“American Underdog” tells the story of Kurt Warner’s motivating football career. Kurtis Eugene Warner was born on June 22, 1971, in Burlington, Iowa. From his Iowa roots, Warner would go on to win two Most Valuable Player awards and a Super Bowl for the St. Louis Rams, but his story isn’t without struggle.

Despite his trials, Warner held on to his faith and persevered through tough times. “American Underdog” is a tale of how far your faith and believing in yourself will take you. It also tells the story of how God’s plan for your life is more significant than your own.

While attending Regis High School in Cedar Rapids, Warner shined in baseball, basketball, and football. After earning the starting quarterback position his junior year, his high school coach saw Warner’s talent on the field and would even let him call the plays sometimes. By his senior season in 1988, he earned a trip to Iowa’s Shrine Bowl, which featured the state’s top players.

During the game, he led the team to a win and won MVP. Disappointed by the lack of interest from more prominent college football programs, Warner went to the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, a Division I-AA school.

At first, Warner was excited about staying closer to home and playing football, but his excitement for both faded over time. After redshirting his freshman year, Warner rode the bench for the next three seasons. He thought about giving up, but his parents convinced him to press on.

In 1993, Warner moved up to starting quarterback and led his team to an 8-3 record, a playoff berth, and won Offensive Player of the Year. Despite his successful senior year, Warner’s dream of playing in the NFL seemed unlikely to come true after graduating in 1994. He went undrafted; the Green Bay Packers invited him to training camp but cut him five weeks after signing.

Still, Warner held on to his dream of playing in the NFL. He took a job in Cedar Falls stocking grocery store shelves for $5.50 an hour. He trained at his old college during the day and told anyone who would listen that he would be an NFL quarterback one day. In 1995, the Iowa Barnstormers, an Arena Football League team, asked Warner to join them. His talent eventually caught the eye of the St. Louis Rams, a struggling NFL franchise. In 1998, the Rams sent Warner overseas to play in the NFL’s European league.

In August 1998, the Rams quarterback went down with a season-ending knee injury, giving Warner his time to shine. From that point, Warner would lead the Rams to two Super Bowls and one Super Bowl win. Warner also won two MVP awards. His career would end with the Arizona Cardinals.

Warner retired in 2010 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017. “American Underdog” is a tale of delay, not denial. If Kurt Warner had given up on his dreams during college, he wouldn’t have realized his NFL dreams and won a Super Bowl. Warner held on to his faith in God and watched Him lay out the plan for his life. “American Underdog” will be in theatres on Christmas Day.

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