Cedar Rapids Prep is First Iowan Ever Inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame
Former Cedar Rapids Regis and UNI quarterback Kurt Warner has been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame... the first native Iowan to ever receive the honor.
Warner's story is well-documented. He was born in Burlington, Iowa. His parents divorced when he was young and Kurt would go on to quarterback the Cedar Rapids Regis Royals.
Kurt would then move on to the University of Northern Iowa, where he was the Gateway Conference Offensive Player of the Year his senior season, his only one as a starter.
Following a tryout with the Green Bay Packers during training camp in 1994, Warner went on to a job as a night stocker at Hy-Vee.
In 1995, he became the quarterback of the Iowa Barnstormers Arena Football League franchise. The next two consecutive seasons, he would lead the franchise to the Arena Bowl and eventually was named one of the Top 20 Arena League players of all time.
The NFL noticed. In 1998, Warner led NFL Europe in touchdowns and passing yards. Still, he hardly played with the St. Lous Rams of the NFL.
In 1999, an opportunity presented itself and Kurt again responded. Rams quarterback Trent Green tore an ACL in the preseason and Warner became the man. And was he ever. Kurt threw for more than 4,300 yards that season to go along with 41 touchdowns. Warner won the NFL regular season MVP and was also named Super Bowl MVP after the Rams defeated the Tennessee Titans in a game where Warner would throw for more than 400 yards.
Two years later, in 2001, the Rams would go 14-2. Warner threw for 4,830 yards and 36 touchdown passes in a season that would see him win his second NFL MVP award. The Rams would lose the Super Bowl to the New England Patriots.
Following two more seasons with the Rams and one with the New York Giants, Kurt was signed by the Arizona Cardinals. After three seasons of being the on-again-off-again starter, Warner led the 2008 Cardinals to the Super Bowl, where they lost to Pittsburgh 27-23.
In a 2009 playoff win over the Green Bay Packers, Warner would throw five touchdowns and only four incompletions. Not interceptions... incompletions. An incredible statistic. The following week, he would be injured in what would be the final game of his NFL career.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame has former quarterback Terry Bradshaw, who once lived in Camanche, Iowa. It has Emlen Tunnel, Andre Tippett, and Paul Krause, who all played college football at Iowa. It has George Allen, who coached at Morningside and Marv Levy, who was a player and coach at Coe. Before tonight, though, an Iowa native had never been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Leave it to the underdog Kurt Warner to be the one.
Kurt Warner has his own street in Cedar Rapids... Kurt Warner Way. He's a member of the Arena Football Hall of Fame. The Iowa Barnstormers Hall of Fame. The St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame. Tonight, he's joined the ultimate class... the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Congratulations, Kurt. It was a THRILL to watch you. Cedar Rapids and all of Iowa is proud of what you did on the field but just as proud of the way you always represented us and everything you've done off the field as well.