All right, who out there doesn’t like a good sports movie?
OK, I see a couple hands going up. You can skip the rest of this column.
It didn’t take me long to see the latest sports flick after it came out, “American Underdog.”
It’s the football story about a long shot who went from undrafted free agent — a guy who lasted one day in the Green Bay Packers’ camp — to a Super Bowl winning quarterback: Kurt Warner.
Like most sports movies, it’s about more than sports and, in this case, football. It’s also about Warner’s life off the field, meeting his wife Brenda and the relationship he develops with her special-needs son Zach.
Warner’s dream as a youngster growing up in Iowa was to play in the NFL, but even getting on the field at the University of Northern Iowa was a challenge. After a couple years there, the movie shows him optimistic about being chosen in the NFL draft, and his disappointment when that doesn’t happen.
To support his new family, following the deaths of Brenda’s parents in a tornado that destroyed their home in Arkansas, Warner winds up as a stockboy in a grocery store to pay for the family’s groceries and other bills.
Yes, it’s somewhat demeaning, but as viewers hear, sometimes “you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do, to do what you want to do.”
Warner was then approached by the owner of an arena football team that played in Des Moines and, once he adopted to a quicker, 3-step drop and throwing the football, he led the Barnstormers to the league’s championship game.
Although that resulted in a disappointing home loss, Warner gets an offer to play for the St. Louis Rams — and the rest is history.
Of course, without a severe injury to Trent Green, whom the Rams’ hopes initially depended on, maybe we would’ve never heard of “this” Warner, another football-playing Curt Warner was once a running back with the Seattle Seahawks.
It’s reminiscent of how Tom Brady might have never become the GOAT — greatest of all-time — without an injury to the New England Patriots’ QB ahead of him when he was a youngster, Drew Bledsoe.
The Rams’ offensive coordinator, Mike Martz, really makes Warner pay his dues before he gets confidence in No. 13, although head coach Dick Vermeil tells Warner his few years away from the game pale in comparison to Vermeil’s time away after winning a Super Bowl with Philadelphia.
The movie weaves in actual game clips with studio-produced action, and the hits dealt out by defensive players seem bone-crunching. Warner had a star-studded offense with the Rams, dubbed the “Greatest Show on Turf,” among them running back Marshall Faulk, and wide receivers Tory Holt and Isaac Bruce.
Not only does Warner lead the Rams to a Super Bowl championship, he later was the quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals when they made their lone Super Bowl appearance. Warner, who later was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, is an adept color analyst today.
I’m sure I’ll see this movie again, although not as many times as I’ve watched some of my longtime faves, like “Field of Dreams” and “Hoosiers,” but if you like football and enjoy seeing underdogs realize their dreams under duress, check it out.