We had an interesting discussion in The Pit on Channel 5 last night as to whether Kurt Warner was the most clutch playoff quarterback ever. While…as Steve Spagnuolo would say…I can’t go there, he is THE BEST post-season quarterback ever.
With his remarkable 29-33, 379 yard, five touchdown performance against Green Bay, Warner improved to 9-3 in postseason play, losing to New Orleans in the 2000 Wildcard round, when Az Hakim dropped a punt at the end of the game…to New England on Adam Vinatieri’s field goal at the end of Super Bowl XXXVI…and to Pittsburgh on Ben Roethlisberger’s drive at the end of last year’s Super Bowl.
Warner’s five touchdown passes game him 31 in his post-season career. He passed Tom Brady, John Elway and Terry Bradshaw on the all-time list, and now trails Joe Montana’s 45, Brett Favre’s 39 and Dan Marino’s 32.
Warner’s 2.58 TD passes per playoff game are better than Montana’s 1.95 and Marino’s 1.77. John Elway averaged 1.22. Among his contemporaries, Favre averages 1.77 TD’s per post-season game, Brady averages 1.55, Manning averages 1.46. Warner is more than a touchdown per game ahead of both Brady and Manning.
The 379 yard effort was Kurt’s sixth 300 yard passing game in the playoffs, tying him with Manning and Montana for first on that all-time list. His six games with 365+ yards obliterate everyone else. As a point of reference, Warner has now played in 12 playoff games, Montana played in 23 and Manning has played in 15.
Warner’s average of 306.2 yards passing per playoff game was already number one, and he increased that average to 312.2 yesterday. His career passer rating in the playoffs increased to 104.6, nearing Bart Starr’s career mark of 104.8. Warner now has more than twice the playoff passing attempts that Starr did. Warner increased his already career best post-season completion percentage to from 64.8 to 66.5.
He’s been to three Super Bowls and has the three greatest passing days in Super Bowl history, and has the top two post-seasons in terms of yardage in NFL history.
Montana did win four Super Bowls, and led his team on a 92 yard TD drive in the final moments to win one, while also delivering a four minute, 89 yard drive culminated by “The Catch” by Dwight Clark in the NFC Championship game. He also had a key playoff comeback win against Detroit in 1984 on the way to a Super Bowl win over Miami.
So while I have trouble with saying Warner is the most clutch post-season QB in NFL post-season history (because of 1999, he is the most clutch of his era), when I look at the numbers and I see him at the top of yards per game, touchdown passes per game, 300 yard games, passer rating and completion percentage, I have to say he’s the best.