Kurt Warner St. Louis Rams & Arizona Cardinals & New York Giants
Kurt Warner’s unique path to the National Football League started with several seasons of play in the Arena Football League and NFL Europe. He signed as free agent with the St. Louis Rams in 1998 and saw only brief action in the last game of the season when injuries ravaged the Rams quarterbacks.
Warner was abruptly handed the reins as the starting quarterback in 1999 when Trent Green, the Rams’ big free agent acquisition in the offseason, suffered a season-ending knee injury in the preseason. Warner made the most of the opportunity and began a “Cinderella Story” for the ages. With Warner at the helm, he led an explosive offense that scored 526 points. Warner passed for 4,353 yards and a league-leading 41 TDs to post a 109.2 rating, the first of two career passing crowns. He was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player that year as the Rams posted a 13-3-0 mark. The team cruised through the playoffs and capped the magical season with a 23-16 victory over the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV. Warner set a Super Bowl record with 414 passing yards and threw a pair of touchdowns to lead the Rams to their first Super Bowl title and was named the game’s MVP.
He recorded another MVP season two years later when he guided the Rams back to the Super Bowl. His season totals included a league-leading and career-high 4,830 yards and 36 touchdowns to post a 101.4 passer rating.
Warner made a third trek to the Super Bowl during the 2008 season when he led the Arizona Cardinals to the franchise’s first division title since 1975 and its first-ever Super Bowl appearance. He sparked the Cardinals attack that season as he established numerous club records when he completed 401 of 598 passes for 4,583 yards, 30 TDs, and 96.9 passer rating. Warner then guided the Cardinals through the playoffs as he engineered wins over the Atlanta Falcons and the Carolina Panthers. He then led Arizona to a thrilling 32-25 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game as he completed 21 of 28 passes for 279 yards and 4 TDs. He followed that performance by throwing for 377 yards and 3 TDs in a narrow loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII. He was the only quarterback to throw for 300 or more yards in three Super Bowls and the three single-game totals still rank as the top three Super Bowl passing marks.
Named first-team All-Pro twice and selected to four Pro Bowls, Warner racked up 32,344 career yards, threw 208 touchdowns and recorded a 93.7 career passer rating.