Kurt Warner Went From Working at a Grocery Store To Winning the Super Bowl

Published on September 6th, 2022 3:22 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

The Kurt Warner NFL story.  In photo:  Warner playing for the Rams. It was 1994, and Kurt Warner's dream of playing in the NFL was seemingly over.

After being cut by the Green Bay Packers in 1994, Kurt Warner had to make some money.

So, Warner, a future Hall of Famer, took a job stocking groceries at the Hy-Vee grocery store in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

People who knew Warner felt sorry for him - imagine going from a NFL training camp to working in a grocery stor for $5.50/hour in Iowa.

Warner, however, was not to be deterred, and knew that his six months working in the grocery store was simply part of his ultimate story.

23 years later, Kurt Warner would be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


Warner would play high school football in Iowa, and he ultimately attended the University of Northern Iowa.

Warner would patiently bide his time and would finally start in his senior year at the school. The results were good - Warner won the Gateway Conference's Offensive Player of the Year.

This would be a theme throughout Warner's career - patience and an intense belief in himself would always pay off.


Warner, unsurprisingly, wasn't on the radar of many scouts, and he ultimately went undrafted in the 1994 NFL Draft.

Warner was invited to try out at the Green Bay Packers' training camp in 1994, but the competition was stiff, as he was battling with Brett Favre, Mark Brunell and Ty Detmer.

Warner was hoping to make it as the third string quarterback, but the Packers ultimately cut him.

Warner would then take the job at the grocery story to make ends meet.


In 1995, Warner would sign with the Iowa Barnstormers of the Arena Football League.

While it wasn't the NFL, Warner was now playing professional football and was just a bit closer to possibly making it to the NFL.

Warner dominated the AFL, and is regarded as one of the best players in the history of the league.

Warner would try out for the Bears in 1997, but an injury prevented him from attending training camp.


In December of 1997, Warner signed a futures deal with the St. Louis Rams and ended up playing in NFL Europe for the Amsterdam Admirals.

Warner would once again dominate, leading the league in both passing yards and touchdowns.

The Rams elected to have Warner on their roster in the 1998, as he would serve as the third string quarterback.

Warner was in the NFL, but wasn't doing much.


Thanks to an ACL injury to Trent Green and various personnel moves, Kurt Warner found himself as the Rams' starter heading into the 1999 season.

The team said that they were going to rally around Warner and make it as easy as possible on him.

There was no need, as Warner would put together an incredible season, throwing for over 4,300 yards and 41 touchdowns.

The Rams would score over 500 points that season, earning themselves the nickname of the "Greatest Show on Turf".

Warner would lead the Rams to a Super Bowland ultimately won the MVP and Super Bowl MVP awards.

Kurt Warner had arrived.


Talk about good timing, as Warner was up for a new deal prior to the 2000 season.

6 years prior, Warner had been making $5.50 at a grocery store.

Now, he was signing a 7-year deal worth $47 million.


Warner would win another MVP award in 2001, as he led the Rams to a 14-2 record and another appearance in the Super Bowl (where they would lose to the Patriots).

The bloom would start to come off the rose after the 2001 season, as turnover issues and injuries would result in Warner eventually leaving the Rams.

Warner would play with the New York Giants and Arizona Cardinals after leaving the Rams.

Warner's best season after leaving the Rams came in 2008, when he led the Arizona Cardinals to a Super Bowl appearance, where they narrowly lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Again, the timing was impeccable, as Warner was up for a new contract, and eventually he got a 2-year, $23 million deal from the Cardinals.

Injuries would eventually take their tool, and Warner officially retired in 2010.


In the end, Kurt Warner would end up earning over $62 million from his NFL contracts, not including any endorsement money.

Warner would win the MVP award twice and go to the Super Bowl three times.

On top of all of that, Warner would be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017.

Not bad for a guy that was stocking groceries in 1994 after being cut by the Green Bay Packers.

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