Much has been made this season as to the resurrection of Kurt Warner and his career and the fortunes of the Arizona Cardinals. Warner was brought in by the franchise at the wishes of coach Ken Whisenhunt’s predecessor Dennis Green. Green felt that with Warner brought in to take the team’s number one draft pick Matt Leinart under his wing and tutor him.
Cardinals’ quarterback Kurt Warner and GM Rod Graves at the team’s walk through at their training facility in Tampa ,Fl . picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Ross D Franklin ………………..
Unfortunately for Leinart his leadership and play has come into question and under a great deal of scrutiny. Leinart the poster child for some of the success at the University of California became short lived upon his introduction into the NFL. He’s yet to prove himself the franchise quarterback that many felt he could be. Analysts in and outside the game were singing the praises of Leinart as to his decision making and talent. Thus far there’s been very little evidence to suggest that Leinart has even matured as an NFL player much less a franchise quarterback upon which an organization can pin its hopes.
The hopes of a franchise if pinned on Leinart most certainly wouldn’t be well served. Matt is far too Hollywood for his own good. He felt that upon his entrance into the NFL things would be just as they were when reigned over all he surveyed. He was given the entitlements befitting that of a king while he played for the USC Trojans under the guidance of their coach Pete Carroll. And during that time the program had unprecedented success with Leinart at the helm as the college’s quarterback.
Larry Fitzgerald the Cardinals’ wide receiver holds his son Devin as the players , families and friends have their walkthrough at the Buccaneers’ training facilty in Tampa , Florida……….. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Frank Pollitto …………………..
Warner for his part did stumble out of the block but his missteps aren’t as acute as those made by the young protégé. Leinart has complained as to his playing time and though not directing any of his displeasure directly towards management or his teammates. He has made his feelings known to the local and national press alike. Though in terms of his temperament it wasn’t merely overly vocal. But then again in a star driven league where a player’s power and stance can all too often bring down the franchise or coach. Though not necessarily in any particular order. We’ve seen it and we’re liable to see it happen again. Thankfully for Arizona they didn’t take the bait with regard to the player’s play. With Warner being installed as the team’s starting quarterback they’ve not really had to look back.
Finishing this ’08-09 season with a 9-7 record they went into the postseason as the winners of the NFC West division. Often criticized as being a team not worthy of being considered a contender . This postseason they’ve come out of the gates like hare being chased by wolf. Much to the surprise of their fans and the rest of the NFL alike. And much of that success can be attributed to not only the play of Warner alone. But also the play of their trio of receivers Steve Breaston ,Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. With spirited contribution coming from a running attack that few thought this was capable of in the guise of Tim Hightower and Edgerrin James. Never mind the fact their defense suddenly also seemed to have found a life of its own. Lamentable through much of the regular season . It were as if during this postseason a beast had been awaken from its long slumber as life was breathed into it.
Warner sets off to make the pass attempt in the Superbowl game played against the Pittsburgh Steelers . picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Ross D Franklin ……………………….
And now with the franchise on the cusp of history with an appearance in Superbowl XLIII at their call. It has to be said that the fairy tale approach being taken with regard to the Cardinals’ rise anonymity within the league is surprising. However the rise in profile with regard to Warner’s ascension back atop of the league’s most effective quarterbacks shouldn’t really have as a surprise to anyone at all. He’s proven himself to be a warrior over the years. Even if it appears that he’s been a wandering troubadour around the league. It may well have been that the surrounding talent was never really up to par at his subsequent destinations after he was cut let go by the St Louis Rams.
It’d would appear that the Cardinals were on to something. And they stuck to their guns. And it has paid dividends for the franchise and its fans. And for the Bidwill family one would hope after all those years of ridicule some legitimacy as to their team’s appearance in the Superbowl will actually mean something . And that it’ll empower them to do what’s right for the franchise and its fans. Not merely what’s right for their own pockets.