3/4ths of a season
4) the shredded knee and extensive rehab
5) the calls to replace him with jeff garcia (and to a much lesser extent, aj feeley during that '02 playoff run when he led the team to a 5-1 record down the stretch)
6) the day in day out scrutiny that comes from the local philadelphia media & fanbase. the one year warner played in a big market with the bright lights (ny) he went 5-4 before being benched. st. louis & arizona compared to philly, c'mon.

give mcnabb the offensive weapons that warner has enjoyed with st. louis and arizona, and keep andy reid from running off the reservation with the playcalling and this isn't even a debate. mcnabb has done much more with much less for much longer than warner. when mcnabb has begun the season game 1 as the starter and finishes it healthy, he goes to the nfc champ game. 5 out of 7 years. that's a fact.

they have completely different backgrounds, but to say that because warner was bagging groceries he's "the winner" i mean good gracious.
E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!!!

Posted by: nyc_flyers_fan | January 16, 2009 4:19 PM

Don't ever under estimate the power of faith.

Posted by: webPHOTOMasterDotCom | January 18, 2009 6:59 PM

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