Super Bowl MVP Kurt Warner Talks Moving from Stocking Shelves to NFL Stardom

As a NADA featured speaker, Kurt Warner wants to motivate dealers to reach their goals.

Nancy Dunham, Principal Analyst/Retail

February 4, 2024

4 Min Read
Warner
Quarterback Kurt Warner (#13) of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates after winning the NFC championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Jan. 18, 2009.Getty Images

LAS VEGAS – Football fans must wait another week for Super Bowl LVIII here in Las Vegas, but attendees at the NADA Show have a chance to hear from a Super Bowl hero.

Kurt Warner, widely known as one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL, is a featured speaker at NADA. 

“My goal as the featured speaker will be to use my story to encourage the dealers to chase their goals,” Warner tells WardsAuto, adding he will “hopefully share some past experiences to encourage them no matter where they find themselves now.”

Warner has plenty of such experiences to share. Like many young men, he worked hard to make it to the NFL draft but went unselected in 1994. In fact, the Green Bay Packers “undrafted” him.

The release prompted him to take a job stocking shelves at an Iowa supermarket for $5.50 an hour. He also returned to his college, the University of Northern Iowa, to work as a graduate assistant coach.

After successful seasons with the Arena Football League’s Iowa Barnstormers and NFL Europe, the St. Louis Rams signed Warner as a free agent in 1998.

As others have written, Warner’s Cinderella story took off in 1999 when Rams quarterback Trent Green was injured.

Warner was called on to fill the role and became the NFL’s Most Valuable Player (the Rams had a 13-3-0 season) and led the team to its first Super Bowl, where they bested the Tennessee Titans 23-16. Warner was named Super Bowl MVP.

Warner’s football career included more awards, including a second league MVP and two more trips to the Super Bowl. One was with the Rams and the other with the Arizona Cardinals.

Warner retired from football in January 2010, saying he wanted to spend more time with his seven children and wife Brenda Warner, a retired U.S. Marine Corps corporal.

And his passion for family plays a significant role in the cars the Pro Football Hall of Famer drives.

He says he’s not wed to any one style or brand of car but wants one that suits his whole family. When his seven kids were young, he drove a minivan.

“I was not seen as the ‘cool’ dad,” he says. “I loved the vehicle because of how easy it was for our family.”

As a self-proclaimed “big guy” with a love for trucks, he was awarded a Ford Expedition in 2000 as part of his Super Bowl MVP honors. Now, he drives a Tesla.

“I am trying to make some moves toward helping the environment, but I also love the way the vehicle handles and how comfortable it is for my family,” he says. 
“So, I guess my answer would be, give me a car, any car, that meets the needs of my family and gets us from point A to point B and that’s my favorite car at the moment!”

As fans know, family is Warner’s focus. He and his spouse Brenda Warner founded Treasure House, a Phoenix, AZ, community living facility for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Their son Zack suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was four months old.

“He has dealt with challenges his entire life.  He has had many people place limitations on him because of his disabilities, while we on the other hand have had the blessing of seeing all of his abilities,” says Warner. "So, we designed a home for young adults like Zack, and families like ours, so they can chase their passions and dream differently. 

“We have watched Treasure House transform the lives of all of our residents. We have watched them thrive within the community and grow in ways many never thought they could. We are hopeful that there are many more Treasure Houses in our future and many more lives and families to be impacted.”

NADA attendees can expect Warner’s story to motivate them in whatever pursuit they choose or challenges they face.

“I have had lots of ups and downs in my life and chasing my goals in each of those times had unique challenges, so I believe I have lots of practical experience on how to reach the mountain top regardless of your current circumstances,” he says.  “My hope is in sharing with the dealers those experiences (so) they will be encouraged in new ways and re-energized to go out and chase excellence.”

Editors' Note: Warner is scheduled to speak at 9 am Sunday, Feb. 4 at the Main Stage, NADA Show.

 

 

About the Author(s)

Nancy Dunham

Principal Analyst/Retail, WardsAuto

Nancy Dunham became an auto journalist more than twenty years ago. She has worked as an editor and writer for the National Automobile Dealers Association, US News & World Report, CarFax, and various newspapers in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. Her work also appears in Costco Connections, AARP, the New York Times, Rolling Stone and other publications.

Before specializing in automotive retail journalism, she was a newspaper reporter, magazine editor and publisher.

She lives in Tucson, Arizona, with her three beloved cats.

Contact her at [email protected] or https://www.linkedin.com/in/nancydwrites/.

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