As if Kurt Warner’s seemingly fairy tale career couldn’t get any better, he has managed to lead the Arizona Cardinals, once the “basement team” of the NFL, to a Super Bowl berth. This feat is truly amazing considering the Cardinals history and perhaps it took a special player like Warner to help bring them to this point.
You can’t give all of the credit for this to Warner however. He is just one part of a big puzzle that was put together by current head coach Ken Wisenhunt when he first came to the Cardinals just a few short years ago. Using players already drafted and brought to the team (through free agency) as well as a few newcomers, Wisenhunt put together the team that we see now poised to become world champions.
But he couldn’t have done it without having the kind of quarterback at the helm that he had in Warner. Someone had to take the reins of this high powered offense. Someone had to be able to hit the open receiver 20, 30 even 40 yards down the field. Someone had to be smart enough to see the play develop and find the open receiver for the big gain. They tried this with USC alum Matt Leinart but he just wasn’t able to get it right for some reason. So, they turned to a proven seasoned veteran to help them win games and hopefully, with a little bit of luck, they could quite possibly make the playoffs.
For Warner, this won’t be his first trip to the Super Bowl. Warner took the St. Louis Rams and their high flying “Greatest Show on Turf” offense to the Super Bowl back in the 1999-2000 season and won that game then took them back again, in a losing effort during the 2001-2002 season. He has been here before and knows what it takes to win. Granted, his counterpart Ben Roethlisberger has also been to the big game before as well but Warner has a certain flair about him and a style that inspires his teammates to do better and want to win. And he knows what it takes to win.
There were many experts who didn’t think that Warner and the Cardinals would be able to withstand the onslaught that Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson would bring against Warner and the rest of the offense. If things had went the way that everyone had thought, we would be reading about how Eagles quarterback Donavan McNabb overcame a benching and sub par play to lead his team to the Super Bowl. But this was not the case. The Cardinals offense, one of the most explosive in the NFL yet one of the most underrated, got the best of one of the better playoff defenses in the NFL and helped to give way to the Cardinal’s first Super Bowl appearance.
They couldn’t have done this without Warner at the helm. His ability to play in the system as well as make big plays like he has been able to do since coming into the NFL. As we saw on Sunday, Warner was able to make those critical throws that helped them win the game and stay ahead of the Eagles. It is this kind of ability that will help the Cardinals gain their first world championship. Of course, the Steelers will have a lot to say about that but it’s clear, Warner and his team have the edge in this one.
NEXT UP: Who will win this game and why
Written by Bryan Dietzler