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All Hail, Maximus!

11 October 2010 Brett Richins 8 Comments
Max Hall win his first NFL start

Max Hall wins in his first NFL start

Former BYU quarterback Max Hall is turning into one of the feel good stories in the NFL.

Even the most ardent Hall fans didn’t seen this coming.

Yesterday he led the Arizona Cardinals to a 30-20 win over the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints.

Hall was supposed to be too small, too slow and have too weak of an arm to play in the NFL. In training camp this summer, Hall looked like a smurf next the the other quarterbacks in camp.

Yet, there he was on Sunday, an undrafted free agent starting against the Super Bowl champs in just his fifth game as a pro.

Never mind that Hall threw an interception and fumbled the ball twice (both fumbles ended up being positive plays for Arizona). Never mind that Max was crushed at the goal line on one of those fumbles. Never mind that he didn’t throw a touchdown and that the Cardinals tallied less than 200 yards of total offense.

In the end it was his grit, his toughness, his leadership and his belief in himself  that had his teammates and coaches talking.

“Max played well for his first start, he had the interception early but after that he came back and bounced back and played a pretty solid game,” said Cardinals safety Kerry Rhodes, who returned a fumble for a touchdown for Arizona.

“I thought Max did a nice job, he made some big time throws for us,” said Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt. “During the course of the game he missed some things, but what I sense from Max is that he’ll get better as he gets more reps and gets more play time.

“He took a pretty good shot just before the half and he was a little bit winded and out of it,” Whisenhunt continued. “But he bounced back and made some plays for us and I think that’s a sign of his competitiveness, but I think what I also like is his understanding of what’s going on.

“A couple of times when we made mistakes, he came off the field and said ‘Why wasn’t this guy here, or why wasn’t that guy there?’, so to me that shows that a guy is dialed in.”

Hall completed 17-27 (63%) for 168 yards through the air and led Arizona on a touchdown drive and three drives that resulted in field goals. It was enough to keep the Cardinals in the game and made Arizona’s two defensive touchdowns mean something in the end.

The performance of the gutty rookie seemed to energize the entire Cardinal team.

The general sense you got from reading reports prior to Sunday’s game is that Max has won over his teammates in Arizona. They see him as a leader, someone with fire in his belly. It’s an attribute that the Cardinals have been searching for since the retirement of Kurt Warner.

It’s an attribute that veteran Matt Liehart failed to demonstrate, and a main reason why Hall beat out the former Heisman Trophy winner for a spot on the Arizona roster. It had a lot to do with why he was named the starter this week over Derek Anderson as well.

Trying to project how successful a quarterback will be in the NFL these days is only slightly better than shooting craps. The history of the league is littered with guys with size and a cannon for an arm, that have been complete busts.

Over and over, the world of athletics shows us that what is deep down inside a player matters more than his physical prowess.

Whether or not Max continues to improve and impress and holds on to the starting job in Arizona, only time will tell. One thing is for sure though, I would put a winner like Hall on the field every time over a guy that has all the measurables, but lacks the will to win.

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8 Comments »

  • Ryan F said:

    Some lucky breaks, but a great way to start!

  • Converted Cougar said:

    I’ll be the first to admit, I wasn’t a huge Max Hall fan. I loved his grit and fire, but I always felt he was successful becasue of his supporting cast. I am quickly starting to change my tune though. The guy is a winner! I read an interview with one of the LB’s for the Cardinals and I guess Max got in his face before the game and told him to “Get his mind right.” The LB loved it. Here’s this undrafted QB getting in his face to go out there and make it happen. Hall is a leader and he’s not afraid of anything. I’m officially on the Max Hall bandwagon!!!

    P.s. I believe the LB was Clark Haggans, who is an 11 year NFL vet.

  • stirling said:

    I have been a Max fan all along. He is a winner. He delivered so many great games as the BYU QB. I have never been so invested in an NFL game as I was on Sunday. Sometimes you need lots of luck on your side. I wish Max well. I was gonna be a Ravens fan this year…..go Cards :)

  • Hoax said:

    I’m a big believer/supporter of Hall since the beginning, and I’m thrilled to see his success translating into the NFL. Let’s face it, he’s a hated guy by a lot of “fans” in this state. He’s basically just pointing back at them and laughing now. As he should. Proving the doubters wrong time and time again.

    Congrats Max!!

  • Aaron said:

    I’ve always been a huge fan of Hall. The guy is a winner, period. I recall after his Utah outburst last season (which by the way, I thought was hilarious), there were a lot of Coug fans around me saying, “He’s a good QB, but I’m ready for him to move on and say goodbye to BYU.” In every instance I replied, “I think you’ll be eating your words next season.” Nothing against Heaps, as I think he’s going to be another great one eventually, but we sure could use some of Hall’s heart, grit and fire this season.

    Way to go, Max!

  • oceanographer said:

    It’s funny that many Utah fans will say that McMahon is their favorite BYU quarterback and that they dislike Max the most.

    I think that Max is closer to McMahon than any other quarterback that came after. I think that, like McMahon, he also has a chance to really excel in the NFL.

  • manaen said:

    I’ve always been a huge fan of Max Hall all along. Those earlier comments I wrote about him were from someone else. Really.

  • Chris said:

    1 win is nice. Not go validate it with a good season.

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