5. Jake Plummer
Jake Plummer was the face of the 90’s Cardinals after a succession of one-season has-beens or coulda-beens (like Kreig, Esiason and Graham). While his stats were not very impressive, his scrambling ability and boot-leg passes seemed to keep the Cardinals in games when all seemed lost. It was upon these legs that the Cardinals’ ’98 playoff appearance solely lie, as late scrambles against the Saints and Chargers were the sole reason Chris Jacke was sneaking field goals over the crossbar.
He also might have engineered the franchises’ biggest win, prior to the 1998 season, when he went into Dallas and beat the vaunted Cowboys. Coming from Arizona State made him a fan favorite and drew a lot of new fans to the team. He never finished a season with a QB rating over 80, threw for 24 more interceptions than TDs, and led his teams to a 30-52 record (although the quality of talent around him was never anything to brag about). For all his “bonehead” moments, Jake had an incredible throw ing arm and that is what makes him one of the best Cardinals QB’s ever. Number five as far as I am concerned.
4. Carson Palmer
Carson Palmer was traded to the Arizona Cardinals in 2013 and has made a huge impact on the team by making them playoff contenders once again. There is simply no denying the Cardinal’s franchise was in dire straits after the retirement of Kurt Warner and the experiments of Kevin Kolb, John Skelton. Derek Anderson and Ryan Lindley were undoubtable and complete failures as well.
Thus far, Carson Palmer has thrown for over 10,500 yards and completed 70 touchdown passes in his three seasons with the club thanks to quick release, good decision making and the threat of Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and John Brown. I don’t know if he is going to lead the Cardinals to the Super Bowl or not. But one thing I do know is he has brought excitement back to Arizona as far as pro football is concerned and there is no doubt he will always be remembered in a good light in AZ.
3. Neil Lomax
Neil Lomax played for the St. Louis and Phoenix Cardinals for seven years when he was drafted by the club in 1981 out of Portland State. He could have been one of the best in the game but an arthritic hip plagued his career which eventually forced him to retire in 1989. During his career with the Cardinals, Lomax made the Pro Bowl twice, threw for 22,771 passing yards and completed 136 touchdowns. His best year was in 1984 when he passed for 4,614 yards, threw 28 touchdowns and earned a quarterback rating of 92.5 which his highly remarkable for a team that played in the cut throat NFC Eastern Division which included the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins and New York Giants. He isn’t know around the NFL nowadays or anything, but Cardinals fans won’t forget Neil anytime soon.
2. Jim Hart
Jim Hart played for the St. Louis Cardinals for seventeen years, he was an undrafted rookie from Southern Illinois University. His fledgling career as an NFL quarterback flourished under Don Coryell in the mid-seventies due to his high octane spread offense known as “Air Coryell” which featured a whole lot of passing. Jim Hart made the Pro Bowl four times and led his team to three straight NFC Eastern Division titles (remarkable for the club because they played in the same division as the Dallas Cowboys). He is the Arizona Cardinals all-time leader in passing yards (34,639) and passing touchdowns (209). Sorry to those who think Jim Hart deserves to be number one on this list, yes he was a great Cardinal, but this next guy HAS to be considered number one. Hart will have to take the number two spot – I think that is more than fair.
1. Kurt Warner
One of the more likable players in NFL history, Kurt Warner came to Arizona as a free agent in 2005. Things didn’t start off great for Warner, as he battled injuries through his first season with the Cards. His second season wasn’t much better as he lost the starting job to the lowly Matt Leinart. However, Warner would get the job back at the end of the 2006 season and this was really the start of something special.
The 2007 season saw a vast improvement for the team. Although the team missed the playoffs, Arizona improved its record to 8-8. Warner finished with 3,417 passing yards along with 27 touchdowns. In 2008, Warner and the Cardinals’ offense exploded. Warner finished with 4,583 yards passing and 30 touchdowns and would lead the Cardinals to a 9-7 record, a miracle playoff run and ultimately their first Super Bowl in franchise history. Although they lost to the Steelers 27-23 in the Super Bowl, Warner still put up 377 yards passing, the second-highest total in SB history.
Warner would play one more season in Arizona, leading the team to a 10-6 record and a second consecutive playoff berth. However, the run would end with a second-round loss to the New Orleans Saints. The game would ultimately end Warner’s career when he was injured on a cheap hit in the first half. It was determined in 2012 that the New Orleans Saints had put a bounty on Warner. During his short time in Arizona, Warner led the team to new heights and finished with 15,899 passing yards and 100 touchdowns. Up to this point in Cardinals history, Kurt Warner is the greatest quarterback to ever put on the uniform.