to Articles Menu
Kurt Warner: The Face of AF1?
posted on ArenaFan.com, Thursday, February 11, 2010
a press conference on January 29, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner
announced his retirement from the NFL. He talked about the many career options
available to him now that his playing days are behind him.
May I suggest one more option, Kurt? Come back to Arena Football. I don’t mean
as a player, although I’m sure you could still be a dominating player if you
wanted to. No, I’m talking about coming back as a team owner, a coach, a
broadcaster or simply as a spokesman for the new league.
We all know Warner’s rags-to-riches story about how he was bagging groceries in
Des Moines, Iowa when he was “discovered” by John Gregory, the head coach of the
Iowa Barnstormers of the Arena Football League. Warner led the Barnstormers to
two consecutive AFL title games in 1996 and 1997 (losing both times) and then he
signed with the St. Louis Rams of the NFL. He led the Rams to two Super Bowls
(winning one) and then led the Arizona Cardinals to another in 2009.
without a doubt, the most famous and recognizable player ever to come out of the
AFL. If the AF1 is smart, they will do whatever it takes to try and get Warner
back into the fold in some capacity.
The Arena Football League folded after the 2008 season, but its developmental
league, arenafootball2, continued to play in 2009. Now it is 2010. The AFL and
af2 are both gone and in their place is Arena Football One, a hybrid of teams
from both leagues determined to keep the brand of Arena Football alive. The Iowa
Barnstormers are one of those teams and Warner’s former AFL coach, John Gregory,
is still in Des Moines coaching the Barnstormers.
During the last few years of the AFL, there were a number of famous people
involved with the league. But where are all of the high profile celebrity owners
now? Where is Jon Bon Jovi? John Elway? Tim McGraw? Ron Jaworski? They seem to
have moved on to other interests once the limelight faded. There was a time when
all anyone talked about were the owners. “This week, John Elway’s Colorado Crush
will take on Jon Bon Jovi’s Philadelphia Soul.”
Only Mike Ditka has returned so far to support Arena Football. He has once again
joined the ownership group of the Chicago Rush. He is not afraid to say that he
believes in the sport and the athletes who play the game, which is how it should
be. The players and coaches are the ones who should be getting all the
attention, not the owners.
time to bring Arena Football back to the fans and away from the celebrity driven
owners who tried to stand above the sport and attempted to turn the AFL into NFL
Junior. True fans have always appreciated the fact that Arena Football was
different from the NFL. That is what drew them to the game in the first place.
Fans who have always loved Arena Football will support the new league. But
Warner’s stamp of approval would greatly enhance the league’s status and give it
a jump start on bringing new fans on board right away. Consider the AF1 a
“re-boot” of Arena Football; same game, same fan enthusiasm, same teams, new
Those who feel that the AF1 is something below the level of the AFL and those
who see it as a step above the af2 will both applaud Warner’s connection to the
new league. He is a celebrity today because of his start in Arena Football.
should bring back Kurt Warner… and Touchdown Eddie Brown… and Barry Wagner… and
many others who helped build Arena Football from the ground up. Thankfully, some
fixtures of the game will be part of the AF1; Tim Marcum, Mike Hohensee and Bob
McMillan to name a few. Their love of the game is genuine. To paraphrase
President John F. Kennedy, “Ask not what Arena Football can do for you, ask what
you can do for Arena Football.”
So Kurt, if you are reading this, consider coming back to your roots, back to
the place where football was fun and where fans could actually afford to take
the whole family to a game. Come back to Arena Football!
to Articles Menu