If there was a Hall of Fame for journeys taken to greatness, Kurt Warner would have been a first-ballot selection.
The long, unlikely, windy road he took to the Pro Football Hall of Fame would have tested the technology of the most advanced GPS system available and blew through an unlimited data plan.
From obscure, undrafted quarterback from tiny Northern Iowa to getting tossed into the scrap heap by the Green Bay Packers to stocking shelves at an Iowa grocery store. From there, he reached two Arena Football League championship games with the Iowa Barnstormers followed by a stint in NFL Europe and a training camp tryout with the St. Louis Rams. That, ultimately, resulted in an improbable crack at a starting job after Trent Green went down with a season-ending knee injury and, amazingly, one of the great statistical offensive runs in NFL history, two Super Bowl berths and one Super Bowl title.
And then, when everyone was counting him out like so many others had before at the outset of his dubious trip, rising up once again to lift the historically morbid Arizona Cardinals to a memorable run in 2008 that left them seconds short of a Super Bowl championship.
Warner’s story was, is and always will be one of perseverance, the unbending support of a family that never lost faith even when so many others stopped believing and triumph against unimaginable odds and obstacles.
Ironic, then, that there was a point in his life when all he hoped for was a straight line to whatever waited ahead of him in his quest to maximize whatever football opportunities his gifted right arm could muster.
“You grow up and you have a particular path that you want to take, especially when you start dreaming about something – for me, being an NFL quarterback,” Warner said. “So, you have this straight path that you want to take. Good high school career, get a scholarship, play in college, get drafted, blah blah blah, play with the team for a long time, have success, get to the Hall…