With last season’s NFC Champion Arizona Cardinals out of the playoffs, there’s much speculation that quarterback Kurt Warner, a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, will walk away from the NFL.
For Warner, the most dominant and successful passer in NFL playoff and Super Bowl history, now is not the time.
10. The League needs him. He is a genuine, good man and a team leader on and off the field. The league needs role models and there are none better than No. 13.
9. $11 million. That’s how much he would leave on the table if he walks. Warner’s already set for life, but that’s some good dough for Warner’s children and charities.
8. He’s tougher than ever. Injuries plagued him early in his career and some of the hits he took this season have been nothing short of brutal. But there he was, mid-season, back after missing only one game from a concussion, slugging it out alongside his teammates. In the playoff loss to the New Orleans Saints, he took a wicked hit, but returned. He’s a warrior.
7. The fans need him. After years of experiencing what the San Francisco 49ers fans are now feeling — horror and shame in watching their team play — the Cardinals finally emerged as one of the NFL’s elite teams. Fans finally have someone to believe in. “Warner mania” is running wild in Arizona. That’s a calling. He shouldn’t turn his back on that.
6. The Arizona Cardinals need him. He took a terrible Arizona Cardinals team from obscurity to greatness, leading them to a Super Bowl. If the defense didn’t believe that tackling was optional, and was capable of holding a team under 45 points in the playoffs, he’d be on his way to another Super Bowl this season.
5. There’s another Super Bowl run inside No. 13. No one, not Peyton Manning, not Tom Brady, not Drew Brees, can light up a football field like Warner. At 38, he keeps getting better and better. It’s a thrill to watch him play. A lightning strike to Larry Fitzgerald over the middle of the field is electric.
This season, Warner set the record for the highest completion percentage in a single game at 92.3 percent, or 24 for 26. There’s more of that to come if he returns.
4. He deserves another Super Bowl ring. It would be one of sports’ great tragedies if he walked away now. Super Bowl MVP. Two-time NFL MVP. He’s taken two different teams, 10 years apart, to the Super Bowl. Statistically he is the greatest quarterback in Super Bowl and playoff history, throwing for more passing yards than any other quarterback.
3. The NFC West is his for the taking. It’s a virtual lock that the Cardinals will win the division for the third consecutive season. A few good moves on defense, a couple of breaks, and the team could lock up home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Cardinals shouldn’t have to win four games in the post-season. Lock up home field advantage and earn that first week bye.
The Cardinals and Kurt Warner with home field advantage in next year’s playoffs would be unstoppable.
2. Matt Leinart. “Matt Leinart and the Arizona Cardinals have just won the Super Bowl!” are not words likely to come out of Al Michaels’ mouth.
1. The Kurt Warner legacy. He is the best in the world at what he does, and deserves to be recognized as such. He’s Arizona Cardinals’ franchise, just like he was the St. Louis Rams’ franchise player. What have the Rams done without Warner?
Without Kurt Warner, the Arizona Cardinals are in catastrophic trouble.
Regarding that beautiful family of his: clearly, the NFL cannot and should not compete with the most important thing of all, time with his seven children.
But this is not a choice between career and family. Be realistic. Some dads with children toil in more dangerous careers without the financial payoff of the NFL until they are 50, 60, or even 70. Cops, firefighters, coal miners, just to name a few obvious ones.
This is about destiny.
Picture it: Dallas Cowboys stadium. Super Bowl 2011. Kurt Warner, Super Bowl MVP. His children and wife Brenda surround him on the stage at mid-field. The Arizona Cardinals have just won their first Super Bowl. The fans are happy. Coach Ken Whisenhunt gets his Cardinals ring. A glorious moment that awaits one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.
Kurt Warner, please don’t retire.