Since the Arizona Cardinals traded for Carson Palmer this offseason; avid Cardinal fans cannot help but continue to try to compare Palmer to their cherished quarterback, the great Kurt Warner. After all, there simply have not been many great moments in Cardinal history, so those moments will forever be cherished in their hearts.
These cherished moments reached its peak (2008-2009) when Warner and the Cardinals took the fans on a Super Bowl run for the ages. It was a run their fans had never seen the likes of before. It was a run in which (finally) gave the Cardinals and their fans hope that their home town football team has changed its long and painful culture of losing.
Cardinal fans hope that finally their long painful history of losing is a thing of the past. The hope their team has finally turned the corner to respectability. They’re hoping that Bill Bidwell’s son Michael (now running the day-to-day operations) is finally changing the culture in the desert. Giving fans the belief upper management is finally doing everything they can (now) to put a winning product on the field.
Now that fans have had a taste of what it feels like to have a winning product in town, it is only natural to want the winning ways to continue. So on the surface; for me it really is easy to see why it’s not too difficult to compare Palmer to Warner.
With Warner at the helm fans got a brief moment (a taste) of what it’s like to have a franchise quarterback. Redbird fans now know with a true franchise quarterback at the helm, it can change the entire fortunes of a franchise.
Therefore after a brief taste with Warner at the helm (2007-2009), Palmer reminds fans of Warner in so many ways. However, at the same time there are also many ways in which they do not compare with each.
Ways in which Palmer and Warner do compare: They both have had much success on the field. They both made the Pro Bowl multiple times. They both have taken under achieving franchises to the playoffs, by seemingly putting the team on their backs.
Furthermore, they both have career passer ratings of more than 85. They both have multiple years of 25 touchdowns or more. Career numbers of over a 62 completion percentage and after this season both will have more than 200 touchdowns for their career.
We can keep going on and on comparing them both that truly intrigues Cardinal fans. However, here is something that really intrigues me; in the grand scheme of it all, it may not mean anything. However, here is a little intriguing fun fact that should help Cardinals fans look forward to the upcoming season.
Both Palmer and Warner are (were) 33 years old when they became a Cardinal. This is Palmer’s third (3) franchise just like Warner when he became a Cardinal and of all things they both happened to have (had) a number 3 on the back of their jerseys (Warner had #13 and Palmer has a #3). This may seem a bit corny but never the less it truly gives fans the hope that just maybe the number three (3) is a charm.
On the other hand, here are ways in which Palmer and Warner do not compare with each other:
They both actually grew up on opposite sides of the tracks so to speak.
Palmer was the so-called golden boy from California and was heavily recruited out of high school. After deciding to go to well-known national power house USC Trojans, he then became a Heisman trophy winner, becoming the big guy on campus at one of the best football schools in the country. After 4 great years at SC, he then became the first overall pick in the NFL Draft.
On the other hand, Warner from Iowa could not even sniff (find) a major college program that wanted him out of high school. Warner then had to walk on at Northern Iowa and couldn’t even get on the field until his senior year, where he finally got his big opportunity.
After having a terrific senior year at Northern Iowa, it still was not enough to draw any national attention. Warner was then undrafted out of college. He then attempted to try out for the Green Bay Packers but could not draw enough interest to make the club.
After college and not making an NFL roster, at one point, Warner started working at a grocery store “bagging groceries”. His chance of ever playing football again apparently was over and seemed grim; until he received a phone call from the Iowa Barnstormers arena football team.
After that path changing phone call from the Barnstormers; this was where his fortunes changed for good. Warner then absolutely lit up the Arena league, setting numerous Arena league records and drawing interest from the St Louis Rams who then gave him his big chance. From there, like they say, “the rest is history”.
As we all now know, Warner became a Super Bowl Champion, a Super Bowl MVP and winning the NFL MVP twice. Warner also took two different franchises to the Super Bowl ((the Cardinals and the Rams).
So as you can see, there are many similarities between the two QB’s and yet there are also many differences between the two. However, the overriding factor will be; can Carson Palmer continue to compare to Kurt Warner on the football field with the Arizona Cardinals? Can he seize the moment? Can he put the Cardinals back on the map? Can he carry the Redbirds on his back and make a playoff run and perhaps get them to another Super Bowl like Warner did? Will #3 prevail and produce for the Arizona Cardinals?
Perhaps the #3 will be the lucky number for this year’s Cardinals.
Well we will soon get to find all this out, starting in the preseason in about three weeks.