Warner during Cardinals game in Dec. 2009
|No. 10, 13|
|Date of birth:||June 22 1971|
|Place of birth:||Burlington, Iowa|
|Height: 6 ft 2 in||Weight: 241 lbs|
|National Football Debut|
|Debut: 1994 for the Green Bay Packers|
Last game: 2009 for the Arizona Cardinals
|High school:||Regis (Iowa)|
|College:||Northern Iowa (2006-2009)|
|NFL Draft:||1994 / Undrafted|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Pro Football Hall of Fame|
Kurtis Eugene "Kurt" Warner (born June 22, 1971 in Burlington, Iowa) is a former American football quarterback. He retired after the 2009 season. He was originally signed by the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent in 1994. He played collegiately for the Northern Iowa Panthers.
Warner is best known for his stint with the St. Louis Rams from 1998 to 2003, where he won two NFL MVP awards in 1999 and 2001, as well as the Super Bowl MVP award in Super Bowl XXXIV. Behind Steve Young and Peyton Manning, Warner is ranked third all-time in career passing rating (93.8). He also holds the distinction of being the most accurate quarterback in NFL history, with a career completion percentage of 65.5%.
High school and college[edit | edit source]
Warner played football at Regis High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and went on to do the same at the University of Northern Iowa. At] Northern Iowa, Warner watched two quarterbacks battle out until his senior year. When Warner was finally given the chance to start, he was named the Gateway Conference's Offensive Player of the Year.
Arena Football and NFL Europe[edit | edit source]
After completing his college career at the University of Northern Iowa, he attended the Green Bay Packers training camp in 1994, but was released before the regular season began. Warner later worked at the Cedar Falls Hy-Vee grocery store as a stocker 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 both 1996 and 1997 as he led the Barnstormers to Arena Bowl appearances in both seasons. He was also on a 20 player list of the best arena football players of all time.
NFL career[edit | edit source]
St. Louis Rams[edit | edit source]
1999 season[edit | edit source]
Warner was the backup quarterback for the St. Louis Rams during the 1998 regular season and the 1999 preseason. When starting quarterback Trent Green was injured in a preseason game, Warner took over as the starter. With the support of running back Marshall Faulk and wide receivers Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, Az-Zahir Hakim and Ricky Proehl, Warner completed one of the top seasons by a quarterback in NFL history by throwing for 4,353 yards with 41 touchdown passes and a completion rate of 65.1%. The Rams' high-powered offense was nicknamed "The Greatest Show on Turf" and registered the first in a string of three consecutive 500-point seasons, an NFL record.
Warner's breakout season from a career in anonymity was so unexpected that Sports Illustrated featured him on their October 18th cover with the caption "Who IS this guy?"  He was named the 1999 NFL MVP at the season's end.
In the NFL playoffs, Warner led the Rams to a Super Bowl XXXIV victory against the Tennessee Titans. He threw for two touchdowns and a Super Bowl record 414 passing yards, including a 73-yard touchdown to Isaac Bruce when the game was tied with just over two minutes to play. Warner also set a Super Bowl record by attempting 45 passes without a single interception.
Warner was awarded the 1999 Super Bowl MVP, becoming one of only six players to win both the league MVP and Super Bowl MVP awards in the same year. The others are Bart Starr in 1966, Terry Bradshaw in 1978, Joe Montana in 1989, Emmitt Smith in 1993, and Steve Young in 1994.
2000 season[edit | edit source]
Warner started the 2000 season well, 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. Warner broke his hand and missed the middle of the 2000 campaign, but Trent Green filled in ably 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 just one player, would surpass the single-season record set by Dan Marino (5,084 yards). In contrast to his previous season, however, Warner's turnover ratio drastically increased in 2000, throwing an interception in 5.2% of his attempts. Due to a very poor defensive unit, the Rams were eliminated from the playoffs in the wild card round by the Saints despite one of the most productive offensive years by an NFL team. Nine of the Rams' eleven defensive starters would be cut during the offseason, and Green was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs.
2001 season[edit | edit source]
Warner quickly returned to form in 2001. Although his season lagged behind his 1999 performance, he amassed a league-high 36 touchdown passes and 4,830 passing yards, a total second only to Dan Marino all-time. Warner lacked the consistancy he showed in 1999, however, by throwing a career-high 22 interceptions, despite completing a career-high 68.7% of his passes. He led "The Greatest Show on Turf" to an NFL-best 14-2 record and an appearance in Super Bowl XXXVI, which the heavily favored Rams lost to the Patriots. He was named the NFL MVP for the second time at the close of the season, giving the Rams their third winner in as many years (running back Marshall Faulk won in 2000).
In Super Bowl XXXVI Warner threw for 365 yards and a passing touchdown along with two interceptions and one rushing touchdown. After falling behind the Patriots 17-3, two Warner touchdowns tied the game late in the fourth quarter. The game ended when Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri booted a game-winning field goal as time expired, giving the Patriots the first of three Super Bowl wins in four years. Warner's 365 yards passing was second only to his own record of 414 in Super Bowl XXXIV.
2002-2003 seasons[edit | edit source]
Going into 2002, observers noticed a distinct loss of velocity on Warner's throws in the 2002 preseason. Warner began the season 0-3 as a starter, throwing seven interceptions against only one touchdown. In their fourth game against the Dallas Cowboys, Warner broke a finger on his throwing hand, and despite attempting to come back later in the season, his injury only allowed him to play two more games (both losses). In contrast to his 103.4 career passer rating entering the season, Warner posted a minuscule 67.4 rating in 2002. Warner was replaced as the Rams' starting quarterback after fumbling six times in the opener of the 2003 season against the New York Giants. Warner's replacement as the Rams quarterback, Marc Bulger, would be named to two Pro Bowls and is currently third all-time in completion percentage (trailing only Warner and Chad Pennington).
New York Giants[edit | edit source]
The Rams released Warner on June 1, 2004. Two days later, he signed a two-year deal with the New York Giants.
Warner started the 2004 season as the starting quarterback, winning five of his first seven games, but following several poor performances in a two-game losing streak, rookie quarterback Eli Manning was given the starting job. Giants coach Tom Coughlin later stated that he regretted starting Warner and should have played Manning from the beginning in order to give him experience and build his confidence. The Giants had a 5-4 win-loss record at the time of Warner's benching, finishing at 6-10 overall (going only 1-6 under Manning).
Arizona Cardinals[edit | edit source]
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. Warner posted three relatively mediocre performances before injuring his groin and being replaced by former starter Josh McCown. McCown played in two games during Warner's injury, performing well enough that Green named McCown the starter for the remainder of the season.
The change in Warner's status led many sports analysts (including Dan Marino) to conclude that Warner's days of being a starting quarterback in the NFL were over. After McCown struggled in two straight games, however, Green re-inserted Warner into the starting line-up. After playing fairly well in two consecutive losses (passing for a total of nearly 700 yards), Warner defeated his former team, the Rams, by a score of 38-28. He passed for 285 yards and three touchdowns while posting a quarterback rating of 115.9. Warner's season ended in Week 15 when he partially tore his MCL.
Warner signed a new three-year deal with the Cardinals on February 14, 2006. The deal has a base salary of $18 million and, with performance incentives, could be worth as much as $22 million.
In Week One of the 2006 NFL season Warner won the NFC Offensive Player of the Week award, throwing for 301 yards and three touchdowns in a win over San Francisco. Two weeks later Warner passed the 20,000-yards passing milestone in his 76th game, one game more than record holder Dan Marino, although Marino accomplished the feat in his 5th season while Warner was in his 9th.
After three subpar games in Weeks 2-4, Warner was replaced at quarterback by rookie Matt Leinart in the fourth quarter of Week 4. Then-coach Dennis Green stated that Warner would be the backup quarterback for the remainder of the season. In Week 16, quarterback Matt Leinart went down with a shoulder injury against the 49ers, forcing Warner to see his first action since Week 4. Warner filled in nicely, as he was able to hang on for the Cardinals win. In Week 17 against the San Diego Chargers, Warner started again in place of the injured Leinart. Warner threw for 365 yards (which led the NFL for that week) and a touchdown, however the Chargers were able to hang on for a 27-20 win.
The Arizona Cardinals were 3-15 with a winning percentage of .167 in games that Warner had started, including winless in 2007.
In 2007, during the week 3 game against the Baltimore Ravens, Warner came off the bench to relieve an ineffective Matt Leinart during the 2nd and 4th quarters (the Ravens were leading 23-6 at the beginning of the 4th quarter). He led a furious comeback as he completed 15 passes out of 20 attempted for 258 yds and 2 TDs. This brought them to a tie game (23-23), but after a Ravens last second field goal, Arizona lost the game 26-23.
On September 30, 2007, during the week 4 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Warner relieved Leinart, following another ineffective start. Warner finished with 14/21 for 132 yards with one touchdown pass and no interceptions. Leinert reentered the game in the 4th quarter, and led the Cardinals to their final touchdown. After Leinart was placed on IR Warner was named starter for the remainder of the 2007 season. Warner passed for a career-high 484 yards against the 49ers in a 37–31 loss on November 25, but had a fumble in the end zone in overtime that was recovered by Tully Banta-Cain to lose the game. However, the following week showed an improvement for Warner and the Cardinals, as the above-mentioned victory over the Browns brought his team to 6–6 and kept them in the chase for the NFC Wild Card playoff spot.
Warner finished the 2007 season with 27 passing touchdowns, just one shy of the Cardinals franchise record. Warner's performance earned him a 1 million dollar bonus for the year, and he fell just short of attaining a 90.0+ passer rating, which would have given him an extra $500,000. Nonetheless, Warner's 3,417 passing yards, 27 touchdown passes, and 89.8 passer rating were all his best since the 2001 season.
Matt Leinart was named the Cardinals starter going in to the off-season for 2008, but Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt stated that it would be very possible for Warner to be the starter before Week 1 of the 2008 NFL season. Indeed, Warner was named the starter on August 30, 2008. That season, Warner had 4,583 passing yards, 30 touchdowns and a completion percentage of almost 70%. On December 16, 2008 Warner was named the starting quarterback for the NFC team in the 2009 Pro Bowl
On December 7, 2008, Warner led the Cardinals to a 34–10 win over his former team, the St. Louis Rams, securing for the Cardinals the NFC West Division title and their first playoff berth since 1998. It was the Cardinals' first division title since 1975 and third of the post-merger era. As a result, the Cardinals would play only their second home playoff game ever, as they had never played a home playoff game in St. Louis despite winning two division titles.
On January 3, 2009, Warner led the Cardinals in their defeat of the Atlanta Falcons 30–24 at home in the first round of the playoffs. During the game Warner went 19 for 32, a completion rating of 59.4%, for 271 yards. He threw two touchdowns and one interception. This win represented the first time the Cardinals had won a post-season home game since the 1947 NFL Championship Game.
On January 10, 2009, Warner led the Cardinals in their 20-point defeat of the Carolina Panthers 33-13 in Charlotte, North Carolina in the second round of the playoffs. During the game Warner went 22 for 32, a completion rating of 65.6%, for 220 yards. He threw 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. This win represented the first time the Cardinals won a game in the 2008-2009 National Football League season and post-season on the East Coast of the United States.
On January 18, 2009, Warner led the Cardinals to a 32-25 win in the NFC Championship game over the Philadelphia Eagles, completing 21 of 28 passes for 279 yards and 4 touchdowns, without committing an interception.
Retirement from pro football[edit | edit source]
On January 29, 2010 at 1:00 PM, Kurt Warner announced his retirement from the NFL. He said he was looking forward to finally being a true father to his seven kids, and that he wanted to spend time with his wife. He spoke on the impact and influence of his family, former teammates, and God. He will be eligible for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame following the 2014 season.
Warner became an Iowa Barnstormers broadcaster for the 2011 Arena Football League season. On May 22, 2010 he was inducted into the Arena Football Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the Iowa Barnstormers Hall of Fame.
In 2011, after an injury to quarterback Jay Cutler, rumors circulated about Warner, along with either Donovan McNabb and Brett Favre, joining the Chicago Bears to be the second-string after the failures of Caleb Hanie. Unlike McNabb and Favre, who were willing to fill in, Warner denied these rumors. The Bears ultimately signed Josh McCown.
References[edit | edit source]
- Warner, 2-time MVP, hangs up jersey. Retrieved on 29 January 2010.
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