Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Kurt Warner and the Hall of Fame

This topic has been addressed on several media outlets over the past few days, so I may as well weigh in. Is Kurt Warner a Hall of Famer? My short answer is, no. Before I explain this, I'd like to extol the virtues of Warner a bit since I have a tremendous amount of respect for the man. First, his meteoric rise to MVP and Super Bowl Champion is the stuff of cheesy, movie-of-the-week schlock. You can't make this stuff up. That speaks to his resolve as a person and his work ethic. Second, he is one of the most accurate passers I've ever seen. He ranks number two all time in completion percentage. He is also first all time in yards per game. Peyton Manning is second. He's always had a knack for playing well in big games and possesses a mental and physical toughness that I love. Not to mention he is one of the great people of the game. His charity work is well documented.

My favorite story about Warner is about a little tradition his family has when out for their pre-game meal on Saturday nights. The Warner family scans the restaurant for another family having dinner. Once they pick out this family at random, they anonymously pay for their meal. He says he does it to remind his kids how fortunate they are and to instill the value of generosity in them.

Unfortunately, Warner hasn't had enough good seasons and hasn't stayed healthy enough to be HOF worthy in my eyes. In his eleven years in the NFL, he's had five good ones. The interesting part is that four of the five have been transcendentally good netting two MVP's and three Super Bowl appearances with one win to this point. In 1999, he produced the third 40 TD pass season in history. In 2001, he threw for the second highest yardage total in NFL history at that point (that season now ranks third).

However, the other six seasons were curtailed by injury and ineffectiveness. A future Hall of Fame QB is not a journeyman who is constantly looking over his shoulder and fighting for his job. In 2002, he was benched for Marc Bulger after throwing 3 TD's and 11 int's in seven games. In 2004, he was benched for rookie, Eli Manning. This season was the first season he's played 16 games since 2001.

If Warner wins the Super Bowl in two weeks, I think he will most likely be elected to the HOF eventually. (He would be the first QB with Super Bowl wins with two different teams). The Football HOF places too much emphasis on rings the way that the Baseball HOF places too much emphasis on statistical benchmarks. If Warner had a more consistent career and had been perennially good instead of possessing a handful of brilliant moments, I think he would be a slam dunk Hall of Famer. That said, I wouldn't complain if he got in. It couldn't happen to a nicer guy.


Dennis said...

He will make the hall of fame with no suspense. The football hall of fame is a joke, I am surprised we are even mentioning it. When was the last time you heard any debate about a place that has a minimum number of players that MUST get in every year.

Dan said...

Yeah, I don't like that at all. I will say this though, the voting for the PFHOF is more difficult than other sports. There are so many more players and so many more positions that are entirely different from one another.