Warner guns for history ... again
Cold, Hard Football Facts for Dec 12, 2009
(Here's one of our classic Kurt Warner rump-swap pieces from Dec. 13, 2009. In the wake of his retirement today, we'll be back very shortly with our take on his Hall of Fame chances.)
It's no secret that Arizona quarterback/gunslinger Kurt Warner is a Cold, Hard Football Facts favorite.
If we had feelings, we'd love the odd ride he's taken to and through the NFL and we'd definitely love the dizzying numbers, the pin-point passes and the Hall of Fame production.
He's led the Rams to the only Super Bowl championship in franchise history and the Cardinals, otherwise the worst franchise in North American sports history, to their only Super Bowl appearance.
Monday night he leads Arizona into San Francisco with a chance to wrap up the division title with three games to play. No team in the 90-season of the Cardinals has ever wrapped up a playoff spot with three games to play.
Hell, if Arizona runs the table it will become the first team in franchise history to win 12 games in a season. Don't bet against it: after the 49ers, Arizona has sure wins against Detroit and St. Louis before closing out the season at home against the Packers.
The Rams, meanwhile, have never won more than 12 games in a season save for a 13-win year in 1999 and a 14-win year in 2001 with Warner at the helm ... notice a trend here?
If not for two bad passes – one into the hands of Ty Law and the other into the arms of James Harrison, Warner would be universally recognized as one of the best quarterbacks in history.
But even as Warner rump swabs, we were shocked by two Cold, Hard Football Facts uncovered last week:
ONE - Kurt W. & Johnny U.
Warner is in the midst of one of those stretches where ever thing he throws hits its target like a laser-controlled missile. In fact, he's in the middle of perhaps the greatest four-game stretch of passing in NFL history: just the second player in history to post four consecutive games with a passer rating of better than 120.
The first? Johnny Unitas himself.
Unitas went on his spectacular statistical binge in October 1965, as the Colts posted consecutive wins over the Lions, Redskins, Rams and 49ers. Here's his truly prolific state line from those four games:
71 of 103 (68.9%), for 1,115 yards, 10.83 YPA, 12 TD, 2 INT, 135.4 rating
Here's how Warner stacks up in his four-game streak:
88 of 121 (72.7%), 1,089 yards, 9.0 YPA, 12 TD, 0 INT, 133.2 rating
Warner's numbers are spectacular. But Johnny U's performance is absolutely brilliant considering the era in which he played. The average passer rating was 10 points lower in 1965 (73.5) than it is today
We can also see the entire evolution of football in those two sets of numbers.
Back in the 1960s, quarterbacks threw less often and completed a lower percentage of their passes. But they had higher averages per attempt and threw more picks. Those trends are consistent in the two sets of data above, comparing one player at the height of his powers in the 1960s and another at the height of his skills here in the 21st century.
In any case, both sets of numbers are spectacular. And you can argue, statistically, that these players have produced the greatest four-game stretches in NFL history.
TWO - Unprecedented home-dome success
Here's something else we came across, while doing some research about dome teams in the playoffs. Here's a look at the home playoff record of every dome team in NFL history:
Arizona – 2-0
Atlanta – 2-0
Detroit – 1-1
Indy – 4-3
New Orleans – 2-3
Seattle – 2-1
St. Louis – 4-1
Houston Oilers – 3-2
Minnesota – 5-4
Notice something about that list?
Warner is responsible for six of the 25 home-dome victories in NFL history and his 6-0 record is a huge statistical anomaly (Marc Bulger was the QB for the lone St. Louis home-dome playoff loss). Even the brilliant Peyton Manning, given the benefit of playing on the same team for 12 years and surrounded by a galaxy of offensive studs and just plain better teams has managed just four dome victories. Only three dome teams are better than one game over .500 at home. Warner has led two of them.
None of these home-dome numbers will help the Cardinals knock off fellow domers New Orleans or Minnesota in the playoffs this year. But the home-dome numbers tell us that we shouldn't discount the Cardinals quite yet in the race for the NFC title.
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