Happy Birthday to Northern Iowa Legend, Kurt Warner
Kurt Warner may be the most famous University of Northern Iowa alumni to ever come through Cedar Falls. I mean, you can look at this list from Wikipedia and determine that for yourself, but if I had to guess, I'd say the 1,000-year-old senator Chuck Grassley isn't quite as famous as this NFL MVP and Super Bowl Champion.
You know the story by now -- one-year college starter, stocking shelves at Hy-Vee, Arena League legend, lucks into a starting position in the NFL and becomes one of the greatest to ever do it. Yada, yada, yada. Boring stuff, right?
There is something new to this story, though -- it's the Burlington native's 51st birthday (wow, that's old) today! Happy birthday, Kurt!
In his one year starting for the Panthers, Warner broke onto the NCAA Division I-AA and Gateway Conference (where UNI played before they joined the Missouri Valley Conference) scene by throwing for nearly 3,000 yards and 17 touchdowns on his way to earning conference MVP. The Panthers went 8-4 that season.
Following his collegiate career, Warner went on to play for the Iowa Barnstormers in the Arena League. Over his three seasons with the Barnstormers, Warner completed 62% of his passes for 10,465 yards and 183 touchdowns. Iowa won 30 games over his tenure there.
After those three seasons, Warner was picked up by the St. Louis Rams and stashed overseas in Europe for developmental purposes. In his lone season playing for the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe, he completed 165 passes for 2,101 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Then, he got his shot. In the 1999-2000 seasons, the Rams were expected to be one of the best teams in the NFL -- that was before starting quarterback QB Trent Green went down with a season-ending injury in their fourth preseason game.
What ensued became Warner's legacy. He threw for over 4,000 yards and 41 touchdowns becoming the NFL MVP for the season. Oh, and St. Louis won their first and only Super Bowl, defeating the Tennessee Titans, 23-16.
Over the remainder of his career, he went on to win another NFL MVP and play in two more Super Bowls -- including almost winning it with the once lowly Arizona Cardinals after a 9-7 regular season in 2009. He's now in the NFL Hall of Fame and works for the NFL Network as an analyst.
He also responded to one of my tweets in January, completing my entire life.
That's quite the story and an eventful start to 51 years if you ask me.
More recently, Warner was in the news for visiting the Cedar Falls Hy-Vee with Peyton Manning as part of his show, Peyton's Places. His son also committed to play quarterback for the Temple Owls in January and he surprised a single mom with a new home in early May.