If you’re not following Kurt Warner on Twitter, you’re missing some interesting stuff. Kurt writes about everything from his kids to his wife to entertainers he likes. (Lady Gaga came as a surprise!) And of course, he writes about his faith and his preference for a simple relationship with Jesus over hidebound religion.
This tweet recently caught my eye: “Most ppl thnk leadership is getting others 2 do what u want them 2 do, 4 me its proving u r worthy of being followed so u can do it together.” If there’s anything you can say about Warner, it’s that during his playing days, he proved he was worthy of being followed. He moved from a nobody to a Super Bowl champ, and he rode a career roller coaster that took him down and back up a couple of times. He never gave up, however, and he never stopped believing that he and the teams he led could win big. As a result, two ragtag franchises, the St. Louis Rams and the Arizona Cardinals, followed him to the Super Bowl.
His successor at Arizona, Matt Leinart, has been unable to convince his team mates that he’s worthy of being followed. He had a brilliant college career, and despite some personal excesses and disappointment at losing his starting job to Warner in 2008, he seems to have buckled down and worked hard. I’d like to see him put it all together, but it’s doubtful that he will. He’s had four seasons with the Cardinals to prove himself to the franchise, but it looks as though he’s being passed over again, this time in favor of quarterback Derek Anderson.
Talent and skill are necessary for success, but they’re not sufficient. Warner always acknowledged his shortcomings as an athlete, such as being relatively slow and not great at getting out of the pocket. He didn’t dwell on his shortcomings, however. He made the best of what he had, he gritted out the tough times, and he proved himself worthy of respect and worthy of being followed. Leinert will have to do the same, and in a hurry, if he’s going to stick around as a major league quarterback.
Update: Leinert had a good game on Saturday night. It’ll be interesting to watch what happens with him.