Starting his professional profession as an undrafted free agent, Kurt Warner underwent an entire transformation within the NFL. He made a uncommon leap from the Enviornment Soccer League to the NFL, going from undesirable to simple, profitable two regular-season MVPs and main the St. Louis Rams to the championship in a sport the place he was named Super Bowl MVP.
Warner’s profession is among the more distinctive ones in soccer. Along with his Super Bowl XXXIV victory towards the Titans, which wasn’t determined till the ultimate play of the sport, Warner performed a important function in two different unforgettable Super Bowls. He led the closely favored Rams towards the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI, the place a younger Tom Brady engineered the game-winning drive, ending any potential of a Rams dynasty whereas beginning one in every of his personal. Seven years later, Warner introduced the Cardinals to Super Bowl XLIII, throwing for 377 yards in a crushing 27–23 defeat to the Steelers.
Warner’s journey is now captured in American Underdog, a biopic on his rise from stocking cabinets to Super Bowl MVP. Set for launch on Christmas Day, the movie stars Zachary Levi as Warner.
Talking with Sports activities Illustrated, Warner mentioned the movie, his Corridor of Fame profession and who he want to see on this season’s Super Bowl.
This interview has been edited for readability and context.
Sports activities Illustrated: After you went undrafted in 1994, you tried out for the Packers. However there was already a lot depth on the roster and you had been launched, which is if you took work stocking cabinets in a Cedar Falls, Iowa, grocery retailer. At this level, had been you continue to assured you had a future within the NFL?
Kurt Warner: Going from Inexperienced Bay’s coaching camp, proper there on the cusp of my dream, to working in a grocery retailer, there was a degree the place I doubted it. However I nonetheless believed it might occur. I’d ask myself, How do I get out of right here?
I wanted to discover a path to get the place I needed to be. There was undoubtedly self-doubt, however I used to be solely a yr out of school, and I used to be more assured than ever after enjoying within the Inexperienced Bay camp towards Brett [Favre], Mark [Brunell] and Ty [Detmer]. So I believed I’d discover a method to earn one other alternative. I wanted to work by the frustration of failing and then refocus on preparing and staying ready for the subsequent alternative.
My doubt wasn’t whether or not I might play. It was whether or not I might get the chance. That wasn’t one thing that was going to fall into aisle seven. So I saved asking myself, What did I have to do to parlay one thing into one other alternative? I used to be on the lookout for that path, that chance.
SI: In 1999, St. Louis’s beginning QB Trent Inexperienced was injured in a preseason sport. You acquired an opportunity at quarterback and led the Rams all the way in which to the Super Bowl. Was there a second that season if you realized that the crew was able to profitable the title?
KW: We knew getting into that we had been fairly good. Trent had been enjoying so effectively, we had some good expertise and we thought we had an opportunity. Then Trent suffered the damage, and I acquired put in there. I felt like I might play effectively, and it sunk in that we had been a very good crew by Week 5. We performed the 49ers, who’d crushed us one thing like 17 straight instances. They’d owned the division for thus lengthy, so we heard that nonstop all week. Then we simply destroyed them. That’s when it clicked. That’s the second the place folks seemed round and thought, O.Ok., perhaps we’ve one thing particular right here.
SI: Titans QB Steve McNair put collectively an 89-yard drive, falling only one yard in need of a landing. That Rams crew led the NFL that season in whole yards, passing yards and scoring however prevailed, 23–16, in a Super Bowl that was gained within the closing moments by the protection.
KW: The best factor about soccer is it’s a crew sport. Something you accomplish, you do it as a crew. So when you will have these nice moments, you get to get pleasure from them together with your teammates. It was powerful to take a seat there on the sideline and watch, however although our offense acquired a variety of credit score that yr, our protection stepped up all season. We trusted and believed in them. That was a microcosm of that complete season—we had been all wanted to win that championship. None of us might have gained it alone.
SI: How did American Underdog come collectively?
KW: It’s been within the works for a very long time, nearly a decade. It might begin and come to a cease—that occurred just a few instances. However with the Erwin brothers as administrators and Lionsgate, it took on a distinct mild. This group simply appeared to get it from early on, and it felt prefer it actually had an opportunity the place this was going to get made. It acquired placed on maintain due to the pandemic, however the proper folks had been combating for the film, even through the pandemic. They had been captivated with it and discovered a method to inform the story, and that’s what has me so enthusiastic about it.
SI: How far into your journey does the movie depict? Will we see the Super Bowl towards Tom Brady and the Patriots?
KW: It doesn’t go into the sport towards the Patriots. It ends after the Super Bowl win. We felt that was the right place to finish the primary a part of the story.
SI: Your win towards the Titans was extremely tense, as had been your losses, significantly towards Brady and the Patriots. What caught with you longer—the wins or the losses?
KW: I haven’t considered that Super Bowl loss to New England in an extended, very long time. For a very long time, I considered it. I targeted on these alternatives I missed. That’s the way in which it was for an enormous a part of my profession after that Super Bowl towards the Patriots. Then we made that run in Arizona, and there was a loopy play on the finish of that sport. That modified my perspective. For therefore lengthy, all it was for me was profitable or shedding. That Super Bowl taught me that profitable and shedding just isn’t all the time on the scoreboard. I needed to be taught to understand and benefit from the moments, moderately than solely concentrate on the outcomes of these moments.
Now, after I look again, I relish that I performed in three Super Bowls. These had been three unbelievable Super Bowls. All of these video games might have gone both approach. I could possibly be 3–0; I could possibly be 0–3. That’s a good way to have a look at life. Too typically, that’s how we outline ourselves. How would folks view me if I’d gained all three video games, or if I’d misplaced all three, even when I’d achieved nothing in another way? We enable various things to outline us as a substitute of how we reside our lives. So my perspective has modified drastically over time. For a very long time, I did take a look at who had more factors on the scoreboard. I don’t fairly take a look at life the identical approach now.
SI: Why ought to folks see American Underdog?
KW: Individuals are going to get one thing out of it. They’re going to get worth from it, whether or not it encourages folks or challenges folks, whether or not they’re sports activities followers or not. This film will get you to have a look at life in another way.
SI: As of now, who’s your Super Bowl choose?
KW: It adjustments every day. I simply love the story traces this sport creates. As a lot as I might like to see Arizona there, and they’ve performed so effectively this yr, there isn’t any higher story line than Tom Brady towards Invoice Belichick. Tampa towards New England, watching that complete factor play out, it might be a lot more high-profile than what we noticed after they performed within the common season.
More NFL Protection:
• Ravens Deserve Credit score for Preserving it Shut
• Dolphins Did not Want Fast Repair to Discover Id
• Rating All 32 Groups’ Quarterback Conditions
• Wild AFC North Race Sums Up the NFL’s Unpredictable Season