The Truth About Kurt Warner and the Rams in 2006
There are few unique stories in the world of sports, but Kurt Warner’s may qualify. By now, it has almost been reduced to cliché… the grocery store employee, turned Arena League player, who overnight became an NFL MVP and Super Bowl Champion. One day, Disney will make a movie about Warner, and those not old enough to remember 1999 won’t believe that it is a true story.
Almost as remarkable as his quick rise, was Warner’s fall from grace in St. Louis which lead to his departure. Injuries, a string of bad games, the rise of Marc Bulger and personal conflicts within the team ultimately sent Warner to New York to act as Eli Manning’s opening act, and now to Arizona, where he casts a shadow over everybody’s All-American, Matt Leinart.
Notably, Warner has shown some life lately, delaying the inevitable ascension of Leinart. In the first two games of this season, he’s amassed 532 passing yards and a more-than-respectable quarterback rating of 96.1. Some have proclaimed that he’s “back,” though he still is a quarterback who hasn’t made it through a full season since 2001 and has a marked problem with ball control (seven fumbles in two games this year).
So who is Kurt Warner to the St. Louis Rams today? At the most basic level, he is the quarterback of a division rival. But there is so much more there. He is, after all, the quarterback who delivered to the long suffering Rams faithful their first Super Bowl win. He is the quarterback who nearly broke Dan Marino’s single season records. He is the quarterback that headlined the Greatest Show on Turf.
In 2006, the question every Rams fan is likely asking him or herself is – do I regret that Kurt Warner is no longer the Rams’ quarterback?
I can only answer this question for myself. I do so, with the clear caveat that I am a big supporter of Marc Bulger. I believe that, notwithstanding his slow start, Bulger is the quarterback I want for the Rams right now. I believe he can be a major part of a very successful team.
And yet, to answer the question I posed – yes. Yes I do regret that Kurt Warner is no longer the Rams quarterback. I wish that the storybook could have continued in St. Louis, with Warner becoming the greatest All-Time passer in St. Louis history. I wish that Warner could have become to the city of St. Louis what Brett Favre is to the city of Green Bay. I wish that Warner could have been a player with his number on the Rams’ Ring of Honor and, one day, the next Rams quarterback enshrined in Canton.
But, it was not meant to be. I am through analyzing the “whys,” and I have no interest in discussing who, if anyone, is to blame. I’m just sorry it didn’t work out.
One day, when Warner is long retired (maybe, the Rams will have Archie Manning’s grandson at quarterback by then), the Kurt Warner/St. Louis Rams story will reach a point of closure. We’ll be able to edit out the unfortunate end of the story and focus only on that glorious run that Warner helped bring. I think that will happen. When I think of Eric Dickerson, I think of him as a Ram who broke O.J. Simpson’s record – I don’t think about the contract dispute that resulted in his trade to the Colts. When I think about Vince Ferragamo, I think about his role on the 1979 Rams team – I don’t think about his defection to the Canadian League. So it will be with Warner – I’ll remember the good times.
But for now, in 2006, he’s the quarterback of a division rival. I’ll be hoping that the Rams pressure him, force him to make mistakes, and win the game.
He’s not a Ram today.
And yet, he’ll be a Ram forever.