Revisionist History: Warner’s arrival

Posted by Darren Urban on May 12, 2011 – 3:30 pm

The latest in a series of offseason posts looking back:

We all know what Kurt Warner did for the Arizona Cardinals. We all know the power of his decision to retire.

At the time he arrived, though?

In this first installment of “Revisionist History” (which isn’t so much revising how people should think about a moment for the Cardinals since coming to Arizona as much as reminding them the mindset at the time), a glance back at when the Cards first signed Warner in March of 2005. Denny Green was in his second year as coach. Warner was coming off a benching for the Giants. The Cardinals were coming off a season in which Josh McCown, Shaun King and John Navarre were the quarterback-merry-go-round for Denny.

So Warner was signed. Both local papers compared the decision to the Cards signing Emmitt Smith a couple of years before (“Desperate teams – and desperate players – do desperate things” wrote the Tribune’s Scott Bordow). Remember, Warner only signed a one-year contract in 2005. He re-signed a three-year deal before 2006, and then the Cards took Matt Leinart in the draft, much to his chagrin.

I remember doing a big story on Warner (part one and part two) right before minicamp (that’s a Warner shot from that camp below). There was still much to prove. His halcyon days as a Ram were far behind him, his rebirth with the Cards under Ken Whisenhunt far ahead, relatively speaking. (I mean, I remember how he was showered with boos after the early-season Rams’ loss in 2006. Leinart was the starter soon after, and before the infamous Monday Night Meltdown against the Bears, Kurt was already considering retirement after the season. Can you imagine had he done that, and not had his run in ’07, ’08 and ’09?)

One thing was for certain, Warner still very much believed in himself, and always did, regardless of the circumstances of the team or even Leinart’s showing as a rookie.

A couple of quotes from my Warner opus stand out, especially in retrospect. The first: “It’s kind of my story, the underdog story, no chance to have success. It’s kind of like what I stepped into in St. Louis. I get a chance to rewrite my story and I get a chance to rewrite the story of the Arizona Cardinals.”

There is no question he did.

The second quote? “I am moving my family, I am buying a home and I am believing things are going to work out great. The great thing about it is so much of it depends on me.”

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34 Responses to “Revisionist History: Warner’s arrival”

  1. By Terry on May 12, 2011 | Reply

    Man, I miss this guy so much!

  2. By tom on May 12, 2011 | Reply

    hahaha that article was funny! he was wrong about virtually everything he sad. why did he like mccown that much? i think its really funny at the end when he says llets get to 9-7 first. then sure enough when we got to 9-7 we went to super bowl! thats about all he was right about….

  3. By Pheenic Skii on May 12, 2011 | Reply

    He can still come in at a moment’s notice and play like he used to. That’s how epic he is.

    Kurt Warner-Larry Fitzgerald: Best QB-WR tandem in the NFL.

  4. By mark howells on May 12, 2011 | Reply

    hey darren keep these up i printed both articles hope you keep these going and nice work darren

  5. By Peter in Canada on May 12, 2011 | Reply

    The part 2 article was very interesting. From 1999 thru 2001 Warner took a tremendous beating. People don’t remember that with 4 wideouts and Marshall Faulk running pass patterns left Warner with very little blocking and on a lot of those passes he was hit hard immediately after releasing the ball. He played the 2002 Super Bowl with an injured thumb and in the SB victory the Tennessee defence pounded him unmercifully. He was treated very poorly by the Rams. When he got the concussion in 2009 and was hit hard by the Saints in the playoff game I think he had a sense of deja vu and didn’t want to go through the pain of the 2002-2006 seasons all over again and jeopardize his long term health. Super article Darren,

  6. By Scott H on May 12, 2011 | Reply

    I’ll admit, I was extremely un-happy when the Cardinals signed Warner in 2005. It’s hard to imagine ever feeling that way NOW, but…at that point, he just looked shot. I thought he was gonna be an absolute disaster. And he was pretty close to it for awhile. Needless to say, i’m thrilled that it turned out the way it did for the Cardinals AND for Warner. Though the Cardinals were truly a talented team during 2008-2009, they were NOT a Super Bowl team without Warner playing at the level he did.

  7. By MikeFlorio on May 12, 2011 | Reply

    Young-Rice best QB tandem
    Dont be that guy skii!!!!

    Hey Urb
    What were home prices and gas prices back then??

  8. By sierravistanick on May 12, 2011 | Reply

    I was unsure about him at first. Then when Kurt became the starter I said he’s a great backup…not a starter. I’ve never been so happy to be proven wrong! Everytime I see him on tv I call him “The Ghost of Victories Past”. While he didn’t play very long for us, I think his number needs to be retired. He changed the face of a franchise and did so much for the team and the community. Long live Kurt!

  9. By Blake on May 12, 2011 | Reply

    I never wavered in my belief that Kurt still had it ( my co workers can attest to that as they got tired of me saying he should be our starting quarterback) besides if you watched him in all of those early preseason games with the Cardinals he alway got rid of the ball quickly and still had some zip on the ball. when he was benched by the Giants it was because we sacked him what 4 or 5 times in that game ( thanks Bertrand Berry for the sacks and eventually bringing Kurt to the Cardinals ) plus the Giants had no offensive line , something that we need to correct before we can expect any quarterback to come in and do a good job.

  10. By Haggis Bob on May 12, 2011 | Reply

    What is truly known about the relationship Kurt had with Matt? Was Kurt trying to mentor him and Matt’s lifestyle got in the way? For arguements sake, if that guy had been John Skelton instead of Matt (apples to oranges, sort of…) would Kurt have stayed just to hold a clipboard and see his hard work come to fruition? Or did Kurt see the big picture, knowing Matt was going to be out and he would be left with rookies or maybe some (unknown at the time) vet? I see Kurt as a giving man and not sure if Matty was up to take was Kurt was giving. John (a Fordham grad) seems like he would be a sponge and just absorb all the great positive game winning information Kurt could impart.

  11. By Nick M. on May 12, 2011 | Reply

    The Ravens game in 2007 will always be my favorite when he ran the hurry-up package and that was truly the beginning of the Warner, Boldin, and Fitzgerald Dynasty.

  12. By skeltonfan on May 12, 2011 | Reply

    We going to win in 2011! I believe.

  13. By georgiebird on May 12, 2011 | Reply

    You and I have had our disagreements about Warner but since you asked, here goes.
    When Warner arrived in AZ, most fans were against him. The Cardinals already had Josh McCown, a bigger, stronger, faster and most importantly younger QB than Warner. Many felt McCown was the future of the franchise and Warner was just in the way of progress. Let it be understood that McCown had all the physical tools. Over the past 10 years, McCown has had the three (I believe) biggest Cards passing games against SF- not Warner.
    However, McCown never matured as a QB- between the ears, McCown was no match for Warner. McCown’s progress and career eventually fizzled and he failed not only in AZ but in other NFL cities.
    Warner, on the other hand, had tremendous knowledge of the game but was snake-bit by costly fumbles and interceptions. Then one day, (and Darren here’s were we differ) Warner started using velcro gloves and became the best QB I have ever seen. It’s history that Warner took a very flawed team to within a couple of minutes of a SB victory- and when all was lost, he almost rallied the team again in a last gasp effort. To show it wasnt a fluke, Warner got the Cards into the playoffs the following year, won a playoff game and lost to the eventual SB winners when a guy named Urban made an earthshaking fumble.

  14. By Big Red on May 12, 2011 | Reply

    Skelton will surprise everyone and become, someone close to Mr.Warner.

  15. By Ken on May 12, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Darren how about you give us your thoughts on the way the Cardinals and Steelers superbowl ended. Specifically when the refs ended the game with still a few seconds left on the clock ignoring Kurt’s call for a time out. And we all know what Warner was capable of doing with one play. Its seems no one ever talks about this.

  16. By Darren Urban on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    Ken —

    RE: Super Bowl ending

    I may talk about Fitz’s run-and-catch. But honestly, I’m not one of those who gets caught up in this play or that costing a game. We can talk about timeouts and Holmes’ feet, etc., but the bottom line is the Cards’ defense had the Steelers pinned 88 yards from the goal line with two minutes left and couldn’t get the job done. It’s tough to work up any other outrage when that reality is staring you in the face.

  17. By Jon Believes! on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    1st time posting just because I agree with Haggis Bob. I believe in Skelton and would love to see him play more. I’m an AZ resident yet I get flack for believing in AZ’s team. I’ll continue to watch the Cardinals no matter!

  18. By North Valley cards fan on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    I thought everyone was overly critical of Warner when he came over from the Giants. I don’t think people realized how good he was even with the Giants. Urb, correct me if I am mistaken, but didn’t Warner have the Giants out to a 5-1 record before he got benched for Eli Manning and Eli took that team out of the playoff race?

  19. By Darren Urban on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    North Valley —

    RE: Warner and the Giants

    The Giants were 5-2. Then they lost two in a row, the last being at Sun Devil Stadium when the Cards prevailed 17-14 and the Cards sacked Warner six times. Eli was the starter the next week, struggled as a rookie, and the Giants faded from there.

  20. By NJCardsFan on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    Let’s not forget about Kurt’s performance against the Packers in the playoffs. I know the Cards lost the next week to the Saints, but that performance was the true definition of epic. Kurt was the man, and he was a great philanthropist to boot. Def deserving of a retired jersey.

  21. By James on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    Good idea Darren. If we can’t look forward in the football year, may as well relive the stories of the past. This a great one to start with. It gives hope in the fact that we were in a similar position as we are now when we signed Warner. Will the next vetran QB we sign bring the same results as Warner, or Anderson? Most likely something in between.

  22. By Big Red Fan on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    For what its worth . . . . .

    I live in St. Louis and was at the game that Trent Green was hurt. I was amazed at this nobody Kurt Warner, and was anxious to see if he could win any games.

    I cheered for Kurt even in New York, and felt he still had it – but got in a bad situation with $20,000,000,000,000 paid to Eli Manning.

    When he got signed to the Cards I knew he still had it. No one else did.

    All I can say is that the one time in my life I got to say I TOLD YOU SO!!!! was when Kurt took the team to the Super Bowl.


  23. By Big Red Fan on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    Ken –

    they ended the game early, and counted an incomplete pass as a fumble. Unforgivable. Kurt should have two rings.

  24. By Cardinalman on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    I liked KW when he arrived here especially for his passing accuracy and character but I didn’t think he would be a starter and do as well as he did. You just didn’t know whether he had the physical skills and health to continue. I think the Giants blew it by pulling him and starting Eli, but KW is not a mobile QB and teams with weak protection will always be tempted to pull that type of QB when things are not going well. It happened in St. Louis. Tom Coughlin did make a telling remark when he let KW go he stated that KW was the most accurate QB he had ever seen, lucky for us he didn’t try to keep him and work the problems with the Giant’s protection issues and maybe get more top quality receivers.

    KW did set at least 2 NFL records with the Cards, in the Jacksonville game (2008 I think) he set the NFL record for the highest completion percentage. You must throw 20 or more passes to get considered. In 2009 in the playoff game against GB he threw more TDs (5) than incompletions (4). that record may stand for a long time. Given his age and the physical beating he has taken it was wise for him to go out on top.

  25. By clssylssy on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    What a great article! I remember when Kurt was with the Rams and what a gift it was to get him. If it was just his knowledge and experience taking a team to the SB that would have been worth it. I also remember him being booed off the field (which very few other fans seem to recall preferring to think he was the end all, be all for the Cardinals). At the time, I kinda liked the way the QBs were changed off…seems it got us a few wins and kinda kept the opposition wondering. I know a lot of the fans weren’t real excited when Warner came to Arizona, and they seem to be the same ones who criticize our draft choices and coaching decisions, etc. Sure am glad they are sitting in the stands and not a part of the decision making process!
    I would like to see more “historical” Cardinal articles in the off season since nothing much else is going on, and a lot of fans obviously have just come on board when we’ve been successful.

  26. By navi card on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    Kurt Warner was a legend on and off the field!
    By far, the best quarterback cards ever had.

  27. By Steve Lee on May 13, 2011 | Reply

    call it reminiscing or remembering history. The word “revisionist” leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths. similar to Obama making fun of the border re: moats and alligators.

  28. By seven q on May 13, 2011 | Reply


  29. By Billy Thomas on May 14, 2011 | Reply

    I still think the best quote was, “I think it will be the perfect situation, and it will write the perfect ending to the book.” At the time we couldn’t see it, but you know what, despite losing the Super Bowl, I think that’s exactly what happened.

    Awesome thing you’re doing here Darren!

  30. By adamant on May 16, 2011 | Reply

    I too would love to see KW as our QB coach. The MOST ACCURATE passer I have ever seen imparting his knowledge to whomever we bring in here and to Skelton and Hall.

    Which brings me to a question for u darren…Do u think the CARDS will sign 2 veterans or sign a bonafide starter and keep the 2 youngsters ( Hall & Skelton)??

  31. By Darren Urban on May 16, 2011 | Reply

    adamant —

    RE: QBs

    Skelton is a lock. I think Hall is much less so.

  32. By Cert 33 on May 18, 2011 | Reply

    I agree with Darren, the Cards defense absolutely choked in the final 2 minutes of the Super Bowl. All blame goes there, not to the officials.

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