Kurt Warner started for the Barnstormers from 1995-97 (Photo by Eric Drotter, AP).
Two-Time NFL MVP to Have his #13 Barnstormer Jersey Retired
Des Moines, Iowa (Monday, May 17, 2010) – The most famous alumnus in Arena Football League (AFL) history will be on hand this Friday evening at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, when former Iowa Barnstormers quarterback and two-time NFL Most Valuable Player Kurt Warner will have his #13 jersey retired during an official ceremony. Warner was the starting quarterback for the Barnstormers from 1995-97, leading the team to a pair of Arena Bowl appearances in his final two years.
“Kurt represents the very best of Iowa,” Barnstormers President Jeff Lamberti said of Warner. “He was a MVP on the field, but more importantly is a model citizen and community leader off the field. We encourage Iowans to come out on Friday night and give Kurt a well-deserved thank you for all his contributions on and off the field.”
Iowa hosts the Arizona Rattlers on Friday evening, with kickoff slated for 7:05 p.m. The game will air live on the NFL Network, and Warner will be in the broadcast booth for the duration of the game.
“We think it's great for the Barnstormer fans to have him back," Lamberti continued. "He is clearly the most famous Iowa Barnstormer and most famous guy coming out of arena football. He's great for our league, and we're thrilled that he wants to broadcast our game."
Born in Burlington, Iowa, Warner played his college football at the University of Northern Iowa yet did not begin starting for the Panthers until his senior year. After college graduation in 1994, he went undrafted but was offered an invitation to training camp with the Green Bay Packers. Warner was released during the NFL preseason and then infamously took a minimum wage job stocking shelves at a grocery store in Iowa. When the NFL never came knocking, it was then that Warner turned to the AFL and shined for three seasons.
Warner finally got the nod back into the NFL in 1998 when he signed with the St. Louis Rams, who then allocated him to the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe. He led the summer league in passing yards and touchdowns, and the big-armed quarterback then spent the 1998 NFL season as the third stringer for the Rams. Everything turned in Warner’s favor the following year when a preseason injury to starter Trent Green thrust him to the top of the depth chart. In his first season as a starting NFL signal caller, he threw for 4353 yards and 41 touchdowns, winning his first MVP award and leading the Rams to a Super Bowl championship over the Tennessee Titans. After injuries hindered him in 2000, Warner again won MVP honors in 2001 but fell to the upstart New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
After struggling through a few seasons with the Rams and New York Giants, Warner landed in Arizona with the Cardinals to put the finishing touches on his brilliant career. He led the formerly non-competitive Cardinals to the Super Bowl in 2008 and then to the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs this past season before falling to the eventual Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints. On January 29, 2010, Warner officially announced his retirement from professional football.