Former Super Bowl MVP Kurt Warner talks about faith, football and reality TV show

Published: Saturday, Feb. 2 2013 5:00 a.m. MST

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner holds his daughter Sierra Warner, 4, as he stands with his family from left, Kade Warner, 11, Jada Warner, 8, Elijah Warner, 6, Sienna Warner, 4, wife Brenda Warner, Zack Warner, 20, and Jesse Warner, 18, after he announced his retirement from football Friday, Jan. 29, 2010, at the Cardinals' training facility in Tempe, Ariz.

Matt York, Associated Press

Kurt Warner knows a thing or two about waiting for one’s moment to come. While his rags-to-riches story is familiar to many, few know that one brief moment following Super Bowl XXXIV influenced his life as much as anything else he has experienced in the ensuing 13 years.

It was Jan. 30, 2000, and the St. Louis Rams had just won their first-ever Super Bowl title, 23-16, after Warner threw a game-winning touchdown pass to wide receiver Isaac Bruce with two minutes left. Mike Tirico of ABC interviewed Warner, who was named the game’s MVP.

Tirico: “Kurt, first things first, tell me about the final touchdown pass to Isaac.”

Warner: “Well, first things first, I’ve got to thank my Lord and Savior up above. Thank you, Jesus!”

Four years removed from his third and final Super Bowl, Warner, a father of seven children, recently spoke to the Deseret News about the biggest moments of his football career and faith life, as well as his upcoming TV show, "The Moment," which gives individuals a second chance to chase their dreams.

Some people see the fame and money of professional athletes and find it hard to relate. You were a Super Bowl MVP and had an eight-figure contract, but yours is not the typical story.

The thing that I appreciate so much about my career and journey is that I do believe everybody can relate to it. There were highs and lows, obviously, before I got to the NFL. And then I got there and won a championship. But there were lots of moments when people thought, “No way. This guy can’t do it. He’s too old, he’s washed up, he’s not talented enough.” There were those moments so many times throughout my life.

I think you can simplify it to the arc of having a dream and chasing that dream, even when the circumstances said, “It’s not going to happen,” even when people told me that I couldn’t do it. That, I think, is what has always resonated with my story and what I appreciate so much.

There’s so many people out there who find themselves in that position I was in. And yet, there are two choices. You have the choice to say, “I’m going to give up. I’m going to buy into my circumstances, I’m going buy into what everyone says, I’m never going to make it.”

Or, you have the other course of action, which is what I took, where it was, “Hey, everybody can say what they want. My circumstances might be what they are, but somehow, someway, I’m going to keep pushing until I exhaust every avenue and every opportunity, and I believe that I’m going to make one of them work and I’m going to have success.”

And I think that’s something that people can relate to.

How did your faith help you through the lows?

More often than not, things didn’t look right. It didn’t look like it was going to be successful, but I walked by faith, believing that God had a plan and a purpose. That was with me every single day.

I wanted my faith to look the same to everyone else and to be the same for me regardless of what was going on — whether I was on the Super Bowl podium holding the trophy or when I was being benched two years later and people saying that I would never play again.

I wanted it to look the same, and that to me is where faith lives. Faith lives inside of us in every circumstance. I heard more people say, when I was down and out, “Your faith spoke more to me in these moments than it ever did when you were winning MVPs and holding Super Bowl trophies."

This is what it’s all about — our faith needs to be worn on our sleeves and we need to represent what that faith is or who we’re representing — in my case, in regard to Jesus — in every circumstance. That’s how we have power. That’s how we have impact, from a faith perspective.

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