By Chaplain (Capt.) Matt Burden
Special to GUIDON
NFL Super Bowl winning quarterback, Kurt Warner, was a legend on the field. He faced triumphs and defeats almost in the same breath. His football journey at times was tumultuous, but in the end, he was a proven winner on and off the field.
Undrafted after only one year as the starting quarterback at University of Northern Iowa, he was cut as a walk on with the Green Bay Packers in 1994. Facing the reality that no one was interested in him and he left the NFL.
With a love for playing the game, he fought hard to get back to playing professionally and joined the Arena Football League playing from 1995 to 1997. Persevering and proving to be a winner, he carried his local team in Iowa to consecutive championships.
In 1998, the NFL took notice of him again and he signed with the L.A. Rams, again joining a lackluster team with nine consecutive losing seasons. It would be the next year that Warner led the league in touchdown passes and passing yards, leading his team to a 13-3 record, a Super Bowl win, and capturing both the NFL MVP and Super Bowl MVP awards.
However, in the coming years, Warner would be tested again through injuries and defeats. After being released by the Rams, he joined the below par Arizona Cardinals for a one-year deal. Rising from the ashes of his career, he beat out number one overall pick, Matt Leinart, for the starting job. During his tenure with the Cardinals, he again turned a program around and led them to the 2009 Super Bowl.
Perseverance and religious faith are not synonymous with one another, but there is something to be said about this man who had a strong faith and never quit. His professional career was marked by triumph and defeat, but he was marked by something different — a drive never to let up — perseverance. No matter what barriers he faced, he believed in himself.
Today, it is easy to quit after the first setback, but let us be encouraged by the words of Paul saying, “Rejoice when you run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop perseverance and endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope in salvation. And hope will not lead to disappointment.” (Romans 5:3-5)
(Editor’s note: Burden is the 31st Engineer Battalion chaplain.)