We’ll start with congratulations to the Hall of Fame class of 2014. Derrick Brooks, Ray Guy, Claude Humphrey, Walter Jones, Andre Reed, Michael Strahan, and Aeneas Williams have finally made it to football heaven. A special salute goes to Brooks, Strahan and former St. Louis Ram Aeneas Williams, players I grew up with the honor of watching,
Now, on to 2015. There are several members of The Greatest Show on Turf who will be eligible for the Hall of Fame next year, including Kurt Warner, Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce, and Orlando Pace. Marshall Faulk awaits with open arms.
The general of the GSOT, quarterback Kurt Warner, is likely to garner the most media attention in terms of whether or not he will achieve football’s highest individual honor. He is the most relevant of the four eligible Rams, as he is consistently on television via NFL Network. Not to mention he played the glamourous position of quarterback for one of the most prolific offenses in the history of the NFL.
Why Kurt Warner Should be elected to the Hall of Fame in 2015
There are several questions that a quarterback must answer with his on-field play in order to gain a permanent residence in Canton. Were you one of the best quarterbacks of your era? Did you win an MVP? Did you win "the big one"?
Warner answers those questions with a Daniel Bryan size yes. His time with the Rams and those red birds turned both franchises around. During those stretches, especially his stint in St. Louis, you’d have a hard time picking a better quarterback to lead a franchise. While 13 was a starter with the Rams, he threw for no less than 3,429 yards and 21 touchdowns, with the exception of his injury riddled 2002 and 2003 seasons.
The 1999 regular season and Super Bowl MVP put up some impressive numbers over the course of his career. He is ranked fourth in career pass completion percentage at 65.5 percent, tied with future first ballot Hall of Famer Peyton Manning and behind only Chad Pennington, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers.
Warner’s Super Bowl season also produced a passer rating of 109.2, the 13th best single season rating ever. Speaking of passer rating, his 93.7 career passer rating is 8th best in NFL history.
His 2001 season, which produced 4,830 yards, is still the 12th best all-time in terms of single season passing yards. His storybook ’99 season yielded the highest touchdown output of his career with 41 touchdown passes. That’s ninth best all-time, behind Manning, Brees, Marino (each of whom accomplished a greater output twice), Rodgers, and Tom Brady.
Warner’s 260.8 passing yards per game over the course of his career is 4th best all-time. The biggest stars in any sport shine brightest during the playoffs. Warner was no exception to the rule. Warner threw for 3,952 passing yards (7th best all-time), 31 touchdowns (6th best all-time), and a passer rating of 102.8 (3rd best all-time) in 13 career playoff games. Hell, I’ll take that for a 16 game season from Sam Bradford!
Oh, and one more thing to consider! This is the Pro Football Hall of Fame, not just the NFL Hall of Fame. Warner was a terror in the Arena Football League, guiding his Iowa Barnstormers to back-to-back ArenaBowl appearances and earning a spot in the AFL HOF.
What May Keep Kurt Warner from a Gold Jacket in 2015
For the sake of arguing, Warner does have a few blemishes on his resume. The last two injury plagued seasons with the Rams were rough to say the least. Add that to the fact that the blueprint to beat the GSOT was well documented and being executed more consistently.
The 2002 and 2003 seasons saw Warner throw for a total of 1,796, four touchdowns, and 12 interceptions in nine games. He also failed to win a game during that stretch. Kurt Warner didn’t return to form until the 2007 season.
For all of Warner’s mind blowing statistics, he only managed to accumulate 67 wins. (I state that with the utmost respect.) In comparison, Troy Aikman and Steve Young have the fewest wins amongst recent quarterbacks inducted in the Hall of Fame with 94 apiece. They also have three Super Bowl rings, respectively.
Warner also had 201 combined interceptions and fumbles.
Kurt Warner’s Biggest Competition
Kurt Warner’s biggest competition from HOF eligible quarterbacks come from Drew Bledsoe and Randall Cunningham.
Bledsoe is regarded as having one of the best arms in the history of the NFL. He is ranked very high in several categories including game winning drives, passing touchdowns and passing yards. He also has a couple Super Bowl appearances under his belt.
Cunningham didn’t set the world on fire in terms of passing yards, but he revolutionized the game outside of the pocket. He was a trailblazer in terms of mobile quarterbacks, racking up nearly 5,000 rushing yards and 35 rushing touchdowns. Cunningham also led a very explosive team in Minnesota with Cris Carter and Randy Moss. I
In my opinion, I do not think Warner will get in as a first ballot Hall of Famer. However, I don’t think he will have to wait long. He WILL end up with a gold jacket. What do you think?