ESPN’s Hoge: Kurt Warner is a Hall of Famer, ‘no doubt’
It’s been seven seasons since former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner took off his pads for the last time in 2009.
For the third time, Warner has been nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and ESPN NFL analyst Merril Hoge told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Tuesday he believes Warner deserves to have his bust in Canton.
“The way that he played, how he played, the length that he played, there’s no doubt he’s a Hall of Famer, no doubt,” Hoge said.
Warner had a long career that lasted for eleven seasons, five of which he spent with the Cardinals.
He signed with Arizona in 2005 and after being in and out of the starting spot he eventually led the Cardinals to NFC West championships in 2008 and 2009, and in 2008 he took the team to Super Bowl XLIII.
Even though the Cardinals lost that game to the Pittsburgh Steelers Warner played well, throwing for 377 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
In his five seasons in Arizona, Warner threw for 15,843 yards, 100 touchdowns and completed 65.1 percent of his throws. His best year with the Cardinals was in 2008, when he passed for 4,583 yards and 30 touchdowns.
But even though Warner had success in the Valley, he began his legacy before he first suited up for the Cardinals.
An undrafted free agent from Northern Iowa in 1994, Warner took the long way to NFL stardom, a trip that had stops with the Arena Football League’s Iowa Barnstormers and even the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe.
Hoge says he saw Warner’s talent when he was calling Arena Football.
“The first time I ever did an Arena Football game the Iowa Barnstormers, Kurt Warner was the quarterback,” Hoge said. “They were down at like the two yard line and his pass was off his back foot and he faded over in the corner. I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh this guy never set his feet and threw the ball.’”
In 1999, Warner got his first starting opportunity in the NFL with the St. Louis Rams, and he didn’t take long to make the most of it. That year, Warner led the Rams to a 13-3 record, a Super Bowl title and snagged an MVP for himself in the process.
With Warner at quarterback, the Rams had one of the best offenses in NFL history, dubbed ‘The Greatest Show on Turf.’ In that span, the quarterback won another MVP in 2001 and still holds several NFL records such as most passing yards in a Super Bowl (414 in Super Bowl XXXIV), being the fastest quarterback to throw for 10,000 yards, and is the only quarterback to throw for over 14,000 yards with two teams.
Hoge believes Warner’s ability to succeed in different places makes him deserving of a spot in the Hall of Fame.
“Won a Super Bowl, great story and then what he did in Arizona, I don’t need to tell you guys what he did there. It wasn’t just one environment.”