by Tommy Lawlor
Kurt Warner on Friday announced that he’s retiring. This felt like the real deal and not just some initial PC to get people off his back. Kurt took a beating at times this year and I can see where he feels it is time to move on.
Kurt came out of nowhere to lead the Rams to a Super Bowl win following the 1999 season. He got them back to the big game in 2001, but they were upset by some kid named Tom Brady.
Injuries caught up to Kurt and he left the Rams and went to the Giants in 2004. That must have felt like a completely wasted year. Kurt threw for 2,054 yards, but only had 6 TDs. 6? That is 1 1/2 games for him normally.
Thankfully Kurt headed west to Arizona and got another chance. He took advantage of the situation and played great over the last 3 years. The hapless Cardinals won back to back NFC West titles. They went to the Super Bowl. They enjoyed tremendous success with Warner at the helm.
Why leave now? Kurt goes out “on top”. He played for a winning team at a high level. He started 15 games. Maybe Kurt sensed that his body wasn’t going to hold up next year. Injuries killed him in 2002 and ’03. That was a miserable time for him. Could be that the fear of going through something like that again was key to his decision.
Is Kurt a Hall of Fame player? Yes. He went to 3 SBs. He won the first and lost the other two late in the game. Kurt had a great playoff record (9-4). He posted impressive numbers in his regular season career. Kurt threw for more than 30,000 yards. He threw for more than 200 TDs. His career rating is 93.7. He completed just under 66% of his career passes despite being a guy who liked to throw downfield.
Off the field Kurt was everything you’d want in a player. He was a good teammate. He stayed out of trouble. The religious stuff could be a bit much at times, but the media did a lot of that.
I’ll miss his deadly throws on the dig route that seemed so unstoppable. I’ll miss watching him shred defenses during one of his hot streaks. When Kurt was on he seemed impossible to defend. I won’t miss seeing him take crushing hits. Kurt hung tough in the pocket to give his receivers time to get open. He paid for that every game with at least one bruising hit. I’m happy that I can think of Kurt as a top flight QB and not an old man searching for that final moment of glory.