One perspective on Cards’ all-time QBs

Posted by Darren Urban on June 3, 2011 – 1:26 pm

Football Outsiders has put together a list of the top five quarterbacks all-time for each of the four NFC West teams. Here is their list for the Cardinals:

  1. 1. Jim Hart
  2. 2. Kurt Warner
  3. 3. Neil Lomax
  4. 4. Charley Johnson
  5. 5. Jake Plummer

Interesting that Hart would be above Warner, but their reasoning is a longer resume for Hart, and that’s not unfair. Kurt was great in 2008 and 2009. In 2007, he had good stats, but I would tend to agree with FO, it didn’t always seem to totally translate that season, at least not as well as the next two years. And pre-Whiz, Warner’s years under Denny Green were like everything else under Green — all over the map (plus, in 2006, Warner played poorly and was benched most of the season).

Hart was the leader of that mid-70s team that was the only real bar set for the Cardinals in terms of success. His stats were solid given the era. Lomax would have been higher on the list had he not had the hip problem that doomed long-term success before he even reached the NFL. Johnson was the guy in the team record book who kept getting pushed aside by Warner. And Plummer, well, he led the amazing 1998 playoff run but in the end, sputtered before he left.

In all, rankings that seem accurate. Of course, it’s always up for debate. It’d be tough to battle anyone who wanted to swap Warner and Hart.

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39 Responses to “One perspective on Cards’ all-time QBs”

  1. By cfansinc75 on Jun 3, 2011 | Reply

    I think Lomax would have been great, had he stayed healthy.

  2. By D on Jun 3, 2011 | Reply

    What, no Kent Graham, Stoney Case, Jim McMann, Jeff Blake or Boomer –I am shocked

  3. By Peter in Canada on Jun 3, 2011 | Reply

    I agree entirely. Kurt had two years with us that were far in excess of what Hart did but Hart had a lot of good years for the Cards. The Cards were a good team under Hart but at the end there were either the Browns or the Giants edging them out because there was only one playoff game. I do remember that in the sixties just before the merger they had something called the playoff bowl where second in the west played second in the east. In one of those games the Cards beat the Packers. Unfortunately that was as good as it got. The bottom three were all good QB’s but not at the level of the top two.

    Very good stuff which keeps us interested in the absence of positive news.

  4. By D on Jun 3, 2011 | Reply

    or Jay Schraeder, Steve Beuerlein, Dave Krieg

  5. By Peter in Canada on Jun 3, 2011 | Reply

    One more point. Even though his best years were before my time I think Charlie Trippi should have been given honourable mention. He is a hall of famer but spent time on defence and RB as well as QB which probably hurt his rating.

  6. By Richard S. on Jun 3, 2011 | Reply

    Where does Terry Nofsinger rater? I remember him actually beating the Steelers in a 6-3 romp.

  7. By Nikolicardsfan on Jun 3, 2011 | Reply

    I would have put Trippi and Tim Rosenbaugh ahead of Plummer. Rosenbaugh had the same thing going as Lomax and that was injury problems. He could have been great.

  8. By AndyStandsUp on Jun 3, 2011 | Reply

    No qualms.
    Just a statement that I think Plummer was a seemingly underrated QB.

  9. By BigRedFan on Jun 3, 2011 | Reply

    Hart belongs in the HOF. Had he played for a winning team, he would be. But kurt is kurt.

  10. By brad oneill on Jun 3, 2011 | Reply

    It seemed to me at the time that plummer was playing all by himself. At the time the organization seemed to run under the theory that if we keep a couple of crowd favorites around we can sell tickets. I believe the team now plays under the theory that winning generates more money than it costs and is therfor a worthy goal.

  11. By Fitz4mtrushmore on Jun 3, 2011 | Reply

    If u want 2 go on true stats & winning I think Charley Johnson was the best in big red history! The Cards had some winning season under Johnson, but w/o the wild card & the browns & pack in there heyday it was difficult to get a playoff berth. With that said here’s my rankings & I was a huge baby face Hart fan:

  12. By georgiebird on Jun 3, 2011 | Reply

    Let’s put one thing on the table as we analyze the 5 QBs- the Cards defense was bad to horrible during this 50 year period so in effect all these guys could have won more.
    Warner was definitely the best QB of the group because he won playoff games. Hart, Johnson and Lomax were excellent passers but none could run. Hart and Johnson played with excellent offensive lineman but still couldn’t win big games. Lomax played with decent offensive lines but as you mentioned, he had an injury plagued career.
    If I had to win one game, Warner, Johnson, Lomax, Plummer, Hart.
    Hart is a classic longevity guy-he would have been a good one if he was mobile.
    Hart and Lomax threw the most beautiful long passes, and regardless of the won loss record, Hart to Mel Gray and Lomax to Roy Green were as good as it gets in the NFL.

  13. By Mark on Jun 4, 2011 | Reply

    I really enjoyed this story on our QB’s!! I agree with the order and the top five QB’s. Jim Hart was by far the best, and even played on some really bad teams, yet made them competitive. Warner did the one feat we are were all looking for-a Super Bowl, with Playoff wins! Lomax and Johnson both provided excitement, and many victories, as well as some heart aches. Plummer had the Wild Cards in the 98 playoffs, and offer a big victory over the Cowboys, which will never be forgotten!! Great piece on our QB history!!

  14. By Scott H on Jun 4, 2011 | Reply

    I get the perspective thhat Warner’s span of “greatness” was shorter than that of Hart’s. But I still put Warner at the top of the list for these reasons – first, regardless of how long he was truly at his best, when he WAS at his best, he was the best QB on that list. Second, he is the only man on the list – or any other – to take the Cardinals to the heights of a Super Bowl.

  15. By John the draft guy on Jun 4, 2011 | Reply

    Cant say I ever saw Hart or Johnson.

    Lomax was the best and worst thing to come to Arizona. What I mean is, the cards were poised to be competitive and when Lomax got hurt, it left the cards scrambling for 10 years till Plummer.

    I once saw Plummer throw a pass backwards to an offensive lineman in his own endzone. Ouch. He did give us some great moments too. Like 1998.

    Although Warner only gave us 2 great years, man they were great. The Cards in a Superbowl?? Are you kidding me? After all those 4-12, 5-11’s I sat through??
    That year alone makes him the best Card QB ever.

  16. By Darren Urban on Jun 4, 2011 | Reply

    John the draft guy —

    RE: Backward pass

    Jake indeed did throw a backward pass once against the Raiders. But the one in the end zone — in San Francisco — was executed by Josh McCown (“intended” for L.J. Shelton, no less) at the end of the 2003 season.

  17. By john w. on Jun 4, 2011 | Reply

    It’s all about Josh McCown and Stoney Case… and Tim Rattay.

  18. By john w. on Jun 4, 2011 | Reply

    Stoney Case was the greatest ever. He was the greatest of all.

  19. By Rick Saucedo on Jun 4, 2011 | Reply

    Three words… Jack, Jack, Jack

  20. By dan on Jun 4, 2011 | Reply

    What about Stan Gelbaugh? LOL! Actually, I thought Chris Chandler was pretty good. Guy had a lot of heart, just no offensive line. Man, he took some wicked shots.

  21. By Poopha on Jun 5, 2011 | Reply

    Nice picture. Looks like very early 70’s. Guessing it’s against the Oilers. Old silver helmets. Maybe 1970 44-0 blowout.

  22. By John the draft guy on Jun 5, 2011 | Reply

    Are you sure Jake didn’t do it at Sun Devil Stadium in the North endzone? I might be mistaken but I could swear Jake did it also. Was it inside the 5 yrd line then?

    Of course, watching games in 115 degree heat on cement bleachers, melting together with the guy next to you, while the cards pull out another 5-11, can mess with your memory.

  23. By Darren Urban on Jun 5, 2011 | Reply

    John the draft guy —

    RE: Plummer

    I am pretty sure the play you are talking about was against the Raiders. It was on the north end zone side and deep in Az territory. But not in the end zone. He also flipped it behind his back, like a fancy Steve Nash pass. Usually you try to avoid those in football.

  24. By Mike Ellingboe on Jun 6, 2011 | Reply

    @Scott H,


  25. By cards62 on Jun 6, 2011 | Reply

    Jim Hart was my favorite and I still have his poster along with Terry Metcalf. Our defense was not good in those days, but I do remember the 2 playoff games in 75 and 76. We lost to the Vikings and Rams and we did not play well as a team, and Jim Hart did not play well. I believe in the Rams game he even threw an interception to a line man that returned it for a touchdown. One year I believe 76 we started the season 7 – 0 and were the last team to lose a game that season.
    How I love the memories, but if I had to pick one QB from our history to win me a playoff game it would have to be Kurt Warner. I think we had a better offense in 75 and 76 with Don C. as head coach, then we did during our Superbowl run, and to see Kurt Warner lead those teams 75 & 76 I think would have been awesome.

    Do any of you guys remember our first round draft choice at QB from Missouri. Sorry but I will butcher the spelling of his last name, Steve Piscarowicz.
    Darren what ever happened to him? Did he play for any team other than the Cardinals?

    GO Cards

  26. By Darren Urban on Jun 6, 2011 | Reply

    Cards62 —

    RE: Steve Pisarkiewicz

  27. By CZarr on Jun 6, 2011 | Reply

    I never got to see Hart play as I was born in ’82, but the man can definitely deliver a football. Here you’ll find a link to a tribute of sorts, it also contains a few highlights for people like me who’ve never seen the man play. Its mostly bibliographic though.

  28. By joe67 on Jun 6, 2011 | Reply

    Cards 62
    1974 we started out 7-0. Ended 10-4. Was Coryell’s 2nd year. Cards had gone 4-9-1 three successive years. (2 under Bob Holloway, and one in coryells first year) Got beat by a good Vikings team up there. We were outmatched but made a game of it. (I think 27-14, but can’t swear.)
    Met Jim Hart a couple times. SUPER NICE GUY. Great role model for kids.
    Coryell came in, looked at tape and said “I have my q-back”. Didn’t care about mobile qb’s, he always said it was there job to throw the ball, we have others to run it. When you have a O-Line like the “Mean Machine” was, you can feel that way.
    In 75-76 we were about 3 OR 4 defensive players short of being a GREAT TEAM.
    Great Memories!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. By Steve Nealy on Jun 6, 2011 | Reply

    I grew up idolizing Jim Hart and the Cardinals. Met him during the strike in 1974, outside University of Illinois stadium when I was 9 prior to a Bears preseason game. The Cardiac Cardinals of that era were never out of a game with Hart at the helm (and the accurate Jim Bakken kicking)… Not until Jake Plummer’s ’98 heroics had I seen a Cardinals team worth watching again.

    Jim Hart is, in my mind, the all-time Cardinals QB.


  30. By Greg Mitchell on Jun 6, 2011 | Reply

    For 17 years Jim Hart was the face of the St. Louis Football Cardinals. He is a terrific role model both on & off the field. He is also a real tough guy, battling numerous injuries & set-backs that comes with the territory of being a NFL Quarterback. I grew up in St. Louis during those years in the 1960’s & 1970’s, & he really meant a lot to us in the community, as did the whole team. I really believe that he belongs in the NFL Hall of Fame. Because of him & many others, I am still a St. Louis Football Cardinal Fan. Thanks for the memories, Jim!

  31. By Scott H on Jun 6, 2011 | Reply

    Just repeating myself but when all is said and done, only one QB has ever led the Cardinals to a Super Bowl – Kurt Warner. In my 35-plus years as a fan, that is the highest point this team has ever reached. Kurt Warner made it happen. He definitely tops my list, no matter who else is in the running.

  32. By CZarr on Jun 7, 2011 | Reply

    I’m not sure that was just Kurt. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying he wasn’t a major part of our success that season, but you have to keep in mind the play calling and offensive structure that year was superb. Todd Haley is a head coach now for a very good reason, and a successful one at that. I would attribute our Super Bowl year more so to design than execution, but obviously if you have either without the other, it does no good.

  33. By cards62 on Jun 7, 2011 | Reply

    Czarr Thanks for the utube on Hart. I watched some of it, but it just kept stopping on me, I agree that Jim Hart is the all time Cardinal QB, and I will go to Canton for the ceremony if he is ever elected to the HOF, but I still say if I need to win a playoff game and you will let me have any of our QBs I want Kurt Warner under center. You are right Kurt did not do it alone, but Jim Hart had a great offensive minded coach in Don C. better than Todd H. and Ken W. in my book on offense, but not much of a defensive coach. Hart had a way better I mean a way better line than Warner and we could actually run the ball with Metcalf and Otis. Heck I believe we had a backup running back named Jones maybe Steve Jones who ran for like 300 or 400 yards one year with like a 5.0 average. Now this is all memory on my part, and someone corrected me as our glory years were 1974 and 1975 and I believe Don C. went 8 – 8 the next year, 1976 and we fired him and he went to San Diego and did great things with air Fouts.

    Darren thank you for the Steve P. link. If I remember correctly a lot of football experts laughed at us when we drafted him.

    Darren is my memory correct. Didn’t Jim Hart announce games for the Chicago Bears? Glad to hear that Jim Hart was so well liked by the fans of St. Louis and that he was a good guy and a good role model. Did Jim Hart ever work for the Cardinal organization after he retired from playing?

    Thanks to everyone for the memories

  34. By Darren Urban on Jun 7, 2011 | Reply

    Cards62 —

    RE: Hart

    Not sure what Hart did right after retiring, although that video said he became AD of his university for a long time.

  35. By cards62 on Jun 7, 2011 | Reply

    Guys it was bothering me so I went back and looked up our old records. Sorry I cheated us and Don C. out of a glory year we actually went 10 – 4 in 1974, 11 – 3 in 1975, 10 – 4 in 1976 and 7 – 7 in 1977.

    Jim Hart threw 209 TDs in his career and 247 interceptions. His QB rating for his career was 67 and I think his highest year it was 82. The game of course was different back then, but I just do not think these are HOF numbers for that era.
    Sorry to deliver bad news I like Jim Hart and he is our QB.

    Go Cards

  36. By DoblerFan on Jun 7, 2011 | Reply

    Watching Jim Hart and his killer line was my intro to the NFL. Baseball soon became #2. Ever since, the Cardinals have been causing me relentless stress. I guess I love stress. I think you got the list just right.

  37. By DocBJ on Jun 7, 2011 | Reply

    While I love Kurt, I have to agree with these rankings. Lomax could have done more if his hip didn’t force him inot retirement. Today, he probably could have got a hip replacement in the offseason and been back at the next training camp.

    And for those Timm Rosenbach lovers (who can’t spell his name right), please remember that he didn’t retire due to injuries (though he did have back problems). Instead, he quit to be a cowboy (no joke) because he didn’t want to play football anymore. He left the team high and dry before his rookie contract expired. He doesn’t belong in the top five, but rather as a dishonorable mention in the bottom five.

  38. By Scott H on Jun 7, 2011 | Reply

    CZarr –

    No, Kurt didn’t do it himself. A combo of coaching and a very talented group of players ( many of them playing at their best right at that time ) came together to make it happen. BUT I will state my opinion that Kurt Warner was THE one piece of that pie that we could not have done without. Leave everything else in place, take warner out of the picture and plug in another QB…does it still play out the same? I don’t think so.

  39. By wny card fan on Jun 8, 2011 | Reply

    As someone else said, my intro to pro football was watching Hart thorw that ball. I loved that guy (starting in 2nd grade) he was the MAN. He started me loving the Cards, no doubt. HIs tenure was incredible. Kurt was 2nd, he was just too awesome. The rest make a good list. Go Cards

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