Kurt Warner’s days with the Arizona Cardinals


The storybook tale of the Hall of Fame quarterback took a whole new turn in 2005 when he signed with the Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals probably had no idea what kind of quarterback they were signing in 2005. Despite having been to two Super Bowls with the then St. Louis Rams (winning one), Kurt Warner was given just a one-year contract. In hindsight, the $4 million dollars the club forked over in that deal may have been the best money they ever spent.

The Cardinals were bringing in the three-time Pro Bowler to compete for the starting job with Josh McCown. You read that right, COMPETE with McCown to be the starter. How the mighty had fallen in ’05.

But the facts of the matter were that Warner had not played a full season since 2001. Part of the reason for that was due to injury, but bad play by the signal-caller was part of it also. He had turned into a turnover machine when a broken hand he suffered in 2002 made gripping the ball difficult.

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His first season in the desert was nothing special. He did manage to average an excellent 271.3 yards per game passing in 10 appearances. But the squad limped to a 5-11 record, and his contract was set to expire in the offseason.

Still, Warner signed a three-year extension in February of 2006. Then, in April’s draft, the Cards selected USC quarterback Matt Leinart with the 10th overall pick. Because of that, Warner played sparingly, throwing for 1,377 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions.

In 2007, it was apparent that the old Warner was surfacing. A broken collarbone suffered by Leinart opened a door of opportunity for the wily veteran. By the end of the year, the flamethrower had the organization and it’s fans excited, having thrown for 3,417 yards and 27 scores.

A 2008 training camp battle for the starting job was won by Warner. A magic carpet ride all the way to Super Bowl XLIII ensued, with the Cards falling just short of a championship. Nevertheless, Warner’s 4,583 yards and 30 touchdowns landed him in the Pro Bowl, and the team was gearing up for another run in 2009.

Another great campaign in ’09 included 3,753 yards and 26 touchdowns. A memorable showdown with Aaron Rodgers in the playoffs ended in victory, but the season would end in New Orleans the following week. Concussion concerns caused Warner to hang up his cleats in January of 2010.

Warner, above everyone else, was responsible for the Cardinals’ one and only Super Bowl appearance in 2008. He brought to Cards’ fans an excitement they had never known before. For that we will always be grateful, and his being voted into the Hall of Fame is a well-deserved honor.