4. Kurt Warner, Rams
Kurt Warner was one of the greatest undrafted quarterbacks of all time (who was better? Otto Graham). He played his college ball at Northern Iowa, which is not exactly the greatest feeder school for the NFL.
Worse, he only started one year at Northern Iowa. There was only one scouting report prepared on him, as far as football historians are aware. What probably helped a lot was playing Arena League ball, which helped him make lighting-fast progressions, find the open receiver, and make decisions quickly.
One of the jobs he held in the offseason really was working in a grocery store to help pay the bills. There’s certainly no shame in that. Where would any of us be without good solid people working in grocery stores to feed our family? So thank you to everyone, including Warner, who has worked to put food on the table for Americans. That’s awesome.
Nevertheless, it was still rather ridiculous that an Arena Football League quarterback was picked up by the St. Louis Rams as a backup. When high-priced free agent Trent Green went down in 1999, the know-it-all sports media and fans alike knew that the Rams were done. If Deshaun Watson should go down due to a suspension or some other reason, this is exactly the same situation that the Browns will find themselves in.
Except that the Rams weren’t quite done. Credit head coach Dick Vermeil for believing in Warner. Moreover, The Rams had offensive stars all over the place on offense, starting with running back Marshall Faulk, offensive tackle Orlando Pace, and wide receivers Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, and Az-Zahir Hakim.
It wasn’t called “the Greatest Show on Turf” for nothing. Mike Martz was the offensive coordinator and king of the productive but quasi-suicidal “run and shoot” offense. Warner had the rocket launcher arm to make it all happen. Together they piled up 526 points (32.9 points per game), tops in the NFL.
The Super Bowl was a thriller, won by the Rams 23-16 as the Music City Miracle Titans ran out of time inches from the goal line.
During his career, Warner tried to play hurt with a broken hand, was terrible and was not forgiven, much like Baker Mayfield. That earned him a change of scenery to the New York Giants. The Giants wanted to play Eli Manning, so they could not wait to usher Warner out the door.
As a result, he became an Arizona Cardinal. He led the Cardinals to a Super Bowl trip, which is really impressive, but they lost to the accursed Pittsburgh Steelers, which we really cannot forgive him for.