It was announced this week that Kurt Warner would be inducted into the Arizona Cardinals’ Ring of Honor, which got me thinking about his credentials for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
After all, Warner will be eligible for the Hall next year. Will he be inducted on the first ballot? I look at it like this: We’ve had 67 first-ballot Hall of Famers. Is Warner one of the 67 best players in NFL history? Having led two teams to the Super Bowl and having appeared in the big game three times, I’d say so.
Of course, it’s never that simple. You have to consider the other candidates when the moment arrives. In this case, Warner has to deal with perennial finalist Tim Brown, who is probably due, as well as first-timer Orlando Pace. Marvin Harrison, Orlando Pace and Charles Haley are also strong candidates.
But there are no quarterbacks in that batch and Warner still stands out in a big way. If anything, logjams cleared last year made it even easier for him in 2015.
It’s hard to ignore Warner’s special spot in NFL history. The rags-to-riches story, the Greatest Show on Turf, the revival in Arizona. The guy is the 13th highest-rated passer of all time, and that unreal 9.9 yards-per-attempt number from 2000 was easily the best in modern NFL history. That’s an underrated stat for a guy who could chuck it with the best of them but also walked away as one of the greatest leaders in league history.
He didn’t play long enough to accumulate massive broad numbers, but Warner’s impact in two different cities and his amazing tale should be enough to grant him access to Canton in 2015.