My esteemed colleagues have already tackled Kurt Warner's Hall of Fame credentials (my vote: yes), so let's move on to the rest of the Super Bowl XLIII field. What other participants do you think have a shot at Canton one day? Who has already locked it down?
How about Warner's main targets, Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin? Fitzy has already established records for receiving yards and first downs in a single postseason and he's on the brink of setting the mark for touchdowns and catches. Let's imagine he plays for 13 years -- an average career for a receiver; far shorter than Jerry Rice's but longer than, say, Michael Irvin's -- and that his stats stay relatively consistent, tapering off slightly towards the end. He'd finish with roughly 1,108 receptions, good enough for second all-time behind Rice. Same situation for his receiving yards (15,535). And his touchdowns, about 120, would be sixth all-time, eight behind Marvin Harrison, who seems a Hall shoo-in. So, yeah, if Fitzgerald keeps it up, he seems a lock, right?
What about Boldin, who was the fastest receiver ever to reach 400 catches? A good first step would be to get the hell out of Arizona, Q. His stats, if they keep up, make a good case for him. But how many receiving duos (save for Pittsburgh's John Stallworth and Lynn Swann) have made the Hall? With so many talented guys at the position this decade, he could find himself boxed out by another No. 1 receiver. And how will his hybrid receiver-running back position play into all of this?
What about the Steelers' Hines Ward, the face of the team's receiving corps for the last decade and already a Super Bowl MVP? Only four other receivers -- Lynn Swann, Fred Biletnikoff, Jerry Rice and Deion Branch -- have ever been named Super Bowl MVP before. And by 2010 three of the four will be in the Hall. Sorry, Deion. Ain't happening.
But Ward's numbers may not hold up. Let's give the guy a 14-year career. That translates to roughly 1,018 receptions, which would rank fifth all-time. His 12,477 receiving yards are right on par with Art Monk, who made the Hall in '08 -- after eight years of waiting. And Ward's 92 touchdowns would be seven behind Don Hutson (Class of '63) and three above Don Maynard (Class of '87). That's all fine and dandy until you consider the other receivers he'll be contending with, guys like Marvin Harrison (who entered the league two years before Ward did in '98), Isaac Bruce ('94), Terrell Owens ('96), Torry Holt ('99), Randy Moss ('98)...
Edgerrin James, who entered the league in '99, could be in the same boat 10 years from now: a solid career, but will he really beat out guys like Curtis Martin ('95), Marshall Faulk ('94), Tiki Barber ('97) and Eddie George ('06)? If Edge doesn't win a Super Bowl now, what will he be remembered for?
Who else do you think will be up for consideration? Is it time to start discussing Troy Polamalu? If Ben Roethlisberger wins another Super Bowl, does that get him in? What do you think?
Check SI.com's Super Blog regularly for more dispatches from Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa.