Keidel: Kurt Warner Won’t Throw Hail Manning

By Jason Keidel
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It’s time for the team doctor to make one more house call to Kurt Warner, shine that penlight in the QB’s eyes, hold up a few fingers, and ask No. 13 what city he’s in. Because if Mr. Warner’s wanting assessment of Eli Manning is any indication, he may still suffer from post-concussion symptoms, which seem to include headaches and player hating.

Before the confetti was swept off the frostbitten streets, and the final echoes of gratitude, humility, and ecstasy drifted out of MetLife Stadium for a final time, Warner – a sublime signal-caller in his own right – said that Eli Manning isn’t a Hall of Famer.

“I fully disagree with that,” Warner said in response to the assertion that the younger Manning brother just cemented his place among the immortals by beating the unbeatable Patriots a second time in four years.

“You know, because I know we put a lot of weight on championships, and rightfully so. But championships are won as a team, and I’m fully convinced of that. You never see one guy — a great player, great quarterback — carry a team through the playoffs and into a Super Bowl and win a Super Bowl that way. I’ve never seen it.”

Then Warner inexplicably pointed to Manning’s 82 quarterback rating, career completion percentage (58%) and interception totals to fortify his odd argument that a man with double Warner’s Super Bowl rings doesn’t rate.

Perhaps someone should remind Warner that Eli Manning was more than just a participant in the Super Bowl. Indeed, Manning was the MVP of both games – with a 103.8 passer rating last Sunday – leading the underdog Giants over an allegedly superior coach and quarterback. And while Warner is correct that collaboration is a resounding theme in pro football, that no one player wins a game, Warner also knows that the quarterback isn’t just the most important position in the NFL, but in all team sports.

Someone should ask Warner how he feels about Joe Namath, who threw 173 touchdowns, 220 interceptions, completed an appalling 50.1 percent of his passes, and finished with a subterranean 65.5 QB rating. No one is saying that the QB of Big Blue is better than Broadway Joe, but stats can’t be the sole criterion.

And we do know that Namath isn’t in the Hall of Fame without Super Bowl III, just as Warner won’t reach Canton without toppling the Titians in the Super Bowl, reaching the same game the next year and then leading the Cardinals to an improbable run nearly a decade later. Maybe someone should ask Warner why he lost to Brady and Belichick despite being two-touchdown favorites, while Eli beat them as two-touchdown underdogs.

What makes all of this so stunning is that Warner knows the game – particularly quarterbacks – better than the rest of us combined. But we needn’t take an NFL snap to see the mounds of evidence supporting Eli Manning. After winning his second Super Bowl MVP, Manning joined Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, and Tom Brady as the only quarterbacks with multiple MVP awards.  What do they have in common? Their final uniforms included yellow jackets. (And no one doubts Brady will have his bronze bust five years to the day after he retires.)

Parse the particulars all you want, include the caveats Warner inserted as he tried to moonwalk from his myopic declaration. But Warner’s assessment wasn’t just wrong; it was rude. Someone should tell Warner that Manning is about to pass him in yards and touchdowns, has already passed him in wins and rings, and, most importantly, would never disparage a peer so publicly.

This isn’t an indictment of Warner as a man because we know he’s a pillar of any community he inhabits, with a family bigger than the Waltons, including a cluster of adopted kids. He’s the football iteration of Rocky Balboa, literally bagging groceries and bouncing between Arena League teams before rising to Super Bowl champion. If you thumb through the dictionary and stop at “American Dream” you’ll find Warner’s visage, the quintessential journey from outhouse to penthouse, a corporeal parable about what can happen when you refuse to abandon your goals.

And despite his dementia, it says here Kurt Warner belongs in Canton. Some of us just don’t get why he doesn’t want Eli Manning to join him.

Feel free to email me:

  • Prof. D

    Kurt did not say Eli would never be a hall of famer. He said it;s too early.\ to say. He didn’t volunteer the information. He answered a question giving an honest appraisal and giving Eli credit for a great season.

    This article was poorly written on purposes. Just to get everyone riled. A gimmick by the writer to get attention.

  • Christie: the Governor that ate NJ

    Jealousy, thy name is Warner…

  • Kurt Spitzner

    I think Warner deserves credit as a quarter back and it has nothing to do with his first name,but he has no business trying to burst Manning’s bubble with ridiculous bs as it just sounds like sours grapes!Walk the walk before you trash talk…sound familiar!!!!

  • Amadeus

    Kurt doing his best Salieri to Eli’s Mozart…

    Jealous jealous jealous

  • Louie


  • Will C

    I guess what gets Warner’s goat, whether he’s aware of it or not, is Eli seems to keep doing what Warner failed to do.

    Led the Giants to TWO SB’s. For the first time ever, take a 9-7 team into a SB and WIN it. Play like a beast outdoors and on the road. Beat Brady/Belichick not once but TWICE in the SB and TWICE in the same season.

    Wonder if Kurt ever asked his wife if she thinks Eli’s cute. Better not, Kurt. Better not…

  • Scott

    EXCELLENT ARTICLE. VERY WELL-STATED and thank you. Warner ticked me off beyond belief. He’s entitled to his opinion, no matter how obnoxiously stated and probably with fake a smile, but he is off-base. Eli Manning deserves a world of praise. This guy got laughed off the planet for stating that he was an elite QB. Kurt Warner was one of those laughing LOUDEST. What does Ei do? He goes out there and wins the effing SB MVP! Are you kidding me? I can tell you one thing for certain. Twenty years from now I’ll remember both of Eli’s SB performances. Kurt? I’ll remember Harrison’s int returned for a touchdown. An Eagles co-worker of mine turned to me and asked, “how’s it feel to have a Hall of Fame quarterback? ” An Eagles fan! Bad form by Warner.

  • Troy

    Hey KW. Shut-up. Look both KW and Tim Hassellbeck were water boys for Eli for a while. It seems both of them did not like it so both qb’s want to take little shots at eli. Eli is a hall of famer weather KW or TH like it or not.

  • Alex P.

    I am a Giant fan so that really ticked me, but Giant fan or not, Warner’s dig on Eli just doesn’t make sense. 1.) Take Brett Favre, a probable hall-of-famer, as a contrast to Eli. I don’t think its even open to debate which quarterback was more clutch and has had more post-season success, which by the way, should be the true test of a quarterback’s mettle.

    2.) How can the Hall of Fame accurately and justly tell of the story of Tom Brady for posterity without the presence of Eli Manning accompanying him in the Hall of Fame. Surely the two Superbowl losses are notable waypoints in his career. And without Eli as a hall-of-famer, it could appear in the annals of football lore that Brady was beat by a pretty good QB with a hot hand. This is hardly how to characterize Eli, who I would describe as an excellent quarterback with a steady record of strong 4th quarter performances against certain hall-of-famers!

  • canesgiants

    i think his tone was a little harsh on the interview. def still has resentment BUT his assessment in terms of being in the hall right now is probably correct. the thing u have to look for in eli’s stats is how his completion percentage has gotten better every year. didnt they say that its impossible to inprove your completion percentage. i beleive eli is still getting better. and when its all said and done ELI will be in the hall of fame.

    • JK

      I respect that view, but why would completion percentage be better than winning percentage? Eli is 8-3 in the playoffs, with two SB MVP awards. If he doesn’t make the HOF with those credentials then he’d be the first.

  • JK

    I think Warner was a fine QB, andy, but there was absolutely no need to say what he said about Eli, particularly the very week he wins the Super Bowl.

  • jeff k

    I’m not going to say Eli is a Hall of Famer or not, I think we can wait and enjoy the rest of his career to find out, but one stat that it seems most people are leaving out including Mr. Warner is Eli has led the Giants on 25 game winning touchdown drives two of them were for Lombardi trophies I believe that makes Eli the definition of clutch and gives him something a little more important then total passing yards or QB rating. Warner also said that before this year he has never seen Eli take the team on his back and carry them. I don’t think all of those game winning drives came this year including his first championship which might go down as one of the biggest clutch performances in NFL Super Bowl history.

    • JK

      Indeed, jeff, not to mention the 15 fourth quarter touchdown passes he threw this year alone – which happens to be an NFL record.

      I don’t get why Warner said this. His timing is awful, at best.

  • andy d

    hey kurt headline news you suck, you sucked as a qb for the g men and only won 1 super bowl. eli won 2 plus 2 mvp. why dont you think before you talk. or is your brain suffering from all those hits you took.

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