Kurt Warner, Hall of Famer?

In the wake of his third fine Super Bowl performance, the readers write about that and other big-game subjects.

By King Kaufman

Published February 4, 2009 12:00PM (EST)

A good conversation in the letters section of this column's Super Bowl piece Monday. The main recurring topic was Kurt Warner's Hall of Fame qualifications, though there were others.

Let's dig in, shall we?

Big Paulie: Were the two TD drives by the Cardinals in the 4th Quarter enough to cement Kurt Warner as a Hall of Fame QB, in spite of the fact that they lost?

Up till that point, I'd say he had lost some of his HOF luster. But after the last score, he was looking like he belongs.

The Brad: Whether Warner deserves enshrinement ... Should not be decided by two drives in a Super Bowl.

King Kaufman: I've got to go with The Brad on this one. Sure, playoff and Super Bowl performances should carry some extra weight, but come on. A guy's qualified or not for the Hall of Fame based on how a couple of drives went? It's a career honor.

dhadbawnik: Warner for the HOF? Why not. He's done everything humanly possible in the three Super Bowls he's played in. All three have been classics. I say let him in.

mdlewis: I'm not sure even with this game Kurt Warner would have been a Hall of Fame quarterback. He has had flashes of brilliance, but really only three good-to-great seasons, four if you count one that could have been great had he not been injured. Otherwise his career has been riddled with injuries and mediocre play. Great story that should be honored somehow. Not Hall of Fame.

bukk63: As for Warner in the HOF, I mean, seriously? I know there was talk of that in the buildup to this Super Bowl, but wasn't it all just feel-good claptrap? The guy has had a few amazing seasons and has a striking story, but he's mixed it up with some real dogs. Even if the Cards had won, he hasn't had a HOF career. Too much chaff with the wheat, as his type would say.

King Kaufman: What's his type?

h_lance: Take a look at Warner's lifetime stats. Despite a late start to his NFL career and injuries, he's in the top five on almost every possible measure of passing quality. He's been deep in the postseason plenty of times.

King Kaufman I would love to see a comparison of Warner to other Hall of Fame quarterbacks, but adjusted for era. It doesn't mean anything that Warner's raw stats -- even rate stats, like completion percentage -- blow, say, Terry Bradshaw's out of the water. Warner and Bradshaw were practically playing a different sport.

I think comparing the NFL of the 2000s to the NFL of the 1970s is like comparing major league baseball of the 2000s with about the 1920s, maybe even the teens. The changes in philosophy, rules and the physical makeup of the players have been that profound. Adjustments have to be made.

Here's an interesting conversation that the boys of Football Outsiders had on the subject of Warner and the Hall of Fame, though it took place in early October, before it was clear Warner was adding another year to his small collection of great ones.

h_lance: If you deny Warner, you'll have a hard time making a case for a lot of other QBs.

King Kaufman Yes, but that's how it should be.

mdlewis: Can someone explain the fumble at the end to me? We were all screaming at the screen that it was an incomplete pass.

King Kaufman The ruling, which I think was correct, was that the ball was knocked out of Warner's hand before his arm started moving forward. It was still in contact with his hand, which is why it came out forward, but he didn't have control of it.

I think this is a bad rule. It's one of the NFL's overly fine gradations that calls for way too much judgment by the refs. It should be simple: If the ball moves forward, it's an incomplete pass. If it moves backward or laterally, it's a fumble. Period. No tuck rule, no nothing. Just the direction of the ball.

mdlewis: I'm still shocked Arizona didn't challenge.

King Kaufman Can't challenge in the last two minutes. It's up to the replay official in the booth.

FilthyHarry: There was a booth review [of Warner's fumble]. It happened real quick but Al Michaels announced that the call came from upstairs that the play stood as called on the field.

King Kaufman: The league has since said as much. It was the fastest review in NFL history! So why can't they all be that fast, at least when the answer is obvious, as it often is? Even when it's clear what the correct call should be on the first viewing of a replay on TV -- that first viewing, spotted in the press box, is often the reason the red flag gets thrown in the first place -- the review takes at least three minutes and usually more like six.

bchiger: How can you write a recap without mentioning the most egregious bad calls of the game?

King Kaufman: You could say this about every NFL game. I don't agree with your assessments of which calls were egregious, which I'm not repeating here, but aside from that, somewhat random officiating is just a fact of life in the NFL. I don't think it decided this game.

smcgrot: Lots of people (KK included) seem to believe that the NFL is a band of crooks in bed with the betting industry. To not even review the most important play of the night does little to dispel that impression.

King Kaufman: I do not believe that, though I do believe that in the wake of the NBA officiating scandal the NFL, like all sports leagues, should be concerned about appearances and perceptions. As noted, though, the play was allegedly reviewed.

King Kaufman

King Kaufman is a senior writer for Salon. You can e-mail him at king at salon dot com. Facebook / Twitter / Tumblr

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