The story of Kurt Eugene Warner is considered one of the greatest stories in NFL history. He is considered by many as the best un-drafted NFL player of all-time. After high school he attended the University of Northern Iowa and earned a degree in communications which serves him well today as a television football analyst.
In college he was a third string quarterback but as a senior he earned a chance as the starting quarterback. That year he was named the Gateway Conference Offensive Player of the Year. After graduation he entered the 1994 NFL Draft unfortunately he went unsigned but was invited by the Green Bay Packers for a tryout however, he was released prior to the season starting. After his release he headed back to Iowa and stocked shelves at a local Hy-Vee grocery store where he earned $5.50 an hour. He also worked as assistant coach with the University of Northern Iowa football team, which is where he graduated from. With no NFL teams willing to give him a chance he set out to the Arena Football League and signed with the Iowa Barnstormers.
In 1997, The NFL took notice of Warner’s accomplishments in the AFL and the St. Louis Rams offered him a contract but quickly transferred him to the NFL’s Europe Amsterdam Admirals. He wasted no time in Europe and quickly made a name for himself there too, he led the league in touchdowns and passing yards. At the start of the 1998 season Kurt Warner earned a roster spot as the third string quarterback for the St. Louis Rams.
Then the magical 1999 season happened. After trades and injuries Warner moved up the roster quickly. After starter Trent Green was injured during the preseason coach Dick Vermeil declared Kurt Warner as the starting quarterback. Warner did not disappoint as he set all kinds of NFL records: he threw 14 touchdown passes in his first four games! He went on to throw for 4,353 yards, and 41 touchdown passes that season. Kurt Warner and his supporting staff were a force to be reckoned with for years to come and were nicknamed, “The Greatest Show on Turf.”
On January 30, 2000 the St. Louis Rams defeated the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV by a score of 23 to 16. Kurt Warner went from rags to riches. Grocery store clerk to Super Bowl Champion! Not only champion but MVP of the Super Bowl. I remember watching this impressive performance but what made me a Kurt Warner fan was his response when he was on the national stage. Interviewed during the Super Bowl celebration, with trophy ceremony, confetti and in front of the world Mike Trivico from ABC asked,
“Kurt, first things first – tell me about the final touchdown pass to Isaac.” Kurt responded, “Well, first things first, I’ve got to thank my Lord and Savior up above – thank you Jesus!”
The crowd erupted with cheers. Kurt is a devoted Evangelical Christian and attributes his success on and off the field to his faith in Jesus Christ. A belief I can definitely respect and support. On and off the field Kurt is a man of character and leadership. His impact in the community and in the NFL make him a true All-Time Great! In January 2010 Kurt announced his retirement. He played for 12 years and his career stat line reads: Pass Completions 65.5% | Passing Yards 32,344 | Touchdowns 208.
ROOKIE CARDS OF HALL OF FAMER KURT WARNER
1999 Bowman’s Best, No. 110 (Shop eBay)
Cards are a silver foil highlighted with horizontal lines in the background. The back of the card I like more than the front because it gives us two photos, a short bio, some career highlights and his numbers in the European league, this is the only rookie card that gives those numbers. It also has a refractor and atomic refractor parallels.
As of the date of this post raw copies can be purchased for $5.00-$10.00; graded mint copies (9’s) sell between $6.00-$12.00 and gem mint copies (10’s) sell in the $20.00-$40.00 range.
1999 Collector’s Edge First Place, No. 201P (Shop eBay)
This is a 200 card set. When released it consisted of 148 veteran cards, 2 checklist and 50 rookies. However, none of those fifty rookies included Kurt Warner. Card #201 was a late addition to the set and was marketed as a promo version and sold through Shop at Home. I love the crisp action photo offered. Looks like Kurt is dropping back in the pocket getting ready to release a missile. Nice action photo on 20 point card stock make this a respectable card. The card back I find average.
As of the date of this post raw copies can be purchased for $1.00-$3.00; graded mint copies (9’s) sell between $5.00-$10.00 and gem mint copies (10’s) sell in the $10.00-$20.00 range.
1999 Collector’s Edge Masters, No. 157 (Shop eBay)
This 200 card set is a unique set in that all base cards and insert cards are serial numbered. For this reason it still holds the attention of many collectors. Rookies are limited to 2000 copies each. Here’s where you got to stick with me; all base cards also have various levels of parallels, three to be exact. Holo Silver are the most common and are serial numbered to /3500 – including the rookies! This means there’s more Holo Silver parallels then there are base rookies, kind of weird. Higher demand falls on the Galvanized parallel numbered to /100 and the Holo Gold numbered to /25. This product also offers collectors an autograph card of Kurt Warner but its considered more of a insert card. Not a big fan of card design. The front seems too busy for me but I must admit the Holo-Gold parallel is stunning. The card back is decent, providing player bio, current year accomplishments and 1998 stats.
As of the date of this post raw copies can be purchased in the $5.00-$10.00 range; graded gem mint copies (10’s) are selling in the $120.00-$200.00 range.
1999 Collector’s Edge Odyssey, No. 123 (Shop eBay)
What makes this 193 card set unique is the way it’s divided up. It’s like a football game! First Quarter cards are the cards numbered 1-150. They are foil stamped as such, see bottom of card front. The remaining 43 cards are split up into the remaining three-quarters. Second Quarter cards are one in four packs. Third Quarter cards are one in eight packs and Fourth Quarter cards are one in 24 packs. I like the close up action photo and overall card design. The card back doesn’t excite me much.
As of the date of this post raw copies can be purchased for $1.00-$5.00; graded mint copies (9’s) sell between $5.00-$10.00 and gem mint copies (10’s) can be purchased in the $10.00-$25.00 range. There is also a much tougher to find “Millennium Collection” parallel for this set and on April 15, 2015 a Kurt Warner gem mint 10 sold for $185.50 respectively.
1999 Crown Royale, No. 116 (Shop eBay)
This die-cut crowned beauty is not an insert card. The entire 144 card set presents itself this way. The royal blue and red background accented by gold foil just screams eye appeal. The set offers a parallel with silver crown highlights numbered to /99. The card back speaks of Warner’s amazing start to the season.
As of the date of this post raw copies can be purchased for $5.00-$7.00; graded mint copies (9’s) sell between $20.00-$40.00 and gem mint copies (10’s) sell in the $40.00-$80.00 range.
1999 Donruss, No. 188 (Shop eBay)
This is a 200 card set and offers collectors a very large rookie checklist. Card numbers 141-190 all rookies. There is nothing to complain about here but there is nothing really to brag about either. Somewhat average card design front and back but overall a respectable rookie card.
As of the date of this post raw copies can be purchased for $4.00-$7.00; graded mint copies (9’s) sell between $5.00-$10.00 and gem mint copies (10’s) sell in the $10.00-$20.00 range.
1999 Fleer Focus, No. 40 (Shop eBay)
The Fleer Focus is only a 175 card set and 75 of those are rookie cards. The rookies are split up into four groups: Quarterbacks serial #/2250. Running Backs serial #/2500. Receivers serial #/3850. And the fourth group is all other rookies but these will not be serial numbered. Why that is, is unclear and kinda bogus. Decent card design with condition friendly white borders. The card backs have a lot of empty space but the huge team helmet is its saving grace. There is also a “Stealth” parallel that is serial numbered to 300 and on November 14, 2017 a Kurt Warner sold for $54.99 in PSA 10!
As of the date of this post raw copies can be purchased for $3.00-$5.00; graded mint copies (9’s) sell between $10.00-$20.00 and gem mint copies (10’s) sell in the $30.00-$60.00 range.
1999 Leaf Rookies & Stars, No. 288 (Shop eBay)
I wouldn’t mind picking up a few boxes of this product. It’s a 300 card set and cards 201-300 are all rookies. Also has parallel short printed rookies, serial numbered to 30! Checklist shows 24 different type insert subsets many of these consist of game used and / or autograph cards. Overall, this is a beautifully designed card with crisp lines. The card backs I give an A+ too this is just a well thought out balanced card design.
As of the date of this post raw copies can be purchased for $5.00-$10.00; graded mint copies (9’s) sell between $10.00-$20.00 and gem mint copies (10’s) sell in the $40.00-$100.00 range.
1999 Pacific, No. 343 (Shop eBay)
This 450 card set featured the first rookie card printed of Mr. Warner and because of his dominant start in the league this card started quite a frenzy in the hobby. For several weeks or so this was the only RC in print. Now I’m not a big fan of dual rookie cards but it is one that features a hall of famer so I appreciate that fact. But perhaps if there was an action photo of Warner throwing the ball then I can imagine wide-receiver Tony Horne catching the pass, this would give it some fluidity. Kind of like the back of the card. You see it? It just flows better.
As of the date of this post raw copies can be purchased for $1.00-$5.00; graded mint copies (9’s) sell between $20.00-$40.00 and gem mint copies (10’s) sell in the $80.00-$185.00 range.
1999 Playoff Contenders SSD, No. 146 (Shop eBay)
Well here it is folks! The cream of the crop. The “Big Dog” of Warner rookie cards. For starters, this is his only autographed rookie card and thankfully he signed 1,825 of them however, they are not serial numbered. The cards are printed on 30 point card stock and have lots of eye appeal with a refractor type finish to the card front. The card back is equally awesome, I really like the way the young Warner appears to be looking into the horizon. Overall a premium product with a premium card design. But of course this much card swag comes with a price.
As of the date of this post raw copies can be purchased for $100.00-$150.00; graded mint copies (9’s) sell between $150.00-$200.00 and gem mint copies (10’s) are selling in the $380.00-$500.00 range.
1999 Playoff Momentum SSD, No. 144 (Shop eBay)
Like the Contenders product this too can be considered a premium product, thicker card stock printed on clear plastic allows you to see through the card. Flip the card over and you’d think it was a reverse negative error card. It’s really the transparent plastic that allows you to see the front of the card on the backside. Overall, it is a premium product that is much easier on the wallet. I love the card design and the ingenuity that was offered to collectors.
As of the date of this post raw copies can be purchased for $2.00-$5.00; graded mint copies (9’s) sell between $8.00-$15.00 and gem mint copies sell in the $75.00-$150.00 range.
1999 Score Supplemental, No. S57 (Shop eBay)
This 110 card set functions like an “update” or “traded” set. It was sold as a complete set and its purpose is to compliment the 1999 Score product which for multiple reasons did not include a Kurt Warner rookie. Manufacturers release these supplemental sets and it allows them to come up to speed on players who were traded or rookies they missed during their first offering. I really like the action photo offered on this one but that’s about it for me. The dominant purple color is a killer and really shows its ugly head on the back of the card. Color and thin card stock cause this one to visibly chip along the edges too.
As of the date of this post raw copies can be purchased in the $2.00-$6.00; graded mint copies (9’s) sell between $8.00-$20.00 and gem mint copies (10’s) sell in the $30.00-$60.00 range.
1999 Skybox Molten Metal, No. 93 (Shop eBay)
This is a 151 card set and 26 of those are short-printed rookies. It also offers collectors Millennium Silver and Millennium Gold parallels. What makes these unique is that all rookies are printed, not on traditional card stock, but on actual metal. Definitely makes them different but the concept has never really taken off. You can feel the difference in weight but not on card design. Personally, I like the card backs more than the card fronts.
As of the date of this post raw copies can be purchased for $2.00-$5.00; graded mint copies (9’s) sell between $15.00-$30.00 and gem mint copies (10’s) sell in the $30.00-$60.00 range.
1999 Upper Deck Encore, No. 139 (Shop eBay)
This 225 card set offers collectors 45 short printed rookies which can be found 1:8 packs. The card design parallels the regular issue of 1999 Upper Deck except for the enhanced holo-foil card stock. I really like the zoomed in action photo. I really like the card back as well; Players bio, stat line and some detailed commentary fills in the rest of the space provided. They really made good use of space here, they didn’t leave it empty or tried to fill it in with some type of imagery.
As of the date of this post raw copies can be purchased for $3.00-$6.00; graded mint copies (9’s) sell between $10.00-$20.00 and gem mint copies (10’s) are selling in the $40.00-$55.00 range.
MY TOP 3 FAVORITE & REASONS WHY:
- Playoff Contenders SSD – Only RC Autograph card and a beautiful design
- Leaf Rookies & Stars – perfectly balanced and designed card front and back
- Bowman’s Best – only card giving us his European stats