Kurt Warner, a proverbial “rags to riches” quarterback was inducted into the Iowa Barnstormers Hall of Fame last night. His NFL career speaks for itself. He was the League MVP winner in 1999 and the Super Bowl XXIV MVP winner. He holds numerous NFL single game and single season records while leading less than stellar teams to records that surpassed belief.
But on this night, he was recognized for what he accomplished before his NFL fame. Originally drafted by…well, nobody, he tried out for the Green Bay Packers. Unfortunately, he was in line behind Brett Favre and Mark Brunell and was sure to never see playing time. So he moved back to his home state of Iowa and was stocking shelves at the local grocery store. Determined to make it to the NFL, he tried out for the local arena football team and won a spot. In his brief stint in the AFL, just 3 years, he took the Barnstormers to the championship game twice.
Warner eventually got picked up by the St. Louis Rams, but they still weren’t ready for him. He got sent over to NFL Europe where he led the league in Passing Yards & Touchdowns. After just one season in NFL Europe, he returned to the states and assumed the backup role behind Trent Green. Only after a pre-season injury sidelined Green did Warner get his chance to shine.
His first season in the league garnered him NFL MVP honors and he never looked back. One day Warner will be honored for his contribution to the NFL, but on this night, he got a chance to return to where it all began.