By Kaelen Jones
The third time’s a charm, right?
Former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner has been named a finalist to be inducted into the 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame class. It’s the third consecutive year he’s been named one of 15 modern-era finalists for inclusion, but will he be included?
Sports Illustrated senior NFL writer Peter King joined Sports360AZ’s Brad Cesmat on Tuesday morning and spoke on whether he believed Warner was going to be enshrined in Canton on Saturday, when the official group is voted on.
“This is one of those years where, ‘O.K., LaDainian Tomlinson, I think, is highly likely (to get in),’” King said. “But, this is one of those years I think the other four spots, I will not be surprised (if) Tony Bisceli, Terrell Davis, Kurt Warner (get in) — I just won’t be surprised no matter who gets his named called this year. And I don’t mean that to shirk my responsibilities for you asking the question, Brad. I truly don’t know.”
King says that he keeps a notebook he writes his personal choices down before going in to vote, and usually gets a few right. He’s not as confident that will be the case this year.
Says King: “This year, I have no idea what I’m going to write down.”
In regards to the three older committee nominations on the ballot — former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, and former Seattle Seahawks Kenny Easley, who must garner 80 percent of a ‘yes or no’ vote to be entered into the Hall — King says he’s just as unsure they’ll be inducted this year.
“My gut feeling is all three of them belong,” he said, adding he feels similarly in regards to Warner.
“I would vote ‘yes’ on Warner,” King says, noting it isn’t that simple because he would vote in favor of more than five members in the class.
“If it’s Warner vs. Brian Dawkins, that’s a real tough one, because I think absolutely think both guys are Hall of Fame players, but then you have to ask yourself, ‘Was Warner better at his position than Dawkins was at his?’” King explained.
“I favor Kurt Warner for the Hall of Fame,” he says. “But I can’t tell you right now that if it comes down to he’s in the 10, and I’ve got to vote for five in the 10, if he’s going to make it.”
Through five seasons with the Cardinals, Warner led a high-powered passing attack which ranked among the top-five passing offenses in the league three times, and finished no worse than 12th. He even led Arizona to its lone Super Bowl appearance of the modern era (XLIII), and owns the franchise-best mark for completion percentage (65.1; minimum 10 attempts).
After going undrafted out of Northern Iowa, the former arena-footballer-turned-NFLer led one of the most storied and unlikely careers in league history. Warner didn’t start a NFL game until he turned 28, but won multiple league MVPs and Super Bowl MVP (XXXIV) with the then-St. Louis Rams, directing one of the most potent offenses in NFL history, “The Greatest Show on Turf.” After being released by the Rams, Warner spent one season with the New York Giants before signing with the Cardinals in 2005.
Warner finished his career with 67-49 overall record in his career, completing 65.5 percent of his passes for 32,344 yards (38th most all-time) and 208 touchdowns (tied-35th most all-time), while averaging 260.8 yards per game (seventh all-time).
The 2017 Hall of Fame class will be announced during the “NFL Honors” broadcast on FOX between 8-10 p.m. ET on Feb.4.