The Arizona Cardinals announced the addition of quarterback Carson Palmer, to the team’s Ring of Honor. Palmer’s inclusion came a surprise to many. He spent a relatively short time he wore a Cardinals uniform. The move raised questions around the league as to why Palmer was being added. Today we take a look at the decision, and why it is deserving.
But we had to make a very special call to a good friend of ours to make it official. pic.twitter.com/1BRLlMWX6G
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) June 4, 2019
Among the Best
To put it plainly, Carson Palmer was one of the most productive quarterbacks in Cardinals team history. The former first-overall selection in 2003, Palmer played five seasons for the Cardinals, from 2013 through 2017, finishing with a 38-21-1 record. Palmer announced his retirement following a 2017 season which ended after seven games, due to a broken arm, suffered against the Rams.
If Warner was included into the Cardinals Ring of Honor, Palmer deserves the same respect. At the time of his retirement, Palmer ranked fourth best in passing yards (16,782), fourth in passing touchdowns (105), and first in yards per game (279.7). For comparison’s sake, Kurt Warner comes in fifth in passing yards (15,843) and touchdowns (100), and second in yards per game (259.7). Palmer finished with 92 attempts more than Warner, while completing just two attempts more.
He Won Games
As the Cardinals quarterback, Palmer won 63 percent of the games in which he started. It is the highest percentage among Cardinals quarterbacks with at least 16 games started. Palmer went 29-9 over his first three seasons with the Cardinals, better than any other quarterback in team history. Arizona made the playoffs in two of those first three seasons, barely missing the playoffs in year one, finishing with a 10-6 record. While the team itself was talented, primarily on the defensive end, the offense saw some of the best years in franchise history.
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While most of the team’s quarterback history can be brushed off by lean years, the comparison between Palmer and Warner fits perfectly. Two quarterbacks desperately searching for a fresh start after some lean years. They initially found success with their original teams (Warner only truly made the Rams roster), before struggling mightily with their second teams. Both men found success in the desert, excited the fan base, and had some crazy postseason moments. Oh, and Palmer won 11 more games than Warner, while playing in one game less.
Why the Rush
The case for Palmer’s inclusion into the Cardinals Ring of Honor is simple. In his short time, he became one of the most productive and successful quarterbacks in franchise history. Michael Bidwill and his team set the precedent with Kurt Warner being added. From that point forward, the door was opened just slightly wider. It meant rewarding above average play, no matter the length of time.
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At the end of the day, Palmer is deserving of the honor he is receiving. However, the Cardinals need to do a better job at remembering the players of their past and bringing them back into the fold, namely Jackie Smith and Larry Centers. Both players had highly successful careers and were among the best at their position for most of their careers with the Cardinals. Smith is already a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and played 15 years with the Cardinals when the team was in St. Louis. Centers was recently named as a semi-finalist for the Hall of Fame, played nine seasons for the Cardinals, and currently ranks third all-time in receptions for the team. Oh, and he was a fullback.