Has Kurt Warner Established a Legacy Comparable to Brett Favre's?

Zach ZarembaCorrespondent IAugust 28, 2009

ST. LOUIS - OCTOBER 19:  Brett Favre #4 of the Green Bay Packers and Kurt Warner #13 of the St. Louis Rams greet each other after the game October 19, 2003 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri. The St. Louis Rams beat the Green Bay Packers 34-24.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

As Brett Favre emerges from his second retirement, the press, doubters, and most of the NFL nation breaks out whispers and questions whether or not the 39 year-old still has “it.”

“It” would be defined as the three MVPs Favre won, the 10 Pro Bowl appearances, the seven All-Pro selections, and one big Super Bowl ring.

Favre’s 269 consecutive starts, 169 wins, 464 touchdown passes, 65,127 passing yards, and yes, his 310 interceptions are all NFL records.

The quick, short answer is no.

The 38-year-old Kurt Warner has had an incredible and magical career and is a future Hall of Famer, but sports a resume that falls way short of the one Favre has accumulated.

Nonetheless, Warner has demonstrated abilities and qualities that we all should learn from and respect.

His latest lesson is how to successfully finish a career, a trait that has escaped Favre miserably.

In 2008, Warner started the season as the second string man but was handed the reins midway through preseason when Matt Leinart struggled.

Warner started on opening day and never looked back, guiding the Cardinals to their first division title since 1975, first playoff victory since 1998, and first Super Bowl appearance.

For Warner, it was a welcome feeling he had experienced nine years earlier.

The improbable run Warner and the Cardinals went on in 2008 takes a back seat to the other feats Warner has accomplished.

For Warner, just getting to college was a stretch.

He did not start in high school until his senior year.

Obviously, college interest was minimal and he attended Northern Iowa, a small in-state school.

Warner first came into the NFL in 1994 as an undrafted free agent of the Green Bay Packers.

The Packers already had Favre—as well as other quarterbacks they favored over Warner—and released him after training camp.

This is when Warner partook in his storied job of working in the back of a Cedar Falls grocery store for $5.50 an hour.

In 1995, after a year of hard work, Warner still had no NFL offers, but did sign with the Iowa Barnstormers, an affiliate of the Arena Football League.

In '96 and '97, Warner shined as he led his team to the Arena Bowl in both seasons and was consecutively named to the All-Arena team.

Meanwhile, just north and a little east, Favre was already tearing it up in Green Bay.

Favre was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons, although not to the consent of his coach, Jerry Glanville, who once said on record, “it would take a plane crash for him to put Favre in the game.”

After completing zero passes and throwing an interception on his first NFL pass, Favre was shipped by the Falcons to Wisconsin after just one season.

Little did they know the game’s most prolific passer was about to take off.

In 1995, Favre garnered his first MVP honor.

The next season, he led his team to a Super Bowl victory as the Packers knocked off the Pats, 35-21.

The year after that, Favre and company made another Super Bowl appearance, but lost to John Elway and the Broncos.

This would be the last Super Bowl Favre would play in.

As Favre became a national figure, winning three consecutive MVP awards, Warner had yet to be found on an NFL roster.

In the offseason after the Packers-Broncos Super Bowl, Warner signed with the Rams and assumed third string duties.

He also participated in the European league, where he led the league in passing touchdowns and yards.

In 1999, Warner became the main man for the NFL's St. Louis Rams after starter Trent Green was injured.

Warner posted amazing numbers and became the central figure on an offense nicknamed “the greatest show on turf.”

Warner’s efforts, as well as the rest of the Rams' talent, culminated in a Super Bowl win over the Tennessee Titans.

In Kurt Warner’s first year of starting, he won a Super Bowl and was named MVP.


Warner led the offense to glory for two more years and earned another MVP award.

In 2002, after a terrible start, Warner broke his finger and missed most of the season.

In 2003, he fumbled six times on opening day and was released the following offseason.

After a one-year stint with the Giants, he wound up with the Cardinals, where he would be part of a revolving door at the quarterback position.

Warner, Josh McCown, and later first round draft pick Matt Leinart all contributed to the insecure, injury prone, and poor quarterback play that cost head coach Dennis Green his job.

Warner and Leinart received the bulk of the reps, but both were benched due to poor performance and were oft-injured.

In 2007, after Leinart broke his collarbone, Warner came on to throw 25 touchdown passes in just half a season.

Warner’s '07 success translated into the Cardinals' breakout 2008 campaign.

Since the Super Bowl in '99, Favre’s best season was in 2007, his last with the Packers.

The Packers made it all the way to the NFC title game and had loads of young talent, but it was Favre who threw the game losing interception.

After ending his first retirement, Favre made a stop in New York.

The Jets started out well, going 8-3, but finished 9-7.

The skid cost Jets coach Eric Mangini his job and Favre’s teammates blamed him for the team’s losing and loss of coach.

Favre is now with Minnesota and there are accounts that the locker room is already divided into thirds.

While no one can question Favre’s legacy, heroics, and his overall burning passion for the game, Favre is losing credibility as we speak.

It’s not that he’s almost 40; it’s that he keeps playing a push-me pull-me game.

Obviously it’s a tough decision, but our society is based on decision, and indecision gets you nowhere.

The same goes for being an NFL quarterback.

Kurt Warner, on the other hand, is looking to build on last season’s success.

Warner has demonstrated ability like none other to never give up, always keep trying, and to be ready on a moment’s notice.

Having two of the game's top receivers certainly doesn’t hurt either, but it is Warner who stirs the Cardinals' cocktail, not Larry Fitzgerald or Anquan Boldin.

No longer does Favre have the talent he had in Green Bay, but he did have the chance to stay there.

The Packers gave him a choice, not an order to retire, and then they moved on.

If Favre had listened to his heart a little longer, he may still be in Green Bay and looking just like Warner.

But right now, Favre is doing his one-year sabbaticals while Warner is still earning the top dollar for his efforts.

Please don’t let this mislead you. Favre is one of, if not the greatest quarterback to walk the earth, but he could take a lesson from Warner on how to finish a Hall of Fame career.


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