Kurt Warner

Kurt Warner

:Otheruses4|the American football quarterback|the American football running back|Curt WarnerInfobox NFLactive

caption=Kurt Warner during a 2007 speech.
currentteam=Arizona Cardinals
birthdate=birth date and age|1971|6|22
birthplace=Burlington, Iowa
debutteam=St. Louis Rams
* GFC Player of the Year (1993)
* 3x Pro Bowl selection (1999, 2000, 2001)
* 2x "AP" NFL MVP (1999, 2001)
* Super Bowl MVP (XXXIV)
* Super Bowl champion (XXXIV)
college=Northern Iowa
* Green Bay Packers (1994)*
* Iowa Barnstormers (1995-1997)
* Amsterdam Admirals (1998)
* St. Louis Rams (1998-2003)
* New York Giants (2004)
* Arizona Cardinals (2005-present):*Offseason and/or practice squad member only
statlabel2=Passing yards
statlabel3=QB Rating

Kurtis Eugene "Kurt" Warner (born June 22 1971 in Burlington, Iowa) is an American football quarterback who plays for the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League. He was originally signed by the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent in 1994. He played collegiately at Northern Iowa.

Warner is best known for his highly successful stint with the St. Louis Rams from 1998-2003, 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 second-most accurate quarterback in NFL history, with a career completion percentage of 65.2%, behind Chad Pennington of the Miami Dolphins.

High school and college

Warner played football at Regis High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and went on to the University of Northern Iowa. At UNI, Warner was third on the Panthers' depth chart 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

After completing his college career, he attended the Green Bay Packers training camp in 1994, but was released before the regular season began. Warner returned to Northern Iowa and worked as a graduate assistant coach with the football team, all the while still hoping to get a tryout with an NFL team. With no NFL teams willing to give him a chance, Warner turned to the Arena Football League in 1995 and signed with the Iowa Barnstormers. 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 named on a list of the twenty best arena football players of all timeFact|date=September 2008.

In 1997, Warner was offered an NFL tryout by the Chicago Bears, but an injury to his throwing elbow caused by a venomous spider bite received during his honeymoon prevented him from attending.Fact|date=March 2008

In 1998, Warner was signed by the St. Louis Rams and was allocated to NFL Europe's Amsterdam Admirals.

NFL career

t. Louis Rams

1999 season

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 threw three touchdown passes in each of the first three games in the 1999 season, his first three NFL starts. He is the only NFL quarterback in history to accomplish that feat, and only the second other than Dan Marino to do it in his first two NFL starts.

Warner really drew attention, however, in the season's next game, a home game against the San Francisco 49ers, who had been NFC West division champs for 12 of the previous 13 seasons. The Rams had lost 17 of their previous 18 meetings with the 49ers and had a 3–0 record along with the 49ers' 2–1 record. Warner proceeded to throw three touchdown passes on the Rams' first three possessions of the game and four in the first half to propel the Rams to a 28–10 halftime lead on the way to a 42–20 victory. Warner finished the game with five touchdown passes, giving him 14 in four games and, more importantly, the Rams a 4–0 record.

Warner's breakout season from a career in anonymity was so unexpected that "Sports Illustrated" featured him on their October 18 cover with the caption "Who IS this guy?" [ [http://dynamic.si.cnn.com/si_online/covers/issues/1999/1018.html SI.com - Oct. 18, 1999 ] ] 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 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

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 (compare 2.6% in 1999). Due to a very poor defensive unit, the Rams were eliminated from the playoffs in the wild card round by the New Orleans 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 Trent Green was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs.

2001 season

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 consistency 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 New England 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

Going into 2002, observers noticed a distinct loss of velocity on Warner's throws in the 2002 preseasonFact|date=June 2008. 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

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 confidenceFact|date=June 2008. 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

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 overFact|date=February 2007. 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.

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 are 8-18 with a winning percentage of .308 in games that Warner has started, including one win in 2007 against the favored Cleveland Browns, where he tallied an effective 18 completions from 30 with two touchdown passes and one interception and led his team to a 27-21 victory on December 3, 2007.

In the third game of the 2007 season 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 Matt Leinart following another ineffective start by Leinart. 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 [ [http://www.nfl.com/news/story?id=09000d5d8031e923&template=without-video&confirm=true Leinart out for the season; Cards sign Rattay as backup to Warner ] ] . Warner passed for a career-high 484 yards against the San Francisco 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 offseason for 2008, but Ken Whisenhunt stated that it would be very possible for Warner to be the starter before Week 1 of the 2008 NFL seasonFact|date=June 2008. Warner was named the starter on August 30, 2008.

Through the first two games of the 2008 season, Warner threw for 4 touchdowns, no interceptions, 558 yards, and obtained a passer rating of 128.5. He led the Cardinals to their first 2-0 start in 17 years, and tied Peyton Manning for most career perfect passer rating games (3), in Arizona's win against the Miami Dolphins.

Career stats

Personal life

Kurt Warner was born to parents Gene and Sue Warner on June 22, 1971, and has a brother, Matt Warner and a stepbrother Matt Post. Warner's parents divorced when he was 6. His father, Gene Warner remarried a year later. Warner's stepmother, Mimi Warner, also had a son named Matt (Post); therefore, Kurt actually has two brothers named Matt. The three boys formed a close relationship soon thereafter. He graduated in 1990 from Regis High School in Cedar Rapids, where he distinguished himself as a quarterback of the school's Class 3A football team.

During college, Warner met his future wife, the former Brenda Carney Meoni, whom he married on October 11, 1997. Brenda previously served in the Marines and was divorced with two children when she and Kurt met. Warner agreed to help Brenda raise the children and, after being cut from the Packers' training camp in 1994, got a job working the night shift at a local Hy-Vee grocery store in addition to assistant-coaching at Northern Iowa. Warner was still hoping to get an NFL tryout, but, with that possibility appearing dim and the long hours at the Hy-Vee for minimum wage taking their toll, Warner began his Arena League career.

Warner officially adopted Brenda's two children, son Zachary and daughter Jesse, after their marriage. Zachary currently suffers from motor imbalance due to head injuries sustained when he was accidentally dropped as an infant. The Warners also have 5 children of their own: sons Elijah and Kade, daughter Jada, and twin girls Sierra Rose and Sienna Rae.

Almost a year prior to Kurt and Brenda's marriage, Brenda's parents, Larry and Jenny Carney, were tragically killed in 1996 when their Arkansas home was destroyed by a tornado.

Both Kurt and his wife are active born-again Christians.

On October 24, 2006, he was featured in a political advertisement opposing a bill supporting embryonic stem cell research in Missouri. The advertisement was in response to a pro-embryonic research ad featuring Michael J. Fox. He appeared in the advertisement with James Caviezel, Patricia Heaton, Jeff Suppan, and Mike Sweeney. The advertisement aired during Game 4 of the 2006 World Series.


External links

* [http://www.snopes.com/glurge/warner.htm Kurt Warner: Urban Legend v. Truth] Warner's personal life, marriage, and four children
* [http://www.kurtwarner.org/ Warner's First Things First Foundation]
* [http://www.goodsportsgang.com/ Warner's Good Sports Gang]
* [http://www.nfl.com/players/playerpage/12797 Kurt Warner at NFL.com]
* [http://www.azcardinals.com/team/bio.php?PRKey=5 Kurt Warner at azcardinals.com]
* [http://www.arenafan.com/players/?page=players&player=1661 Kurt Warner at ArenaFan Online]
* [http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/WarnKu00.htm Pro-Football-Reference.com: Kurt Warner]

Further reading

*Warner, Kurt & Silver, Michael, (2000). "All Things Possible". San Francisco: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-251717-1 (cloth) ISBN 0-06-251718-X (paper back).

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