Friday, January 29, 2010

No Better Way To Put It: Kurt Warner Forges Beautiful Legacy

He was an ordinary kid stacking cans on the shelves at a Hy-Vee supermarket, and settled for minimum wages to make ends meet for his family. Kurt Warner’s life wasn’t always smooth, having to experience hardships amid tough times when he was seeking to establish an identity. It was difficult for a kid as scouts ignored, failing to grant Warner a chance of showing the world that he was eligible to be named a Hall of Famer in the near future.

From stacking cans to hurling passes, he’ll be known as a kid coming from the middle of nowhere to build a wealthy foundation in the NFL, a dream children are aiming for each day. From shelf-stacker to Super Bowl champion, Warner is the epitome of attempting to follow a goal until the life-long wish is reached. Through a rigid endeavor, there were traces of missing elation, but Warner refused to quit giving chase for a potential shot in the NFL, a worthy shot that will earn him a spot in the Hall of Fame. From earning $5.50 an hour to earning millions in tossing exceptional throws, Warner has accomplished unimaginable records beyond the average quarterback.

What he exposed during an astounding 12-year career is rarely seen among any quarterback. But he was a gifted superstar, earning breathtaking marks like no other. He was a unique breed in which the NFL admired and appreciated, viewing a humble and shrewd individual who treasured the goodness of life. From working night shifts to working Sundays on the turf, Warner finally advanced to a livelihood he desired. Courtesy of the Arena Football League, he fostered when gifted footwork and arm-strength affirmed his potential and ascended his capabilities. In 1999, he took on a greater experience and dream job in the NFL, where Warner was successful by becoming the starter for the St. Louis Rams and engineered the franchise to a Super Bowl win.

It was quite a decade, but a decade later he led the Arizona Cardinals, a helpless team that was never imagined to reach the unthinkable, until advancing to the Super Bowl a year ago before suffering the heartbreaker to the Pittsburgh Steelers. It appears all the extraordinary achievements provide details of a Hall of Fame status. There’s no need to ponder, or take a moment grasping a sense on whether Warner is a Hall of Famer or not.

Common sense tells us he’s a Hall of Famer, a rare quarterback whose presence was valued. Let’s applaud him, embrace him for all he has done in the league, creating a contiguous legacy that lives within the hearts of fellow teammates and retired legends. Let’s understand he quarterbacked two franchises, forging a memorable symbol. All the memories are unbreakable and indescribable, enough to make us say, WOW!

But in the last two postseasons, Warner’s ability of tossing passes with his state of mind and awesome accuracy was unbelievable. On what probably was the biggest emotional afternoon of his life, he announced that all the fascinating seasons had come to an end. He announced retirement on Friday at his news conference in which his family members stepped to the podium and shared the moment. There comes a point in life when athletes must call it quits.

And Warner, 38, constantly worried about jeopardizing his health and faith, ready to share the rest of his healthy life with his seven children and wife, Brenda, who has been very supportive of him during a brilliant career. Still, he had plenty left in the tank, coming off of two seasons when he completed 29 of 33 passes for 379 yards and five touchdowns, possessing more scoring passes and leading the Cardinals to a 51-45 overtime victory over Green Bay.

Oh, there’s more.

In 13 postseason games, Warner has numbers worthy of the Hall. Whenever a quarterback throws for 31 touchdowns and averages 304 passing yards, it’s worthy of the greatest award in sports. Wait, that’s not all. His postseason passer rating of 102.8 is off the chart, the second-best of all-time. He managed to win nine games, with a passer rating beyond triple figures. It’s obvious he has never been huge on finances. If so, he wouldn’t opt to leave behind $11.5 million in what would have been his final year under contract with the Cardinals.

The Iowa native is ready to give up tossing the football, well, maybe not in his backyard, but on the field each Sunday. Ever since Trent Green injured his knee, Warner became famous and a true hero. While producing most of his splendid results as a Ram, he threw for 4,353 yards and 41 touchdowns. Unlike many, Warner was fortunate having solid pieces, and heaved passes to Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce and Az-Zahir Hakim.

Credit Warner for the resurgence of two franchises. Both teams were en route of deteriorating, but he came to the rescue, confirming his legitimacy among NFL teams in need of restoration. He really fitted in, when most doubted that he’d be an elite superstar. Oh, he fooled them. He had an opportunity to shine in which he impressed the world, and stockpiled two MVP awards, five Pro Bowl berths, 32,344 passing yards, 208 touchdowns and a 93.7 career passer rating.

“It’s been an amazing ride,” Warner said during the press conference. “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 to do what he’s given me the opportunity to do.”

For sure, he’s a man of faith and carries a Bible to each conference, humbled and grateful of the improbable runs he conducted. Blessed with the knack to toss passes, he leaves the game with a commendable legacy. For sure, he will go down as one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, just as he’ll go down as the humblest.

It’s good to know he made up his mind and realize health is important. But more than anything, he’s grateful of his accomplishments.

From Hy-Vee to NFL; what a gigantic step for an individual we’ve praised.