The Arena Football League is celebrating their 25th anniversary this year and with that, they are naming the 25 greatest arena football players of all-time. Thursday, the Arena Football League named former St. Louis Rams, New York Giants and Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner as the 16th greatest arena football player of all-time.
Before Warner achieved greatness in the NFL he had to start somewhere. After not being drafted out of FCS school Northern Iowa, the former Gateway Conference Offensive Player of the Year tried out with the Green Bay Packers but did not make the team.
In 1995, while stocking shelves in an Iowa grocery stores, Warner played for the Iowa Barnstormers of the Arena Football League. In his rookie season he passed for 2,996 yards and 43 touchdowns and set a league record, for that time, with 428 passing yards in a game.
In 1996, Warner improved dramatically. He threw for 3,341 yards and 61 touchdowns leading the Barnstormers to ArenaBowl X. In ArenaBowl X, Warner led a drive against the Tampa Bay Storm to the one-yard line but on four straight plays, Warner and the Barnstormers were shut down causing the Storm to win 42-38.
Warner’s final season would culminate in another ArenaBowl appearance but a failure to win. The Barnstormers would lose to the Arizona Rattlers 55-31. However, Warner completed 31 passes in 51 attempts. Both of those numbers are still ArenaBowl records to date.
From that point on, the rest is history. Warner would be noticed by the Rams and would lead them to a Super Bowl victory against the Tennessee Titans and when you think about former arena football players, Warner’s name should always come to mind.