Kurt Warner – an ordinary person? Come on! In his 12 years with the NFL he earned two MVP trophies, a Super Bowl title, three Super Bowl appearances and passed for of 32,000 yards. How can that be ordinary? This is his story now, and not where his story began.
But before I talk about that, I wanted to send out this heart felt thank you to Kurt Warner for all that he did for us devoted football fans in St. Louis and for the extraordinary person that he is. I still have my Kurt Warner football jersey that I wore when the St. Louis Rams won the Super Bowl in 1999. While St. Louis is known for baseball, our town is a great sports town. There were many a die-hard Cardinals football fan who braved the outside elements (I think my toes have finally thawed out after a Thanksgiving Redskins vs. Cardinals game) to support their team. The Cardinals never came close to ever going to the Super Bowl. Our city was so shocked when the Cardinals left to move to Arizona. So when the Rams came to St. Louis, we were elated. I will forever love Kurt Warner for his story, his humility and for redeeming devoted St. Louis football fans by taking our team to the Super Bowl.
After he finished college, Warner was not drafted by the NFL. He had an invitation to try out for the Green Bay Packers but was told that he wasn’t ready for the NFL even though he had great potential.
To pay his bills he stocked shelves at the Hy-Vee grocery store. Undaunted by the rejections in the NFL, he turned to the Arena Football League. His performance was so impressive that he was picked up by the St. Louis Rams in 1998.
Kurt started with the Rams as the third-string quarterback and was promoted to second string. Trent Green was the first-string quarterback until he suffered a torn ACL. When Green was hurt I thought, ‘Oh, no! We have a football team again that could be a winner and now we’ve lost our quarterback.’ Kurt Warner (Who?) stepped in and there was no looking back. He put together one of the top seasons by a quarterback in NFL history and took the Rams to the Super Bowl winning the Super Bowl trophy and NFL MVP honors. (Time Magazine’s cover said – Who is This Guy?)
In 2001 Kurt Warner led the St. Louis Rams to another Super Bowl. We didn’t win this time, but it was quite a game. Kurt would leave the Rams in 2004, go to the New York Giants, be riddled with injuries and benched a lot. In 2005 he was signed by the Arizona Cardinals, still battling injuries and not always being the starter quarterback. He triumphed again, leading the Arizona Cardinals to their first Super Bowl in 2008.
Whenever Kurt Warner speaks about his accomplishments, his struggles, and his triumphs, he always gives credit to God leading and guiding him and to his personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
His twelve year journey in the NFL was full of ups and downs. But he kept on keeping on using the gifts and talents that God had given him.
I happened to be at the gym when his retirement speech came on. I stopped and listened to it. This speech is one of those most genuine, classy, and heart-felt speeches that you will ever hear. It’s so inspiring that I have watched it several times.
Kurt Warner’s life is a beautiful example of God using an ordinary person to lead an extraordinary life. In the speech he talks about the Bible and how the Bible is full of stories of ordinary people and how God uses them in an extraordinary way.
I couldn’t let this event pass without acknowledging what a beautiful example of faith that Kurt Warner has set for all of us. I know that I am inspired by his story and that because of his persistence, I will persist in reaching for the dreams that God has given me. I hope that you will too.
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