SportsMan of Style: Kurt Warner

Jennifer TaglioneCorrespondent IJanuary 20, 2009

Very glad the Arizona Cardinals won the NFC Championship because if not, this post wouldn’t be as relevant!

My Pick for SportsMan of Style is: Kurt Warner

Who is he?

The veteran quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals; he just led his team to its first Super Bowl!

Why we love him

“Many have said that if my life was a script in Hollywood, it would never be believed. But I am where I am because I believed and never gave up.” ~ Kurt Warner

Really, what is not to love. He is a Disney sports movie in the making. The story of the washed-up, old guy who comes back to life to lead his team to victory. Twice. (See: For the Love of the Game, The Natural, half of the sports movies in existence….)

Oh, and, Kurtis Eugene Warner is a tall, dark, and gorgeous man. Patrick Dempsey would be PERFECT to play him in the movie!

  • He’s 6′2, 220 pounds with a thick head of dark hair that just begs to be touched!
  • He’s 37–which is practically ancient in the football QB world. He just became the third oldest QB to play in the Super Bowl!
  • He is the ultimate family man and a total DILF. Sorry to say it, but it’s so true.
  • He and his wife Brenda have seven kids! Zachary, Kade, Elijach, Jessie, Jada and twins Sienna Rae and Sierra Rose
  • They are born-again Christians who believe in Faith and Family first. (Now I feel bad for the DILF comment…)
  • He was not an overly religious person until he was 25, when his teammates in the Arena Football League introduced him to new ideas. He really had been down on his luck and thought it might be time to put his life and faith in the hands of God. And from that moment, his life changed. His story is so inspirational, it made me want to revisit my own faith.
  • In 2001, Kurt and Brenda started the First Things First Foundation to help promote Christian values and to help others who are less fortunate.

Why I’m loving his style:

The programs in the Foundation are truly remarkable, awe-inspiring, and Kleenex worthy. I cried just reading about them. They include:

  • “We’re going to Disney World!” which is partnered with groups like the Make a Wish Foundation to give children with life-threatening illnesses a chance to fulfill their biggest dream: going to meet Mickey Mouse
  • FTF Ticket Program: designed to encourage community service and help social outreach programs. Participants in the program get to go to games to cheer on the Cardinals, and then have the opportunity to meet Kurt and Brenda after the game to pray with them
  • Children’s Hospital Outreach
  • Home for the Holidays: The program helps to reward and recognize the families that have struggled and sacrificed and finally fulfilled their dreams of owning their own homes by helping them furnish it
  • Special Olympics PPK: where Kurt teaches 50 special olympic athletes the basics of football in a day-long clinic. Other teammates like hottie Larry Fitzgerald help out in three clinics across the country.

And, his work with the foundation is wonderful, but his own personal rise-to-fame story is just as awe-inspiring.

In college, it took him until his senior year before he made it as the starting quarterback. After graduating in 1994 as the Gateway Conference’s offensive player of the year, Kurt failed to make the NFL draft. He did head to the Green Bay Packers summer camp but was cut before the season began.

He spent the next year working as a stocker/bagger in the local grocery store. In 1995, he turned to the Arena Football League, where he made a name for himself as one of the top 20 best AFL players of all time.

In 1998, the St. Louis Rams finally took notice and signed him. He was their backup QB and only played one game with them that season.

But then came 1999. And boy, did he party.

In the 1999 season, Kurt:

  • Started the season with 14 touchdown passes in four games. He had FIVE touchdowns in the game against San Fransisco to the shock of, well, everyone.
  • Made the cover of Sports Illustrated in October with the headline “Who IS this guy?”
  • Completed his breakout season by leading the Rams to the Super Bowl title.
  • Set two huge records in the Super Bowl. He had 45 pass attempts with no interceptions and he also passed for 414 yards.
  • He was named NFL’s MVP and the Super Bowl MVP. The only other players to accomplish the double MVP are Joe Montanta, Emmitt Smith, Terry Bradshaw, Steve Young, and Bart Starr. Pretty elite crowd!

In my research, I came across a great article on Bleacher Report that broke down Warner’s stats for the last 10 years, against legendary Joe Namath. I started to put them here and then remembered I so don’t do stats! But go check it out, very interesting breakdown!

Kurt was an NFL star for years, but had slowly started to lose his shine in recent years. Until 2008. Once again, he made an improbable comeback.

  • Was supposed to be backup to hottie Matt Leinart but was ultimately named starter.
  • He had 4,583 passing yards, 30 touchdowns and a completion percentage of almost 70 percent. I’m assuming all of that is good. Sounds good to me!
  • Led the Cardinals calmly through the playoffs with wins against the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and now, the Philadelphia Eagles.
  • Is about to appear in this third Super Bowl.
  • And if that isn’t enough, in a few weeks he will lead the NFC as starting quarterback in the Pro Bowl.

After all that, how can you not want the Arizona Cardinals to win the Super Bowl? It would be the perfect ending to this perfect made-for-Disney, inspirational story.

For more on the Cardinals trip to the Super Bowl, start with my NFC Championship Recap.


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