Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Mailbag: Claiming Kurt Warner's legacy
By Mike Sando ESPN.com
Al from Kingston, Jamaica: Sando, greetings, mon. Die-hard Ram fan here, probably the only one you'll meet living In Jamaica. My question for you is, am I the only St. Louis fan who gets agitated when the Cardinals talk about Kurt Warner is if playing for their franchise made him an all-time great? Hello! Though he had a few great seasons in Arizona and he may have brought them to the Super Bowl, he didn't win it with them. He won it with the St. Louis Rams. I could go on.
Kurt Warner was successful while playing for both the Cardinals and the Rams.
Mike Sando: Sometimes I'll hear from people wondering whether Warner, if elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, would go in as a member of the Rams or Cardinals. He would go in as neither because the Hall enshrines people, not their employers.
I think there's enough of Warner to go around for two fan bases, plus those St. Louis Cardinals fans who follow the team since its move to Arizona.
Warner did win a championship with the Rams, but his postseason numbers were better with the Cardinals. It wasn't Warner's fault the Cardinals' defense failed to hold the lead after he found Larry Fitzgerald for the go-ahead touchdown pass late in the game.
The first chart breaks down Warner's production by team for regular-season games, based on information from Pro Football Reference.
Kurt Warner by Team: Regular Season
The second chart focuses only on playoffs and Super Bowls. Warner holds the three highest single-game yardage totals in Super Bowl history.
Kurt Warner by Team: Postseason
Mad Mike from Houston writes: As a Hall of Fame voter, how does Cris Carter not get into the Hall of Fame? Doesn't make sense to me. It is about football and the guy is No. 3 all time. Nuts!
Mike Sando: I had the same thought before I was a voter. The voters have basically said he wasn't one of the five best candidates in a given year. Specifically, voters have left him off the final 10. That is a bit of a surprise given his numbers, but a few factors could be at work here.
One, there are some really strong candidates out there. Putting in Carter would mean leaving off someone else. Two, Carter has competition from other top receivers, specifically Andre Reed and Tim Brown. Voters might have different opinions on which of the three is most deserving, and this could split the receiver vote, hurting any one candidate's chances. Three, passing and receiving numbers have become inflated, inviting questions about how to interpret them.
Brandon from Pullman, Wash., writes: I think it's interesting that the Steelers, winners of two recent Super Bowls against the Seahawks and Cardinals, didn't have the luxury of beating up on an NFC West team this time, and had their hats handed to them. Coincidence? Maybe. Is there any precedent for teams beating up on the same division in the Super Bowl?
Mike Sando: I just see no connection. Seattle was a 13-3 team in 2005 and not just a product of a weak division. That team had the best offensive line in the league, a record-setting running back, a Pro Bowl quarterback and some good players on defense. I thought it was a pretty strong team independent of the division.
The 2008 Cardinals were more of a surprise team based on their regular season. I did not think the Steelers beat up on them, though. Arizona led the game in the final few minutes.
Jerome from Mt. Vernon, Wash., writes: Mike, looking at one of your fellow ESPN.com writer's article showing teams' payrolls, the Seahawks are one of the lowest spending teams out there. Do you anticipate an active offseason for Seattle? Re-signing Raheem Brock, while adding Robert Gallery and the Raiders' stud cornerback could really do a lot to solidify our weaknesses.
Mike Sando: The Seahawks have a large number of players without contracts for 2011. That is why the payroll is lower. The number will come up as they add players to fill out their roster. They will need to sign a quarterback, and that will add several million. I do think Seattle will try to be active, but the labor situation could limit its options.
Alex from Lancaster, Calif., writes: Hey Sando, I'm a big fan. Keep doing what you are doing here on the blog. I'm a longtime Niner fan, and every year I'm looking for that one thing that will return us to greatness again. Jim Harbaugh could be it ... but we have thought that in the past about many different things: Mike Singletary, Mike Nolan, Jed York taking over ... and Alex Smith, which brings me to my question: We have had many discussions about what would have happened had the 49ers taken Aaron Rodgers over Alex Smith, but my question is whether the Packers would have won the Super Bowl last night if they had drafted Alex? Assuming he would go through everything the same, I think yes. Thoughts? Thanks, and go Niners!
Mike Sando: Answering that one definitively would be unfair to all involved. Rodgers' has a brasher demeanor and I think that serves him well. I'd give Rodgers the clear edge even though Smith would have fared better had he gone to the Packers.