Tampa, Fla. • Kurt Warner had a few words to say about his future, but they didn’t add up to much:
“I don’t know. There are so many emotions that go into making that decision.
“There are things that make you want to come back. There are things that make you want to have a little bit of a break.
“I don’t want to make emotional decisions on anything. I enjoyed this season. I enjoyed this team. I’m going to reflect on it for a while. We’ll go from there.”
But anybody looking for a clue could point to the fact that Warner then talked about how the Cardinals looked to him for leadership, that, “They have a lot of confidence in me when we spread it out and throw the football.
“We’ve done it very well this year.”
WARNER’S LEGACY IN SUPER BOWLS
To some football observers, including those who vote for pro football’s Hall of Fame, the result of this game was viewed as a litmus test for Warner’s eventually candidacy.
Coach Ken Whisenhunt said he was particularly disappointed that the Cardinals couldn’t win the game for their 37-year old leader.
Warner noted that he’s 1-2 in Super Bowls — he played in two for St. Louis — that will be remembered as classics.
“That’s the only bad part,” he said of the final outcomes.
“When you come to these games, you want to be part of the greatest games.
“I’ve been fortunate in three Super Bowls to be part of three great football games. I’m definitely proud of that.
“Would I have liked to have one or two more? No question. But I’m proud of the fact I’ve been able to come and play in some of the greatest Super Bowls ever.”
Warner certainly came up big in the big games, throwing for 300-plus yards in each, including 377 in Sunday's loss to the Steelers.
OLD HABITS DIE HARD
The Cardinals, who had done such a good job this season of lowering their penalties — they were the worst in the league the previous season — killed themselves in that area Sunday.
They pinned themselves back with several holding penalties and had three personal fouls on a single drive that helped the Steelers eat more than half the third quarter.
For the game, they racked up 11 penalties for 106 yards.
Mike Gandy had three holding penalties. The Cardinals had three personal fouls on one third-quarter Steelers drive.
“That hurt,” Whisenhunt said. “It was very discouraging in how it affected us in the game. That’s the way it goes sometimes.”
Asked about officiating, Whisenhunt would only say, “It seemed like there were a lot of penalties that were called on us.
“It’s difficult to overcome that.”
He said he hoped that Warner’s fumble with 5 seconds left would be reviewed because, “It looked like he was trying to throw it.”
WARNER NAMED MAN OF YEAR
Warner won the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award, the only league award that combines on-field excellence with community work.
“I am humbled the Lord has given me such an amazing life to impact others,” Warner said. “Of all the awards given to NFL athletes … (this) is the one that stands out above the rest to me because of what it represents.
“When people look back at my career, I want them to see a fierce competitor, but more importantly, I want to be remembered for my consistency of character and the legacy I hope to leave.”
Other finalists were Minnesota’s Matt Birk and Philadelphia’s Brian Dawkins.
The selection panel was made up of commissioner Roger Goodell, former commissioner Paul Taglibue, Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz, Peter King of Sports Illustrated, football greats Jack Kemp and Frank Gifford, Connie Payton and last year’s winner, Jason Taylor.
HOTEL’S LUCK RUNS OUT
The Cardinals, as is often the practice for a Super Bowl, switched from the Grand Hyatt hotel near the bridge to St. Petersburg to an undisclosed hotel.
That way, the better to prevent people with no business with them from intruding.
The hotel boasted an 8-0 record for college and pro teams staying there.
NO SURPRISES ON ROSTER
The inactive list was as expected: cornerback Eric Green; fullback Tim Castille, linebacker Victor Hobson, tackles Elliot Vallejo and Brandon Keith, defensive tackle Alan Branch and tight end Jerame Tuman.
For the Steelers, not active were safety Anthony Smith, cornerback Fernando Bryant, linebacker Bruce Davis, tackles Tony Hills and Jason Capizzi and defensive linemen Scott Paxson and Orpheus Roye.
Temperature at kickoff was 63 degrees, with a 3 mph breeze.