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Kurt Warner Announces Retirement
Photo – QB Kurt Warner - Cardinals
Arizona Cardinal’s QB Kurt Warner has called an end to one of the great storybook careers in sports and NFL history.
'It's been an amazing ride': Warner stated after retiring after long NFL career on Friday that took a number of unorthodox turns.
The 38-year-old veteran QB announced his retirement from the game after 12 years in the league that included two NFL season MVP awards, one Super Bowl MVP award and 5 Pro Bowl nominations. He came from nowhere to lead the lowly St. Louis Rams to two Super Bowls, winning the first of them.
Before playing in the NFL, Warner played three seasons with Iowa in the Arena Football League and one year in NFL Europe around working as a stocking grocery shelves in Iowa. He grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and played at Northern Iowa as a collegian. Over his incredible NFL career, he went on to rank among the NFL's career leaders in a variety of passing statistics. He was the fastest player in NFL history to 10,000 passing yards and tied Marino as fastest to reach 30,000 yards. He made the St Louis Rams as a backup in 1998 and was thrust into the starting job in 1999 when veteran Trent Green was injured. That began an incredible season that started his career that should earn him a Hall of Fame invitation. Though not a first time Hall of Fame entry, he has all the credentials to earn a place in Canton next to other great NFL passers. His overall performance rivals and surpasses many of the current Hall of Fame passers in Canton.
What is amazing is that he made his first NFL start at the age of 28. He led the Rams to a 13-3 regular-season record that season, then a Super Bowl triumph over the Tennessee Titans. He was selected both the league and Super Bowl MVP. He also has the top three passing performances in Super Bowl history. His 1,156 passing yards in the 2008 playoffs broke the NFL record of 1,063 that he set with St. Louis in 1999.
"It's been an amazing ride," he said. "I don't think I could have dreamt it would have played out like it has, but I've been humbled every day that I woke up the last 12 years and amazed that God would choose to use me."
Warner had one of the greatest playoff performances ever in the Cardinals' 51-45 overtime wild-card victory over the Green Bay Packers on Jan. 10th. In the following playoff game vs the Saints, he sustained a brutal hit in a 45-14 divisional-round loss at New Orleans. It was the last game of his illustrious career.
In a comparison with the 14 quarterbacks to make the Hall of Fame in the last 25 years, Warner has a better career completion %, more yards per pass attempt and more yards per game. Only Dan Marino, Brett Favre and Peyton Manning had more career 300-yard passing games than Warner. In 124 regular-season games, he completed 65.5 % of his passes for 32,344 yards and 208 TDs. He and Fran Tarkenton are the only NFL passers to throw for 100 TDs and 14,000 yards for two different NFL teams. Overall, he has thrown for 32,344 yards and 208 TDs, in addition to winning a Super Bowl and playing in three - two with different franchises. Both franchises, St Louis Rams and the Arizona Cardinals were among the worst in the league, historically before Warner directed them to the title game.
What he was able to accomplish after leaving the Giants was truly amazing. He was mired in a five-year slump and was considered only a backup from 2002 to 2006 when he threw a total of 27 TDs. He rose again to lead the long-suffering Arizona Cardinals to the Super Bowl last year.
He is a committed Christian and man of deep faith who carried his Bible to news conference, walked away with one year left on a two-year, $23 million contract, knowing he still had the skills to play at the highest level. The five-time Pro Bowler was the league Most Valuable Player in 1999, when the Rams also defeated the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV. Warner also was selected Super Bowl MVP. He got hurt in 2000 and wasn't the same player. In 2001, he was magic again, earning NFL MVP honors and The Cardinals He signed to a one-year contract in 2005 largely because no other team would give him a chance to be a starter. Over the next two years, his performance was erratic and when new HC Ken Whisenhunt took over as the Cardinals' coach in 2007, he was the backup to Matt Leinart. He returned to starting duty in 2007 during his third season in Arizona, replacing Leinart. He started 48 of the remaining 49 games of his late career. Over the past three seasons, he threw 83 TDs.
Warner passed for 377 yards in Super Bowl XLIII last year, continuing his tradition of stepping up big in playoff games.
Most passing yards in Super Bowl history
Player / /Team / Yards / Super Bowl
Kurt Warner / Rams / 414 / XXXIV
Kurt Warner / Cardinals / 377 / XLIII
Kurt Warner / Rams / 365 / XXXVI
Donovan McNabb / Eagles / 357 / XXXIX
Joe Montana / 49ers / 357 / XXIII
Kurt Warner’s Career
Statistic / Regular season / Playoffs
Record / 67-49 / 9-4
Completion % / 65.5 / 66.5
Passing Yards Per Game / 258.8 / 304.0
300-Yard Games / 52 (of 125) / 6 (of 13)
Touchdown Passes / 208 / 31
Interceptions / 128 / 14
Passer Rating / 93.7 / 102.8
Warner said he plans to spend time watching his children grow up, do some preaching and perhaps get into football broadcasting. And he knows what he wants his legacy to be.
"It's not the way I threw the football, it's not particular games that I won, but that they remember that here's a guy that believed, that worked hard," Warner said. "Although things didn't always go in his favor, he continued to press through, and with his faith in himself and his faith in God, he was able to accomplish great things."