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Cook’s Top 5: Arizona Cardinals Quarterbacks

Steve Cook kicks off his Top 5 NFL Quarterbacks for each NFL team with a look at the Arizona Cardinals!

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Kurt Warner Arizona Cardinals NFL

Steve Cook kicks off his Top 5 NFL Quarterbacks for each NFL team with a look at the Arizona Cardinals!

Is there anything more fun than debating who’s the Greatest Of All Time?

Doesn’t matter what the subject is. There’s nothing that gets people more worked up than a discussion of who did something better than anybody else ever did it. Everybody has an opinion.

These days, public opinion is focusing on the idea that Tom Brady is the Greatest NFL Quarterback of All Time. Which is all well and good, but that singular question gets a little tired. I’d like to make it more fun by breaking things down franchise by franchise.

That’s right. For the next thirty-two weeks, we’re going to decide the Greatest Quarterback Of All Time for each NFL franchise. Some of these will be easy. Some of these will be hard. We’re also going to see a pretty big range in the quality of choices for each franchise.

The Arizona Cardinals come first in the alphabet.

Let’s be honest. Few would argue that they’re known for stellar quarterback play. With all due respect, the Cardinals don’t exactly have the storied tradition one would expect from a franchise founded in 1920. They haven’t won an NFL Championship since 1947. That’s nearly two decades before the first Super Bowl was held!

For the first twenty years or so of my lifetime, these Cardinals were an afterthought to me. For most of their first couple of decades in Arizona, it seemed like there were more Dallas Cowboys fans in the team’s geographic area. That’s begun to change…thanks in part to improved quarterback play. And Larry Fitzgerald, who helped some of those guys out a bit. While the Cardinals’ history might not be the greatest, there’s reason to have hope for their future.

Let’s take a look at the 5 Greatest Chicago/St. Louis/Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals Quarterbacks of All Time.

(shoutout to Pro Football Reference, who I will be stealing copious amounts of information from for this project.)

5. Charley Johnson

Only two quarterbacks that have started at last sixty games for the Cardinals have a winning quarterback record. One is Carson Palmer, the other is Johnson, who was the St. Louis Cardinals’ starting quarterback for most of the 1960s. Johnson’s peak came in 1963 &1964. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1963, and led the league in passing yards in 1964, with the Cardinals winning nine games both seasons. Johnson was phased out in favor of youngster Jim Hart, and went on to have brief stints with Houston & Denver before moving into the chemical engineering field.

4. Neil Lomax

Lomax established himself in the college ranks in the late 1970s as part of Portland State coach Mouse Davis’s run and shoot offense that multiple NFL teams would run in the 1980s. He was drafted in the second round of the 1981 NFL Draft and groomed to be longtime QB Jim Hart’s replacement. Lomax would QB the Cardinals through most of the 1980s, including their first season in Phoenix.

It wasn’t one of the Cardinals’ most successful decades, but had some highlights on the field. Lomax had two standout seasons, one in 1984 & the other in 1987. Lomax’s 4671 passing yards in 1984 would stand as a franchise record until 2015, and his 28 touchdowns tied Charly Johnson’s total in 1963 & would stand as a record until 2008. Lomax’s career was cut short by hip issues and he had to retire after missing the entire 1989 season.

3. Jim Hart

Hart was one of those “local boy does right” stories for the St. Louis Cardinals back in the late 1960s. He went undrafted in the 1966 NFL Draft after playing at Southern Illinois, then got invited to a tryout for the Cardinals. He had a good showing, got signed, then spent the next eighteen seasons with the franchise. Hart still holds the franchise records for most passing yards, passing touchdowns, interceptions & quarterback wins & losses by pretty wide margins.

Hart’s peak came in the mid-1970s, when he made the Pro Bowl four years in a row. This was largely due to the coaching of Don Coryell, whose genius-level strategy on the offensive side of the ball got the most out of Hart. Coryell would move on to the San Diego Chargers after 1977 and take things to another level with Dan Fouts as his quarterback. Hart & the Cardinals would struggle after Coryell’s departure, and the offense wouldn’t really recover until the 2000s.

Hart still holds a ton of Cardinals passing records, but I can’t put him ahead of the top two. They were more skilled, had better overall careers, and their teams were more successful.

2. Carson Palmer

Palmer was the overall #1 pick in the 2003 NFL Draft, going to the Cincinnati Bengals. Like most people that spent eight years employed by the organization, he grew frustrated. Things came to a head & Palmer was sent to Oakland, at the time possibly the only NFL organization more disorganized than Cincinnati. After two years of that, Carson finally wound up in a situation he felt good about: Arizona with Bruce Arians.

When Palmer was healthy, he was exactly what people hoped he would be when he was drafted. 2015 saw him set franchise records for most passing yards & passing touchdowns in a single season. 2015 was the year where it looked like the Cardinals could finally get over the hump and win a championship, with Carson’s performance a key part of it. That didn’t happen…if it had, Palmer would be on top of this list.

Honorable Mention: Jake Plummer

Plummer had played for Arizona State University, who at the time shared Sun Devil Stadium with the Cardinals. It made all the sense in the world for the Cardinals to draft him in the 1997 NFL Draft as a local hero if nothing else. Plummer started off on the bench, but would wind up starting nine games in his rookie season. Plummer had an up & down tenure during his time with the Cardinals. The team didn’t find much success, but did have some exciting moments. Plummer saw through twenty game winning drives while QBing the Cardinals, which ranks as second in franchise history.

Honorable Mention: Paddy Driscoll

The 1920s version of the National Football League is worlds different from the game we know today, especially when it comes to the quarterback position. Most teams back then had multiple people playing the position, and those players would play multiple positions as well. Driscoll was all over the field, regularly playing hafback & quarterback & utilizing the drop kick in the Cardinals’ kicking game. He also coached the team for a couple of seasons. Driscoll was the first All-Pro quarterback in NFL history, and led the Cardinals to the NFL Championship in 1925.

Honorable Mention: Kyler Murray

Murray’s first two seasons were among the best by a QB in team history. There’s a real good chance he’ll top this list in 10-15 years. I’m not putting him in the top 5 right now, and Cardinals fans should thank me for it. I don’t want to jinx this for him or them. Just keep what you’re doing, young man.

1. Kurt Warner

Warner was considered to be past his prime when he arrived in Arizona in 2005. He had flamed out of St. Louis after two MVP seasons, then spent a season in New York grooming Eli Manning for future success. A similar role was what Arizona had in mind for Warner, hoping he could bridge the gap to a younger quarterback, who ended up being USC Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart. Leinart got chance after chance to take the job from Warner, but could never quite cement himself in the position.

Warner kept coming back. There was another Super Bowl run left in him, which we saw in 2008. Unfortunately, Warner & the Cardinals came up short, but it still ranks as the franchise’s greatest moment since their days in Chicago. It was a second act that put Warner in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and established him as the greatest quarterback in at least one franchise’s history.

Thanks for reading! Next time we’ll be looking at the Atlanta Falcons. Hit me up on Twitter with any thoughts, concerns, suggestions or real estate deals.


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Cook’s Top 5: Dallas Cowboys Quarterbacks

Steve Cook graces you with more NFL QB talk, and this time it revolves around the best signal callers for America’s team. Not the Browns–the Dallas Cowboys!

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Troy Aikman Dallas Cowboys

Steve Cook graces you with more NFL QB talk, and this time it revolves around the best signal callers for America’s team. Not the Browns–the Dallas Cowboys!

HOW BOUT DEM COWBOYS?

There are few more high profile position in sports than that of the Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback. Something about “America’s Team” makes the Cowboys one of the most discussed teams in the NFL every season, whether they deserve to be or not. Whether people love or hate them, everybody has an opinion.

Today, we look at the five greatest Dallas Cowboy quarterbacks of all time. It wasn’t hard filling this list.

5. Don Meredith

“Dandy” Don was beloved during his high school & college football career in the Dallas area, so it only made sense for the expansion Cowboys to have him on their roster. Sure enough, Meredith was one of the first Cowboys, and after a couple years serving as a backup he became the full-time starter in 1962. He had a couple of rough seasons, but broke out in the late 1960s and was selected to the Pro Bowl each of his last three seasons in the NFL. His laid-back style made him popular with his teammates, if not with his coaches.

1966 was his finest season, with 2,805 yards, 24 touchdowns & 12 interceptions. He won the Bert Bell Award, becoming the first Cowboy to win a player of the year award. His retirement after the 1968 season at the age of 30 came as a surprise, as he’d led the Cowboys to an 11-2 record that season and seemed to have a few good seasons left. He had gotten tired of playing though, and found new things to do in television. As it turned out, Meredith would start a long-running tradition of Cowboys quarterbacks announcing games on television after their retirement.

4. Danny White

Being the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys isn’t as easy as some people make it look. There’s a lot of pressure involved with leading America’s Team out there every week. Take Danny White, for instance. By most standards, White had a good, solid career. He led the Cowboys to three straight NFC Championship Games from 1980-82, went to the Pro Bowl in 1982 & had his best season in 1983 with 3,980 passing yards & 29 touchdowns. That wasn’t good enough for Cowboys fans, who had become spoiled by the performance of Roger Staubach during the 1970s.

White’s inability to get over the hump & make a Super Bowl got the fans upset with his performance, and eager to see new faces like Gary Hogeboom get a chance. It didn’t help that White’s teammates were irritated by his siding with the owners during the players’ strike in 1982. White did have a 62-30 quarterback record, and still holds the record for most games played by a Cowboys quarterback, largely due to his stint as punter while he was backing up Staubach.

3. Tony Romo

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

I have to admit that I was surprised to find out that Romo was the all-time passing yardage (34,183) & touchdown (248) leader for the Cowboys. He was a four-time Pro Bowler, and as people have found out during his time on CBS, a fine spokesperson for the league. Romo went from an undrafted quarterback out of Eastern Illinois to one of the league’s biggest stars.

Much like White, Romo’s career with the Cowboys had one major flaw: He never made a Super Bowl, in fact, he never got past the Divisional round. There are high standards in Dallas, set by a couple of eras of dominance that they haven’t been able to replicate since. During his career, Romo’s playoff shortcomings & love life were the main topics of conversation. I think hindsight will be kinder to his actual play on the field.

2. Troy Aikman

The Cowboys had reached a low point when they took Aikman with the first overall pick in the 1989 NFL Draft. They had lower to go, as they went 1-15 during Troy’s first season with the team. Jimmy Johnson & Jerry Jones had plans though, and they had a lot of draft picks, many of which became focal points of an early 1990s run where the Cowboys won three Super Bowls in four seasons. Aikman was selected to six straight Pro Bowls & was MVP of Super Bowl XXVII.

Aikman’s career numbers are comparable to the likes of Mark Brunell, Alex Smith, Ken Stabler, Carson Palmer & Jay Cutler. Yet, Aikman was a first ballot Hall of Famer while none of these men would be considered in that class. Winning the biggest games in the biggest moments is what separated Aikman’s perception from that of other men that might compare to him in statistical categories. Aikman also had better players around him, but he wasn’t in control of all that. What he could control, he handled very well. He played more games than any other Cowboys quarterback, won more games and is second in career passing yards and touchdowns for the franchise.

Honorable Mention: Dak Prescott

Dak is well on his way to joining this list, and with his recent contract extension will have plenty of time to do so. He’s on a pace that would give him most of the franchise records should he stick around and stay healthy. The question Cowboys fans have: Will he be able to win the big one like the top two on this list, or will he come up short like the two behind them? He’s 1-2 so far in playoff games.

1. Roger Staubach

The man that became known as Captain Comeback first gained attention as the quarterback for the Naval Academy, where he won the 1963 Heisman Trophy. After serving in Vietnam, Staubach joined the Cowboys & was the quarterback throughout most of the 1970s. He led the Cowboys to a 10-0 record and a victory in Super Bowl VI in his first season as starting quarterback, also winning the game’s MVP award. He missed most of 1972 due to a separated shoulder, but won his job back in a playoff game and never gave it up for the rest of his career.

He added a victory in Super Bowl XII & led the team to a 85-29 record before retiring after the 1979 season. 1979 was his best statistical season, with 3,586 passing yards & 27 touchdowns as career highs. The Cowboys won less than ten games one season during his time as quarterback. Staubach is the yardstick against which all Cowboys quarterbacks are measured on & off the field.

Thanks for reading! Join me next time when we look at the Denver Broncos!


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Chairshot Radio: The NFL Adds Game 17 [040221]

After forty plus years the NFL has voted to add a 17th game to the regular season schedule. Join Rey, Chris, AJ and PC as we divulge our opinions.

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Chairshot Radio: The NFL Adds Game 17 [040221]

After forty plus years the NFL has voted to add a 17th game to the regular season schedule. Join Rey, Chris, AJ and PC as we divulge our opinions.

Today’s Hosts: PC Tunney (@PCTunney) Chris Platt(@therealcplatt) Rey Cash (@itsreycash) & AJ Balaz (@PhenomenalAJB)

  • The NFL Votes to Add a 17th Game

About Chairshot Radio

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For the latest, greatest and up to datest in everything pro wrestling, sports and entertainment head to TheChairshot.com and remember to ALWAYS #UseYourHead.

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