How Kurt Warner’s 2017 NFL Hall of Fame Speech Is Brought To Life In AMERICAN UNDERDOG

Photo from NFL YouTube

How Kurt Warner’s 2017 NFL Hall of Fame Speech Is Brought To Life In AMERICAN UNDERDOG

By Movieguide® Staff

“Man, I wasn’t sure if this moment was ever going to come. In more ways than one,” Kurt Warner began in his 2017 NFL Hall of Fame acceptance speech. “People say, ‘Hollywood couldn’t have written it any better.’ After this, they don’t have a chance.”

The Erwin Brothers’ latest movie, AMERICAN UNDERDOG, highlights Kurt Warner’s story of perseverance and faith in the light of great odds.

In 2017, Warner’s journey from stocking shelves in a supermarket to becoming one of the most successful quarterbacks in NFL history culminated in his induction to the NFL Hall of Fame.

But despite his accolades and true underdog story, Warner pointed people to God and thanked the people who impacted his life off the field.

“Let me begin by saying how honored I am to be joining these six well-deserving, character-driven men as part of the Class of 2017, and how humbled I feel to be joining this new team made up of men that I’ve admired and tried to emulate ever since I first picked up a football,” he opened.

“For those who have witnessed my career from the outside, you will undoubtedly use the milestones – Super Bowls, MVPs and, of course, tonight – as the defining moments of my career,” he said. “But if there’s one thing this process has revealed, it’s that those pinnacle accomplishments on the field were simply byproducts of the moments that made the foundation of the man who stands here this evening.”

Warner also recognized the sacrifice of his father, Gene Warner.

“I rarely asked for the newest toys, or the latest video games or the coolest shoes. My greatest ask was always for my dad’s time,” he said. “‘Dad, will you play catch with me in the backyard? Dad, can you take us to the park so we can play 1-on-1-on-1? Dad, will you drive me to the gym and spend your whole afternoon rebounding for me?’ I’ve come to appreciate the greatest gift any parent can give their child is saying yes to spending time with them.

“Dad, I know there were plenty of times you would have chosen to do something different, something you enjoyed more, but thank you for all the times you said yes,” he added. “Because your yeses fanned my spark into a flame and your yeses kept me going when everyone else was saying no. I love you.”

Warner also thanked his mother for teaching him to trust in God’s plan for his life.

“I remember calling home and telling my mom (Sue Warner) I was considering transferring or just quitting altogether. The words on the other end of the line that night, coming from the person I admire most, would forever alter my perspective,” he said. “She told me to be grateful for my opportunity, even if it didn’t look like I wanted it to look. To never stop working or preparing, because God had a plan and I needed to be ready when he showed it to me. And lastly, that I wasn’t a quitter, and we would get through this together.”

Warner’s perspective further changed when he realized he was not in this life alone.

“For a long time, I convinced myself that I could will my way to my dream. As long as I wanted it bad enough, I could make it happen. But if there’s one great truth that I’ve learned from this great game, it’s that no great accomplishment is ever achieved by yourself,” he said. “To be successful is contingent on others, and it always starts with someone taking a chance on you.”

Movieguide® nominated AMERICAN UNDERDOG for the Epiphany Prize® and for one of the Best Movies for Families in 2021. Movieguide® also nominated lead actor Zachary Levi, who plays Warner in the movie, for the Grace Price®.

A portion of Movieguide®’s review reads:

AMERICAN UNDERDOG is an uplifting, entertaining sports drama about the highly honored quarterback, Kurt Warner. It shows the challenges Warner overcame and is intentionally very clean and inspiring. At a young age, Kurt wants to be a winning quarterback, but he struggles making it into the National Football League. He falls in love with Brenda, a divorced woman with two children. They struggle until Kurt becomes a star in the Arena Football League, then becomes a popular starting quarterback in the NFL in 1998.

AMERICAN UNDERDOG is a well-plotted sports drama, with strong personal elements and heartwarming moments. The main characters and storyline are well crafted by the directors and lead actors. AMERICAN UNDERDOG has intense football violence that gives power to the story, but it’s not too intense. The movie is marred by some low-key foul language, which is often mumbled. AMERICAN UNDERDOG contains strong references to Christianity and faith. It stresses doing the right thing, having God as your Lord and Savior, praying for help at the lowest point, and much more. AMERICAN UNDERDOG is recommended for older children and up.


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