Monday, January 11, 2010

The legend of Kurt Warner grows

29 for 33.  87.9 % completion rate.  379 yards.  5 touchdowns.  QB rate 154.1.  In the playoffs.  Against the 2nd best defense in the league.  He had more touchdowns (5) than he had incompletions (4).  He showed complete mastery of the QB position.  If this is his last season, I'm glad he put his ability on display for a playoff victory.

SI's Don Banks brought this to light and I thought it was so interesting.  10 years ago in Warner's first playoff game ever during the most improbable season in NFL history, he posted eerily simliar numbers vs the Vikings.  Check it out:  27 for 33.  81.8% completion rate.  391 yards.  5 Touchdowns.  QB rating of 143.0.  He did throw 1 INT.  Wow, 10 years apart.  A 5 TD performance at the beginning and at the end of his storied career.  amazing.

Back to Sunday's game, up 31-10 in the 3rd quarter, I thought that Warner had secured a victory.  But Aaron Rodgers, who has clearly proved that the Packers made the correct decision in jettisoning Favre, scored TDs on 5 straight possessions.  It was frustrating to see how inept Rodgers made the Cardinals defense seem.  There were missed tackles just about every other play.  Anyway, while most QBs would've folded when their opponents mount such a stunning comeback to tie the game, Warner drove the Cards down twice to score and regain momentum.

Then, to make things worse, Neil Rackers shanks an easy 34 yard FG that would have won the game and Packers won the OT toss.  I thought it was game over at that point.  I thought that the defense had again let Warner down, especially after last year's Superbowl heartbreak.  I don't care if its Joe Montana, how do you let an offense march downfield 5 straight times for TDs?  Unbelievable.

What a fluke ending to the game.  A couple plays before, Rodgers airmailed a 1st down bomb that a wide open Jennings would've taken to the house.  I'm just glad Warner's career didn't end like that.  After a brilliant performance of the ages, the least he deserved was to win.

(I'm pasting what I posted in another blog about Warner here:)

Facts about Kurt:

- Kurt didn't play at the Univ of Northern Iowa until his senior year, when he was named the Gateway Conference offensive player of the year.

- He was undrafted but signed by Green Bay in 1994 to training camp alongside Brett Favre and Mark Brunell. Cut before the regular season, he was told by offensive coordinator Steve Mariucci that he had the ability to play in the NFL, but wasn't ready yet.

- He then famously worked for $5.50 / hour at a grocery store in Cedar Falls.

- He joined the Arena League and was named to the First Team All Arena League in both 1996 and 1997. He also led the Iowa Barnstormers to the Arena Bowl appearances in both seasons.

- In 1998, he signed with the Rams and went to NFL Europe's Amsterdam Admirals where he led the league in touchdowns and passing yards.  This guy is a success wherever he goes.

- In 1999, Kurt became the backup to Trent Green. When Trent went down with knee injury in the preseason, the Rams handed the reigns to Kurt, who proceeded to have one of the greatest seasons in NFL history. He threw for 4,353 yards and 41 TDs with a completion rate of 61.5%. He also led the Rams to a Superbowl victory and was only the 6th player in history to win both the league MVP and the Superbowl MVP trophy in the same year.

- In 2001, Kurt was again named the league MVP and only lost the Superbowl to the Patriots because Belicheat had cheated by using illegal video equipment in Rams' practices in the weeks leading up to the game.

- In 2004, Kurt signed with the NY Giants and had a record of 5-4 when he was replaced by rookie Eli Manning. Eli went 1-6 the rest of the season.

- In 2005, Kurt signed with the Cardinals and initially struggled with securing the starting job. Eventually, he won out over Matt Leinart and in 2008, led the Cardinals to their first division title since 1975. Kurt was also a starter in the 2008 Pro Bowl.

- In 2009, Kurt led the Cardinals to the Superbowl, only losing to Big Ben's miraculous TD throw to Santonio Holmes.

- He's a 4 time Pro-Bowler and a 2 time First Team All -Pro.

- Kurt tied Dan Marino as the fastest player to pass for 30,000 in 114 games.

- He ranks 5th all time in career passing rating at a 93.7 (ranking above Montana and Brady).

- Kurt ranks second all time in completion percentage at 65.4%. (And its not like he dinks and dunks it down the field.)

Kurt Warner is now the 2nd player ever to throw 100 TD passes with two teams. Quite an achievement, if you think about it.  Here's hoping he caps off a Hall of Fame career with another Superbowl this year.

Patriots go down

Wow, it is surprising to see them get destroyed like that at home, in the playoffs no less.  I had predicted a Baltimore upset, but not a beatdown.  Still, I couldn't be happier to see Brady and Belicheat go down embarrassingly in round 1 like that.  However, with Belicheat dumping Richard Seymour right before Week 1, its clear Belicheat didn't think he'd be competing for it all this year.

How bout them Cowboys?

Cowherd said this morning that the Eagles hadn't beaten a winning team all season (minus the Matt Ryan-less Falcons).  That makes the Cowboys victory a little less stunning, but not much.  Obviously, no coach or QB was under more pressure to win coming into the playoffs and Romo showed up for the biggest game of his career.  While some experts are now fully on the bandwagon, proclaiming them the best team in football, I have to see an away win vs the Vikings to believe it.  The NFC sure is wide open this year, isn't it?

Jets Jets Jets, who cares

In the trojan QB bowl, Sanchez gets the best of Palmer.  Big deal, there's no way they get past the Chargers.  I did think Sanchez' dig at Carroll was hilarious when he said that Pete was making the wrong decision and that the statistics were against him.  Funny.  And he's right.  The track record for college coaches in the NFL is beyond horrendous.

Pete is leaving town cause he knows NCAA could sanction sc.  And he knows that his program isn't running as well as it used to be.  So he's bailing.  I wish him all the failure in the world.

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