With a win in Sunday's NFC Championship game, Kurt Warner may have cemented a place in Canton--and some long-term respect from football card collectors.
It's been ten years since Kurt Warner first appeared on a football card. An NFL trading card anyway (there was that 1995 Iowa Barnstormers Arena League Taco Bell card).
In 2001, there were few players whose cards were hotter than Warner. He was a two-time MVP and had a pair of Super Bowl games under his belt. Yet two injury-plagued seasons followed, then a move from the Rams to the New York Giants who gave his job to rookie Eli Manning before the 2004 season was over.
He moved to Arizona in 2005, fighting each year to keep a job and then watching the club draft Matt Leinart as their 'quarterback of the future'. Then a funny thing happened. Leinart flopped.
Warner won the job this summer at age 37 and now has Arizona in the Super Bowl. His 21 of 28/4 touchdown effort against the Philadelphia Eagles was one of the finest championship performances of all-time. The clock had turned back to those days with St. Louis, when the Rams scored, it seemed, at will. Hard as it may have been to fathom Sunday night, Kurt Warner was cool again.
He also may have passed himself into serious Hall of Fame consideration. Struggles aside in mid-career, Warner will likely have more 300-yard passing games than Dan Marino if he can play another two years. In fact, he's thrown for 300 yards in nearly half of his 101 career starts. He's 40th all-time in touchdown passes and will now make his third Super Bowl trip, a fact that will be hard to dismiss. A healthy Warner, in the right system, has been an NFL marvel.
Collectors, investors and fans seem to think Warner's Hall of Fame credentials are worth a look. Virtually every Warner rookie card offered on eBay in the last ten days has sold. His 1999 Playoff Contenders autograph card is the target of most. A PSA 10 copy sold Sunday night for $449. Last Sunday, another '10' sold for $202 and several others brought around $150 during the week.
Since Warner's inaugural appearance in '99, several of the companies and brands that produced his rookie cards are no longer in existence. His Fleer Focus and Pacific Crown Royale cards are among the cheapest. You can buy them for around $1each.
Warner's story--from supermarket worker to AFL star to Super Bowl MVP--has been well-chronicled. His story, along with his character, won't be enough to get hiim to Canton but another Super Bowl MVP award might.
And those '95 Iowa Barnstormers cards? Selling briskly at $100-150.
Related: List of Warner rookie cards for sale on eBay now