On Sunday, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Max Hall(notes) became the first undrafted rookie quarterback to start a game for an NFL team this early in a non-strike season since Jim Zorn of the expansion Seattle Seahawks in 1976. Hall did decently for himself, completing 17 passes in 27 attempts for 168 yards, no touchdowns and a pick in Arizona's 30-20 win over the New Orleans Saints. He was involved in a touchdown, but as we will see, Hall got near the end zone the hard way:
Ouchie. Learn to slide, kid! Hall does show impressive focus on this play, though -- right after Anthony Hargrove(notes) ‘faces him as he tries to scramble to the end zone and he gets his helmet knocked off as he goes to the ground, watch how Hall keeps his eyes on the ball, which offensive tackle Levi Brown scoops into the end zone for a touchdown. I recently talked to the quarterback that linebackers Paris Lenon(notes) and Joey Porter(notes) called "a tough little guy", and I predicted that with Arizona's debaclizing post-Kurt Warner(notes) quarterback situation, Hall might see success sooner than expected. So far, so good.
It was interesting that Saints quarterback Drew Brees(notes) was on the other sideline, as the 6-foot-1 Hall sees the reigning Super Bowl MVP as an inspiration. "I remember thinking after the Saints won the Super Bowl that it might be the best thing to ever happen to me," Hall told me in early September. "He's the perfect example of that -- if you can play, you can play. It doesn't matter what size you are. He's my favorite quarterback in the NFL, that's for sure -- he's a guy I look up to. I try to model my game after him because of the success he's had, and it's been a good thing for me."
"I think there were some good things and some bad things I did," Hall told the media after this game. "I made a lot of mistakes. There are some things that I can learn from and get better. But good thing for me we have a great defense who played outstanding tonight. Not only held them, but had two scores. This win all the credit goes to the defense and how hard those guys played. Offensively, we still have got some work to do. We were able to put a few drives together and get some points. That was a plus, but we still have some work to do execution-wise. Anytime you come out as a quarterback, your first start and get a win especially over a great team like the Saints, the Super Bowl Champs -- what more could you ask for than a win?"
Does that sound like a rookie to you? Me, neither. If I'm Cards head coach Ken Whisenhunt, and I'm trying to make a choice between Derek "Bombs Away!" Anderson and this kid, I know where I'm going for the rest of the season. Like Warner in 1999, Hall could be the NFL's next great out-of-nowhere story.