Consider this: The two bookends of Warner's NFL postseason career at the moment are his five-touchdown, 391-yard, 27-of-33 passing day in the Rams' wild 49-37 NFC divisional round defeat of Minnesota on Jan. 16, 2000 -- his first-ever playoff appearance -- and his equally ridiculous masterpiece Sunday against Green Bay, when he was 29 of 33, for 379 yards, and five touchdowns in Arizona's unforgettable 51-45 overtime win.
To have one five-touchdown playoff game on your résumé is a feat. To have done it twice, almost a decade apart to the day, at age 28, and again at 38, is simply remarkable. Only Oakland's
The math alone for Warner from those two playoff games is mind-boggling: 56 of 66 passing, for 770 yards, 10 touchdowns, and 100 points scored, with just one interception. Warner is now 9-3 in his career as a playoff starter, but how can he ever top the first or last chapters in his postseason saga, when he played two of the closest-to-perfect games ever turned in by an NFL quarterback?
Warner's head coach of 10 years ago, the Rams'
"It's amazing,'' Vermeil said, on the phone. "That performance on Sunday was a Hall of Fame performance. I mean no disrespect, but if
Why, I asked Vermeil, is Warner still underappreciated, even after everything he's done in his rather unique playing career?
"I just think many commentators and people in the media are hesitant to give Kurt the same amount of credit, maybe because of his background, and how he came up without the pedigree,'' Vermeil said. "And he's not a glamour guy. He's not dating models. He's just a low-key, super human being. A devout Christian and an outstanding football player. He doesn't draw attention to himself, other than when he plays on Sundays.
"It also may be because he's not in the New York market, the Chicago market, and he's not a Dallas Cowboy. They're raving about [
Warner's 154.1 passer rating against Green Bay was the second highest in NFL playoff history, trailing only the perfect 158.3 rating that Manning hung up against Denver in a wild-card round win in 2004. Warner's career 104.6 playoff passer rating now trails only a tick behind league-leading
"Kurt is a very, very special person and a very, very special player,'' said Vermeil, whose 1999 Rams won the franchise's only Super Bowl title with the unheralded Warner at quarterback. "He's maybe the most accurate passer in the history of the game. He was putting that ball on a laser on Sunday. Some of those guys the other day were covered. They weren't wide open. But I wasn't surprised by what he did. I expected him to play like that. The better the competition, the better Kurt plays. Look at his playoff history.''
Warner's next assignment is this weekend's NFC divisional round game at top-seeded New Orleans (13-3) on Saturday. With both Warner and Minnesota's
"Hopefully it'll be a good message to all the people who make decisions on personnel, to evaluate the total picture,'' Vermeil said. "Does it have to do with age, or being in the wrong place and in the wrong offense? Quarterbacks cannot do it without a supporting cast and the right scheme.
"I think what Favre has done now and what Kurt has done now, it's a good thing. It's going to send out a positive signal: Don't write these old guys off. They want to write off
Warner has the supporting cast, the perfect offense to play in for his quick-release and precision passing, and he still has the goods, as he displayed once again in that instant classic against Green Bay. Ten years after we first got a look at his playoff magic, Warner continues to amaze.
• When Ravens director of player personnel
In the coming weeks, look for Baltimore owner
• It doesn't surprise many within the league that former Seattle general manager
Given that Mora's three-year head coaching tenure in Atlanta (2004-06) didn't end particularly well either, it's going to take some level of rehabilitation of Mora's reputation within the league before he's in position to earn a third head coaching opportunity. All in all, it has been a curious and sudden turn of events for a guy who not all that long ago was considered one of the better young head coaches in the game. But these facts don't help Mora: In his four seasons as a head coach, his won-loss record has decreased each year, from 11-5 in 2004, to 8-8 in 2005, to 7-9 in 2006, to this year's 5-11 in Seattle.
• I get that the track record for former collegiate head coaches who take No. 1 jobs in the NFL is abysmal, but new Seattle head coach
Carroll took two of his four teams to the NFL playoffs as the Jets and Patriots head coach, and these days that's as likely to get you a hefty raise and a contract extension as it is get you canned (twice). Carroll was 1-2 in the playoffs during his three-year stint in New England (1997-99), and that's one more postseason win than
Given that Carroll was sandwiched between the
• Not sure how it is that Arizona's highly-regarded director of player personnel
Within the league, Keim gets a ton of the credit for the talent Arizona has accumulated via the draft in recent years.
He went from calling all the shots in every department in Cleveland this season -- with former Browns general manager
But given the Browns needed that kind of layered front office structure all along, the demotion of sorts could be the best thing that ever happened to Mangini's career.