The Los Angeles Rams announced that former St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Warner was a three-time finalist, with his first year of eligibility being 2015.
Warner’s history is practically made for film and television. He was an un-drafted rookie in 1994 when he tried out with the Green Bay Packers. On the Packers’ roster that year were Brett Favre, Mark Brunell and Ty Detmer. He was cut, but QB coach at the time, Steve Mariuchi, told Warner he had great potential for the NFL.
After working as a stocker at a local grocery store in Cedar Rapids, IA for $5.50 an hour. In 1995 he won a spot in Arena Football, playing for the Iowa Barnstormers. He achieved great success in Arena Football, but the NFL eluded him until 1998 when he was picked up by St. Louis Rams, who sent him to the Netherlands to play with the Amsterdam Admirals of the NFL Europe League. Once again he proved to be very successful.
In 1998 Warner returned to St Louis where he was the third-string QB behind Tony Banks and Steve Bono. He didn’t have a great season that year, but the following season after letting go of Banks and Bono, the Rams signed Trent Green to be their starting QB and Warner was second in the depth chart. Green tore an ACL in a preseason game so the coach Dick Vermiel promoted Warner to be the starting quarterback, telling everyone, “We will rally around Kurt Warner, and we’ll play good football.”
They actually played great football. Warner threw for 4,353 yards with 41 touchdown passes and a completion rate of 65.1 percent. With running back Marshal Faulk and wide receivers Torry Holt, Al-Zahir Hakeem and Ricky Proehl, they became known as, “The Greatest Show on Turf.” With Warner taking the snaps, the Rams finished with at least 500 points in each of the first three seasons.
In his first season as the starter Warner led the St. Louis Rams to a championship in Super Bowl XXXIV, beating the Tennessee Titans, 23-16. He threw for a record 414 yards and was named the game’s MVP.
Among his list of accomplishments: two-time NFL MVP, four-time Pro Bowl QB, All-Pro twice, the holder of three Super Bowl passing records and he has led teams to the Super Bowl three times: twice with the Rams and once with the Arizona Cardinals. The Cards lost Super Bowl XLIII to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 27-23 after the 2008 season.
After being injured in the playoffs for the 2009 season, Warner announced his retirement from football. It was later learned that coaches for the New Orleans Saints had put a bounty on Warner in that game, but Warner has always maintained the hit that caused the injury was legal.
Rams owner Stan Kroenke said, “Kurt Warner will always be remembered as one of the NFL’s most outstanding quarterbacks. His journey from working the aisles of a grocery store to winning two NFL MVP awards serves as a reminder to never stop pursing your dreams. The Rams enjoyed an incredible run, which included our first Super Bowl title, in large part to his leadership and toughness. Off the field, he and his wife, Brenda, devoted their lives to serving others, and thousands continue to benefit from their outreach initiatives. For these reasons and many more, we congratulate Kurt and his family on this ultimate honor.”
Kurt Warner is a favorite son of St. Louis and a hero with Rams fans around the world. There is no doubt from anyone that Kurt Warner deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.
He is joined in the HoF Class of 2017 by Chargers running back LaDanian Tomlinson, Broncos running back Terrell Davis, Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor, Seahawks safety Kenny Easley, New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons kicker Morten Andersen and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
Top photo: Kurt Warner at the post-game press conference after the Rams
won Super Bowl XXXIV and Warner was named MVP (Wikipedia)