One of the most unlikeliest success stories in sports history was witnessing Kurt Warner go from undrafted to Hall of Fame. It has been well documented how he once was bagging groceries in an Iowa supermarket and then in a few years became Super Bowl champion. However, his 1999 season not only made him a household name, he transformed the trajectory of the Rams’ franchise.
Kurt Warner Explodes Onto NFL Scene
There weren’t lofty expectations for the St. Louis Rams that season with their starter Trent Green healthy. When he went down in the preseason due to injury, their season seemed much dimmer. However, Warner put those worries to rest within the first month. In the first three games, Warner did this:
- Week 1 vs. Ravens 28/44, 309 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs, 27-10 Win
- Week 3 vs. Falcons 17/25, 275 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs, 35-7 Win
- Week 4 @ Bengals 17/21, 310 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTSs, 38-10 Win
When Week 5 rolled around for their 4th game of the season, they faced the San Francisco 49ers. To say the NFC West teams had a one-sided rivalry is being nice. The Rams had lost 17 straight games to the storied franchise in The Bay over a decade, with some of those results being lopsided. This time around, it was different. Warner threw 5 TDs, went 20/23 for 323 yards as the Rams (4-0) dominated the 49ers 42-20. They sent a clear message to the 49ers and the rest of the league that they were not the same ole Rams.
The Rams were the talk of the football world. After dismantling the 49ers, they were now the team to beat…and watch. Their offense was fun, fast and at times unstoppable. With three speedy wide receivers including Hall of Famer Isaac Bruce, there wasn’t a secondary that could match up with them. What made the offense especially dangerous was the addition of Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk. With his catching ability to go along with his legendary running style, he was a matchup nightmare. All this speed and talent and now they had the perfect quarterback in Warner to get them the ball in space.
Warner, Rams Roll through 1999 Season
The Rams had a remarkable season. Everything came together and the biggest reason for their success was Warner. In his first season as starter, the undrafted quarterback became a star and was setting records. Kurt Warner 1999 season stats were insane:
- 325/499 (65%)
- 4,353 yards
- 41 TDs/13 INTs
- 109.3 Rating
- NFL MVP
The Rams finished the regular season 13-3, their best mark since going 12-4 in 1978. They would beat the Minnesota Vikings and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Playoffs to win their first conference title since the 1979 season. They capped off their magical season with a thrilling 23-16 win over the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV. Warner set a then Super Bowl record with 414 yards passing and was voted Super Bowl MVP. This was indeed a sensational season for Kurt Warner.