Best Sports Bargain

Kurt Warner

When quarterback Trent Green's leg bent awkwardly beneath him and snapped in the third exhibition game of 1999, the Rams' season appeared over before it had begun. Even sunnily optimistic coach Dick Vermeil trailed dark clouds as he halfheartedly talked up second-stringer Kurt Warner. One Super Bowl victory later, who would have guessed? No one, that's who. Warner's improbable grocery-to-glory story has now been told so many times that there's no point in recapping the eye-popping numbers here, but in terms of simple value for the dollar, the Ram QB's '99 season is likely unrivaled. Warner was justly awarded a bonus at year's end, and he's cashed in with a new contract commensurate with his on-field accomplishments, but throughout the season, as the completions, TDs and victories mounted, he was making the league minimum. Now that's a bargain, even if it did come at the price of weekly preachments about God's holy plan. It's almost enough to make churchgoers of us again -- if only services didn't intrude on pregame coverage.
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