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Why does St. Louis continue to embrace Warner?
By Roger Hensley
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QUESTION: Kurt Warner has not played for the St. Louis Rams since 2003. In fact, after one year with the Giants, he has spent the last five seasons with NFC West rival Arizona. Yet his name still evokes great passion among most Rams’ fans. What do you think it is about Warner that holds such a special place among the fan base here?
Warner’s rise from obscurity to Super Bowl MVP was THE sports story in 1999. The Greatest Show on Turf teams will go down in history as one of the greatest offenses ever. Teams like the Patriots and Colts may have had longer staying power. Great offenses like the Saints come and go. But no team will probably ever duplicate what the Rams did in scoring 500-plus points three years in a row — at least not in a 16-game schedule. But it’s not just what Warner did on the field as triggerman of those offenses, it’s the way he did it — with class, character, and charisma — that makes him a St. Louis sports icon.
Two Super Bowls . . . one Super Bowl victory . . . two league MVP awards . . . the best pro football St. Louis has ever seen, 1999-2001. Beyond all that, St. Louisans love to embrace athletes who shine off the field, too. Warner certainly fits that bill, with his charity work, his faith, etc. Plus, his continued loyalty to St. Louis resonates here.
One, he is an amazing story. Two, he actually led this star-crossed franchise to two Super Bowls. Warner was the ultimate underdog-made-good story and he never let his storybook success go to his head. He remained committed to helping people and sharing his faith. So not only did he succeed at a very high level, he remained a genuine hero to his fans. Such stories seem rare in our sports world.
First, he was the Super Bowl MVP. He led Rams fans to the promised land.
Second is his underdog backstory. It fits with the perception of St. Louis — from within as well as without — as a scrappy underdog. He had the common touch, which even nonsports fans can relate to, and he didn’t lose it. He led the underdogs and the undervalued to the promised land
Third, his religious and family values resonate with a large portion of the population. He showed that nice guys could finish first. After success in the Super Bowl, he became more committed to his foundation and its work, spending more time, not less, with his coat drive and families with special needs kids. He was an example of giving back, remembering where you came from, and always staying grounded.
Kurt Warner was a great back up QB hero story, he rose to the occasion when the signed free-agent Trent Green went down with an ACL tear in a pre-season game during the ‘99 season. Warner never failed to go above and beyond when he was called to do so.
He led them to the Super Bowl twice while in St. Louis, Earned a Super Bowl MVP award in a hard fought record setting game.
His Character is the only thing that surpasses his will, skill, and love for the game. He is a very Charitable giver, whether its his time with Special Olympic Athletes or the donations to his First Things First Foundation.
Kurt is just a remarkable person, athlete and Humanitarian. He has been my Favorite Quarterback since he took his Rams to the Super Bowl in 1999 when i was just 8 years old. Don’t Forget that he’s 38 and still leading the league.