One of the fun Super Bowl XLIII storylines has been the Hall of Fame case for quarterback Kurt Warner, the man who once had such a huge chip on his shoulder he initially thought it was just Ricky Proehl.
When thinking of active Hall of Fame quarterbacks, you'd probably mention Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Brett Favre, and perhaps Donovan McNabb. Warner doesn't really factor into one's head until some unknown fantasy football champion pipes up and says, "Hey ... what about Kurt Warner?" Well, holy crap, he does have a pretty good case, if not air-tight. He's already played in two Super Bowls, has one ring, and will start his third on Sunday with a chance at his second championship with as many teams. Those years he languished the Giants pretty much knocked him off the radar of people's minds. But he's there now, and the praise is coming in from all directions.
One such pat on the back came from ColdHardFootballFacts.com's Kerry Byrne, who used the numbers to say that not only is Warner great, but he's greater than Peyton Manning. Certainly it's an unorthodox argument, and he lays it out well.
Well, time to destroy it.
They both joined the NFL in 1998.
In 1998, Manning played all 16 games his rookie year and Warner threw all of 11 passes.
They both spent the bulk of their careers playing in domes, giving them plenty of opportunity to cook up fat, juicy stats. And both were often surrounded by great offensive talent.
So we're qualifying that, all ceilings being equal, the stats are comparable. Remember this.
Hell, both of them played with Marshall Faulk and Edgerrin James.
Ha. Yes, but ... Peyton played with Faulk for one year, his rookie season, while Warner played with James for about one and a half. It's probably another article altogether, but Faulk gets the slight-to-medium edge over, well, Edge, as the better back.
Manning is second in NFL history with a 94.7 career passer rating. Warner is third in NFL history with a 93.8 career passer rating. The two are tight as ticks statistically in the regular season.
Tight as ticks? Well, no. No. Not at all, actually. With Warner getting injured and having to compete with playing time for guys named Matt Leinart in Arizona, Trent Green in St. Louis, and that other Manning in New York, Warner has played in about 60 percent fewer regular season games (109 to 176) and equally as few pass attempts (3557 to 5960).
It's no strike against Warner that he's played less football, but it's a default collection of plusses in Manning's column that he has a better QB rating than Warner in almost two-thirds as many chances.