Kurt Warner rides off into the Arizona sunset

Friday, at a news conference in Tempe, Arizona, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner announced his retirement from the NFL. Warner played for the Rams, Giants and Cardinals during his 12-year career.

Warner was the starting QB in three Super Bowls, two with the Rams and one with the Cardinals. He set the record for the most single game passing yards in Super Bowl history, when the Rams defeated the Titans 23-16 in Super Bowl XXXIV.  Amazingly, the three most prolific passing performances in Super Bowl history, all belong to Warner in his three Super Bowl starts.  He has a Super Bowl career record of 1-2. Warner is also a two-time NFL regular season MVP.

Kurt Warner's rise to greatness is one of the most improbable and unbelievable narratives in American sports history.  Warner was a star QB at the University of Northern Iowa, but went undrafted after his college career concluded.  After trying out for and subsequently getting cut by the Packers, Warner returned home to Cedar Falls, Iowa. While working as a graduate assistant at Northern Iowa, Warner staffed the night shift at the Hy-Vee Grocery Store in Cedar Falls.

In 1995, Warner signed with the Iowa Barnstormers of the Arena Football League.  He led Iowa to the Arena Bowl in both 1996 and 1997.  In 1998, Warner signed a contract with the Rams, who immediately assigned him to the NFL Europe's Amsterdam Admirals. Warner led the European league in touchdowns and passing yards that season. He returned to St. Louis as the third string QB for the '98 NFL campaign.

During the 1999 preseason, Rams' starting QB Trent Green was knocked out for the season.  Warner assumed the starting role and the rest is history. Warner leaves the NFL as the only QB to throw for more than 14,000 yards with two different teams (Rams & Cardinals).

The deeply religious Warner credited God, his wife Brenda and their seven children for his remarkable success. 

"I'm excited about spending more time with my family and seeing what God's going to do next," explained Warner to the assembled media.

The Arizona Cardinals will most likely turn to back up QB Matt Leinart to be their starter next season.  Leinart, the former Heisman Trophy winner from USC, was the 10th pick in the 2006 NFL Draft.