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Leading the NFL in completions, completion percentage, passing yards, passing touchdowns, quarterback rating, and plenty of advanced stats is quite the recipe for success, and Kurt Warner provided all the necessary ingredients during a sensational 2001 season for the St. Louis Rams.

Coming off playoff disappointment against the New Orleans Saints, Warner bounced back with aplomb even if he started off shaky with two interceptions in a Week 1 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Over the next three outings, he reminded everyone why he’d gone from grocery store clerk to one of the highest-paid athletes in professional sports, tossing 313.3 yards per game with 10 touchdowns and one lone interception — a pass intended for Ricky Proehl that wound up in the hands of San Francisco 49ers defensive back Ahmed Plummer in the second quarter of an eventual victory.

“I don’t want to tell anyone how to play us,” offensive tackle Orlando Pace said in September 2021, per ESPN‘s Len Pasquarelli. “But if you sit back and try to cover us, Kurt is going to pick you apart. And it doesn’t matter if you put a dozen defensive backs on the field. Those receivers will find some holes.”

Kurt Warner throws for the St. Louis Rams during the 2001 NFL season
Kurt Warner of the St. Louis Rams drops back to pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Warner’s aggressive style while targeting Torry Holt, Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce, Proehl, and Az-Zahir Hakim did lead to a career-high 22 interceptions, but the mistakes didn’t exactly hinder the Rams’ performance. They went 14-2 while scoring a league-best 31.4 points per game and further justifying the “Greatest Show on Turf” moniker. The next-best scoring offense belonged to the Indianapolis Colts (25.8 points per game).

The 30-year-old quarterback did suffer a throat contusion in the regular-season finale that left him under doctors’ orders not to talk for seven days, but his second career MVP-winning performance helped his own cause because he was able to recover during the Rams’ bye week to open the postseason.

Three pick-sixes of Brett Favre, who tossed six interceptions during the Rams’ 45-17 blowout of the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round, helped create a low-stress outing for Warner, who had to be far sharper in an NFC Conference Championship Game against Donovan McNabb and the Philadelphia Eagles. He was indeed sharper, though he was also able to lean on Faulk’s legs and only needed to record 212 yards and a single touchdown in the 29-24 victory.

Then came Super Bowl 36.

Warner went 28-of-44 for 365 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions, and he sparked a 14-point comeback in the fourth quarter with a quarterback sneak for a score and then a 26-yard touchdown pass to Ricky Proehl with just 1:30 remaining. But Tom Brady Tom Brady-ed en route to his first career Super Bowl MVP, marching down the field and setting up the Adam Vinatieri game-winner that split the uprights with no time left on the clock to give the New England Patriots a 20-17 win and the title.

The Rams had entered the game as two-touchdown favorites over the Bill Belichick-led upstarts, but disappointment came instead. A game that could’ve sparked a dynastic feel — two titles in three years — instead became the beginning of the end for the Greatest Show on Turf.

Read more about Kurt Warner’s NFL career:

Kurt Warner 2001 Stats

Passing Stats


Rushing Stats


Kurt Warner 2001 Game Log

Passing Stats

9/9/011@PHIW 20-1728423081276.3
9/23/012@SFW 30-26243532131114.1
9/30/013MIAW 42-10243132840150.3
10/8/014@DETW 35-0293729130126.5
10/14/015NYGW 15-1428463160172.4
10/21/016@NYJW 34-14182721510103.2
10/28/017NOL 34-3129473851459.3
11/11/019CARW 48-1414201441367.5
11/18/0110@NEW 24-17304240132105.4
11/26/0111TBL 24-1719392911261.0
12/2/0112@ATLW 35-6172334240155.3
12/9/0113SFW 27-1426422942188.8
12/17/0114@NOW 34-21233233840145.6
12/23/0115@CARW 38-3218232172298.7
12/30/0116INDW 42-17233035931135.3
1/6/0217ATLW 31-1325302803399.3
1/20/02DivGBW 45-1718302162190.4
1/27/02ConfPHIW 29-2422332121094.5
2/3/02SBNEL 20-1728443651278.3

Rushing Stats

9/9/011@PHIW 20-170001
9/23/012@SFW 30-263901
9/30/013MIAW 42-101-101
10/8/014@DETW 35-00000
10/14/015NYGW 15-143601
10/21/016@NYJW 34-140000
10/28/017NOL 34-310000
11/11/019CARW 48-140000
11/18/0110@NEW 24-176302
11/26/0111TBL 24-171002
12/2/0112@ATLW 35-61300
12/9/0113SFW 27-1441900
12/17/0114@NOW 34-213201
12/23/0115@CARW 38-3231300
12/30/0116INDW 42-171-101
1/6/0217ATLW 31-132700
1/20/02DivGBW 45-174000
1/27/02ConfPHIW 29-242201
2/3/02SBNEL 20-173611

All stats, unless otherwise indicated, courtesy of Pro Football Reference

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