Anybody who knows me knows there are two things I hate pretty much above everything else: white quarterbacks and Jesus. It isn’t that I hate them in and of themselves…there are some white QBs I’ve loved (where have you gone, Jim McMahon) and Jesus seems like he might have been a pretty cool guy to share a joint with. But their followers are completely out of hand, and is the real cause of my animosity. Call it the Peter King/Pat Robertson effect.
So, it’s pretty surprising that I actually find myself a bit bummed about the retirement of Kurt Warner. I mean, he is as white as they come, and is probably the most outspoken NFL player of the past decade when it comes to loving Jesus. If the Cardinals had won the Super Bowl last year, I wouldn’t have been surprised if his MVP acceptance went something like this:
I mean, Kurt Warner loooves Jesus; the only thing he likes more is telling people how much he loooves Jesus. He carried a bible into post-game press conferences for fuck’s sake. He thanked God at the drop of a hat. I wouldn’t be surprised if he claimed every parking space in Jesus’ name, and I’d be willing to bet that he has read all 16 Left Behind books (but who hasn’t, really…oh that’s right, Jews and Heathens). At the beginning of his retirement press conference, the first “person” (his words) he thanked was God, for making him a vessel through which to spread The Word (this was before he introduced his wife and seven kids…at least we know he practices what he preaches vis a vis being fruitful and multiplying). In Kurt Warner’s mind, his entire remarkable story happened so that he could better spread the word of God.
I should hate him like poison. And yet I don’t, especially when compared with a Peyton Manning or Brett Favre. His overt, public religiousity doesn’t even bother me nearly as much as I’d think it would. Maybe the reason is the shear unbelievable nature of his story. I mean, he went to Northern Iowa, not exactly a hotbed of NFL talent. When he came out of college undrafted and didn’t catch on with the Packers after a training camp invite, what were the odds that he’d ever even play in the NFL? .00001%? Then to somehow prove yourself as a decent prospect in the Arena league and NFL Europe, so you’re able to become the backup on a bad team? And after the starting QB’s season is ended in the preseason, and you step in and head the most prolific offense in history? I might start to believe in beings in the sky too.
But I don’t think I would hold him in such high regard if it wasn’t for the past few years in Arizona. He gets run out of St. Louis by Marc Bulger, and can’t hold the starting job with the Giants for a whole season before he’s supplanted by the untalented Manning brother (and yes, I’m counting Cooper too). It looks for all the world like he’s dunzo, that he was able to catch lightening in a bottle for a few seasons, but now God’s moved on to other things. He signs a last chance contract with Arizona and loses his starting job to Josh McCown and Matt Leinart in consecutive years. And then all of a sudden…three years of greatness, out of nowhere, as if (gulp) a gift from God.
Maybe only Divine Intervention could have made the Cardinals relevant. For all the talk of the Cubs or the Clippers or any other cursed team, the Cardinals were the most pathetic team in American sports history. Did you know they are the oldest team in the NFL? Of course not…because no one cares about them. They got driven out of Chicago by the Bears and St. Louis by their own horribleness. They won a NFL Championship in 1947, and then did absolutely nothing. And it wasn’t that they were just bad…they were bad without any interesting or redeeming thing about them. They had to pretend Jake the Snake was a good QB, because he’s the only halfway intriguing thing that ever happened to them. And Kurt Warner made them matter, and made them cool, and brought them within a miracle catch of winning the Super Bowl. It’s hard to hate a guy who could do that.
Plus, he had the only wife in recorded history to look 1,000% better at 42 than at 31:
I mean, Jesus fucking Christ