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Kurt Warner (Kurtis Eugene Warner) was born on June 22, 1971 in Burlington, Iowa. After going to high school at Regis (Cedar Rapids, IA), Warner attended the University of Northern Iowa. Warner made his professional debut in the NFL in 1998 with the St. Louis Rams. He has played for the St. Louis Rams, Arizona Cardinals and New York Giants over the course of his 9 year career.
Most people believe that 1999 was Kurt Warner's best year, as he threw for 4353 yards, tossed 41 TDs and put up a 109.2 passer rating.
Kurtis ("Kurt") Eugene Warner (b. June 22 1971, Burlington, Iowa) is a professional American football quarterback. He is best known for his stint with the St. Louis Rams between the 1999 and 2001 NFL seasons, concluding in two MVP awards (1999 and 2001) and a championship in Super Bowl XXXIV with a 23-16 victory over the Tennessee Titans. Warner also led the Rams to Super Bowl XXXVI, where they lost to the New England Patriots, 20-17.
Warner's story is considered one of the most inspirational in the history of American sports. He grew up in an abusive family situation and, after years of anonymity and tribulation, he had a brief stint as a top-flight NFL quarterback. Warner studied and played football at Regis High School (now Xavier High School) in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and went on to do the same at University of Northern Iowa. During college, he met his future wife Brenda (who also grew up in an abusive family situation and had an abusive previous marriage), whom he married in 1997 and adopted her two children, son Zachary and daughter Jesse. They also have 5 children of their own: sons Elijah and Kade, daughter Jada, and twin girls Sierra Rose and Sienna Rae. Warner and Brenda are both born-again Christians.
After college, he attended the Green Bay Packers training camp in 1994, but was released from the team. Later he worked at the Cedar Falls Hy-Vee Food Store stocking shelves before being signed by the Iowa Barnstormers of the Arena Football League, in 1995. Warner was named to the AFL's All-Arena First Team in 1996 and 1997 as he led the Barnstormers to ArenaBowl appearances in both seasons.
St. Louis Rams
1999 Season:"The Greatest Show on Turf"
Warner was the backup quarterback for the St. Louis Rams during the preseason of the 1999-2000 season, but when starter Trent Green was injured in the Rams' third preseason game, Warner was forced to take the reins of the offense. Ironically, Rams Coach Dick Vermeil was neither happy nor confident about putting in Warner as the starter, and would not have done so if experienced backup quarterback Paul Justin had not been injured. In fact, at a press conference, Vermeil said that he was hoping Warner could just hold the team together and win a game or two while they waited for Justin to be ready to play. Of course, Warner did much more than simply hold the team together, seemingly coming out of nowhere to post one of the most potent QB campaigns in league history.
At first, Warner was deemed a fluke (Sports Illustrated asked, "Who is this guy?" about Warner on the cover of their October 18, 1999 issue), but as the season progressed and Warner continued his astounding production, the accurate-throwing QB became known as the ringleader (along with running back Marshall Faulk and wide receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt) of "The Greatest Show on Turf" -- one of the highest-scoring offenses ever. Warner's magical season, in which he tossed a staggering 41 touchdown passes, is generally regarded as one of the top seasons by a quarterback in NFL history, and Warner emerged as the symbol of the Rams' giant turnaround in 1999. The St. Louis offense registered the first in a string of 3 consecutive 500-point seasons, an NFL record.
In the NFL playoffs, Warner led the St. Louis Rams to a Super Bowl XXXIV victory against the Tennessee Titans. He threw for a record 414 passing yards and 2 touchdowns, including a 73 yard touchdown strike to Bruce when the game was tied with just over 2 minutes to play. He was Super Bowl MVP in 1999, becoming one of the select few to win both the League MVP and Super Bowl MVP in the same year. The others are Bart Starr in 1966, Terry Bradshaw in 1978, Joe Montana in 1989, Emmitt Smith in 1993, Steve Young in 1994. Warner also set a Super Bowl record in the game by throwing 45 passes without a single interception.
Warner started the 2000 season red-hot, racking up 300 or more passing yards in each of his first 6 games (tying Steve Young's record) and posting 19 touchdown passes in that stretch. Also in 2000, former St. Louis Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz replaced the retired Dick Vermeil as Rams' head coach. Their relationship would start off warm (like that between Warner and Vermeil) and would remain that way for the next few years. Warner broke his hand and missed the middle of the 2000 campaign, but Trent Green was able to step in and the Warner/Green duo led the Rams to the highest team passing yard total in NFL history, with 5,232 net yards. Warner and Green's combined gross passing yard total was 5,492, which if held by only one, would easily surpass 5,084 yards, the single-season record set by Dan Marino. For the first time in his short career, though, Warner showed a disturbing tendency to lock onto receivers and force turnovers; he threw an interception in 5.2% of his passing attempts (18 int. in 347 attempts). Still, an injured Warner was one of the most formidable passers in the NFL. Due to a very poor defensive unit, though, the Rams were eliminated from the playoffs in the Wild Card round despite one of the most productive offensive years by a team ever. In response to the poor defensive performance, nine of the Rams' eleven defensive starters would be cut during the off-season.
2001 Season and Super Bowl XXXVI
Warner quickly returned to form in the 2001 season. Though his season lagged behind his fantastic 1999, Warner still turned heads, amassing 36 TD passes and 4,800 passing yards, a total second only to Dan Marino all-time, but lacked the accuracy he showed in 1999 by throwing 22 interceptions. Warner led the "Greatest Show on Turf" to a 14-2 record and returned the Rams to the Super Bowl in 2002. For the second time, he was named the league's Most Valuable Player, but fans will always look at Super Bowl XXXVI as the moment when Warner's career began to go downhill.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick, determined to slow down Martz's high-flying, Warner-led attack, jammed Warner's receivers at the line and hit them hard when they did get their hands on the ball, disrupting the offense's timing and confusing the normally in-control Warner throughout the game. The defensive-minded Belichick approached the game as a sort of chess match with Martz, a coach considered to be an offensive genius. Belichick's game plan disrupted Warner's timing with the fleet Ram receivers by taking advantage of the 5-yard chuck rule, and the Patriot defense's constant attention to Marshall Faulk only made Warner's job that much harder. Martz seemed determined to beat New England with the pass, but Warner turned skittish and mistake-prone when the blocking broke down: he tossed two interceptions in the game (one was returned for a touchdown by Ty Law), and was sacked several times as well. Still, Warner ran for a touchdown early in the 4th quarter, and he threw a touchdown pass to Ricky Proehl that tied the score with 1:30 remaining in regulation (though Vinatieri would kick a last-second field goal for the win on the ensuing possession). Despite his foibles, Warner managed to cobble together a passable performance in the game, throwing for 365 yards and a touchdown (with 2 interceptions), while also scoring a rushing touchdown; the 365 passing yards were the second-highest total in Super Bowl history, behind Warner's own record in Super Bowl XXXIV.
Going into 2002, analysts felt that Warner's Super Bowl XXXVI loss was an aberration, but observers noticed a distinct loss of velocity on Warner's throws in the 2002 preseason. Warner went 0-6 as a starter to begin the regular season, again turning over the ball with interceptions on 5% of his passing attempts. On September 29, 2002, Warner broke his finger, effectively ending his season. Having entered the year with a 103.4 career passer rating, Warner posted a minuscule 67.4 rating in 2002. Meanwhile, Warner's understudy, Marc Bulger, looked like the Warner of old: accurate, quick to read coverage’s and deadly in the red zone.
Naturally, controversy brewed in St. Louis after the season over which QB should lead the Rams in 2003. Martz stood by the erstwhile Warner despite fans' calls to replace him with Bulger and an embarrassing situation in which Warner's wife, Brenda, called a local radio station to complain that the Rams organization and Martz did not provide Warner sufficient medical care when his hand was broken. In fact, Brenda stated that she (as a registered nurse) was the one who advised Warner to go to an orthopaedist and get a second opinion. These actions led to a major controversy that Warner had to play down. Nonetheless, Martz supported Warner and gave him the first start of 2003, against the New York Giants. Warner struggled, fumbling six times, throwing an interception, and it was later learned that he had played the game with a concussion. Even though Warner declared the next week that the concussion was a minor one and that he was fine (an opinion also backed up by the medical staff), he would not see action again until the final game of the season—while in between Bulger again put up decent numbers (22 touchdowns, but also 22 interceptions) with Warner conspicuously on the sidelines.
Fans and experts continue to debate the Rams' decision to start Bulger. The pro-Warner side of this debate argues that despite an on-going controversy all year and a playoff loss with three interceptions by Bulger, Martz simply made it clear that this time there would be no controversy: Warner was definitely the odd man out. The other side, which tends not to be pro-Bulger or anti-Warner, argues that Warner was not benched because of the Giants game alone (in spite of Martz's vocal support for him in the off-season). Rather, the Giants game was just one more in a series of set-backs going back to the 2002 season. This side argues that for whatever reasons, Warner's play had declined in St. Louis (including an increasing propensity for untimely turnovers), that he had lost the team, and that at best only a change of team could resurrect his fortunes.
New York Giants & Arizona Cardinals
The Rams released Warner for salary cap reasons on June 1, 2004. Two days later, he signed a two-year deal to be the quarterback for the New York Giants. Warner began 2004 as New York's starting quarterback, winning five of the season's first seven games, but following a short losing streak, rookie Eli Manning was given the starting job and Warner was again relegated to the bench. Coach Tom Coughlin later stated that he regretted starting Warner and should have played Manning from the start in order to give him experience and build his confidence. The Giants were 5-4 at the time, and an 8-8 record would have gotten them into the playoffs. After the 2004 season, Warner was still the NFL's all-time leader in passer rating and completion percentage, though he had not taken nearly the number of snaps as other quarterbacks on the list.
In early 2005, Warner signed a one-year, $4-million contract with the Arizona Cardinals, and was quickly named the starter by Coach Dennis Green. However, Warner posted three very mediocre games before injuring his groin and being replaced by former Cards starter Josh McCown. McCown played in two games, including the NFL game in Mexico against the San Francisco 49ers; given his solid numbers and the fact that Warner had not won a single game, Coach Green named McCown the starter and relegated Warner to the backup role.
The change in Warner's status led many sports analysts (including Marino) to conclude that Warner's days of being a starting quarterback in the NFL were over. But after McCown struggled in two straight games, Green re-inserted Warner into the starting line-up. After playing fairly well in two losses (including passing for a total of nearly 700 yards), Warner proved he could still be successful by defeating his former team, the Rams, 38-28, in St. Louis. He passed for 285 yards, three touchdowns, and posted a quarterback rating of 115.9 for the game and was named the NFC FedEx Express player of the week. Warner's season ended in week 15, when he injured his knee and an MRI revealed that he had a partial tear of the MCL.
Warner signed a three-year deal with the Cardinals on 2/14/06 following the 2005 season. Warner remains the most accurate quarterback in NFL history, with a career completion percentage of 65.7.
- Warner's number 13 was retired by the Iowa Barnstormers during halftime of a 2000 home game against the Tampa Bay Storm.
- Warner's number 13 was retired by the Amsterdam Admirals before the 2003 season started.
- Warner's number was actually 12 in high school, as his favorite quarterback growing up was Roger Staubach.
- Warner chose the number 13, as a friend of his, Jonathan Keenum, told him that people consider 13 unlucky, but he (Warner) can prove them wrong.
- Warner's First Things First Foundation
- Warner's Good Sports Gang
- Kurt Warner at NFL.com
- Kurt Warner at azcardinals.com
- Kurt Warner at ArenaFan Online
- Pro-Football-Reference.com: Kurt Warner
Strengths: Still possesses one of the most accurate arms in NFL history. Excels on timing routes and short passes. Has good vision and a very quick release. Reads defenses reasonably well, and has the leadership qualities to guide a contending team.
Weaknesses: Does not have much in the way of arm strength, and struggles on downfield throws. Is an exceedingly streaky player who will make truly awful decisions when faced with pressure. Has zero mobility and very little pocket awareness. Is fumble-prone, and one of the most fragile quarterbacks in the NFL today.
|9 year NFL career||81||2508||1645||65.6||20591||8.21||125||83||190||1235||93.8|
|9 year NFL career||81||117||263||2.2||2||0|
Fumble Recovery Stats
|9 year NFL career||81||67||6||0||-38||0|
|9 year NFL career||81||1||0||0||0||0|
- Won the AP NFL MVP in 1999 and 2001
- Won the Bert Bell MVP Trophy (Maxwell Club) in 1999
- Won the PFWA MVP in 1999
- Won the Super Bowl MVP in 1999