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MOORE: Warner still has a way to go before he's Lord of the Rings

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David Moore

David Moore has been the senior football writer for FOX Sports since Aug. 2005. He appears weekly on the FSN Baseball Report and MLB on FOX. One more line lorem ipsum dolor sit amet e pluribus unum.

 
   
 

NEW ORLEANS

Kurt Warner first broached the subject at the end of last season after St. Louis' attempt to repeat as Super Bowl champion failed. In speaking with teammates over the next few days, Warner let them know if the Rams had to skip a year before picking up their next championship, it was fine. He assured them there would be another. "He said he wanted to do what no quarterback had done before, which was win five championships," receiver Torry Holt said. "I was like, yeah. I was excited. Pumped. "That just goes to show you the drive he has, the competitiveness, to be the best. You want to be associated with him. You want to be around a guy like that." Teammates and friends will tell you Warner is remarkably competitive. He can be inconsolable after a loss, an emotional state he's experienced only twice in the last 12 months. Those same people also tell you the Pro Bowl quarterback can be a little naïve in his public comments. His declaration the other day falls into that category. "I know there's never been a quarterback that has won five Super Bowls," Warner said. "So if I have one goal and one thing I would love to be remembered for, it would be to win five." It's one thing to make those comments in a private setting with people who share the same hope. It's another to articulate them in public. Five Super Bowl rings? San Francisco's Joe Montana and Pittsburgh's Terry Bradshaw never got past four, and they played in an era where the salary cap wasn't the team's greatest opponent. Two years after answering questions about his rise from a grocery sacker to an NFL quarterback, Warner has returned to the Super Bowl and offered that his goal is to do what no one else has ever done. If Warner weren't so genuine, so down home likeable, you would think he was presumptuous. My guess is New England coach Bill Belichick will overlook the obvious and go for presumptuous. His spiel: Warner is already talking about five rings, which means he assumes he's getting his second and we haven't even played the game. The Patriots had a chip on their shoulder pads before Warner's statements. Treated as an afterthought by someone in a Chunky Soup commercial won't help their self-esteem. The Rams keep talking about how this is a special place in time. Maybe it is. But they must be careful to stay rooted in the present and not become obsessed with what they can accomplish. St. Louis has been the best team in the league since the start of the 1999 season. But dominant? Let's look at how they have performed in their biggest games to this point. The Rams scored all of 11 points in the NFC Championship Game three years ago, then followed that with a stop at the 1-yard line to beat Tennessee in the Super Bowl. It took an Aeneas Williams interception in the final minutes to preserve a victory over Philadelphia in Sunday's championship game. This is not a dominant team. This is not a team on the verge of a dynasty, which has been a common theme this week. This is a team that can be beaten. Will the Patriots be the team to do it? Probably not. And in beating New England, the Rams will have two Super Bowl titles in a three-year span. But dominant? The Rams must win again next year to match the three-in-four that the Dallas Cowboys accomplished during the '90s. They must then extend the streak two further to reach Warner's stated goal. If St. Louis runs the table — and that's not going to happen — the earliest the Rams could win their fifth title under Warner is in 2005. He would be 33 at that point. And counting. Warner stresses that's he's not consumed with overconfidence and overlooking the Patriots. He understands the fine line between success and failure — a line that was crossed on the negative side with last year's first round loss to New Orleans — and believes that lesson has stuck. The fact is this: The Rams winning five championships with Warner is historically — and highly — unlikely. If St. Louis doesn't beat New England on Sunday, it's next to impossible. Warner didn't rile a Patriots team that feels it hasn't received the respect it's due. But he did increase the pressure on St. Louis and set himself up for a big fall. The Rams will argue that's what champions do. St. Louis coach Mike Martz said the three things that set his quarterback apart are accuracy, intelligence and toughness. There's another quality he didn't mention. "I don't think it has anything to do with Xs and Os," running back Marshall Faulk said of Warner's value. "Any other quarterback knows just as much as him. It's just his will and his desire to be the best at what he does. "He perseveres and makes himself what he is." Warner has shown it doesn't matter where you come from that's important. It's where you're going. He and the Rams have a chance to do something special. It's just a little early to talk about it publicly. "Hopefully, man, I'm around to help him," Holt said of the five-ring goal. "It would be great. But that will be hard to do. "Very hard." David Moore can be reached at his e-mail address: dmoore@foxsports.com.

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