Could LA Rams John Wolford deliver a Kurt Warner season?

(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

The LA Rams backup QB is undrafted John Wolford, whose career is a bit similar to Rams legend Kurt Warner. Could Wolford deliver a Rams 13-3 season?

The LA Rams have a very historically significant event on this date. 21 years ago, on August 28, 1999, the Saint Louis Rams starting quarterback Trent Green fell to injury, the team suddenly found itself counting on the “Iowa barnstormer”, quarterback Kurt Warner. The conditions were shockingly similar to the situation developing for the Rams this season.   In that year, Saint Louis started a very young Trent Green, and his backup was an undrafted and untested second-year quarterback Kurt Warner.

In 1999, Kurt Warner was the ripe age of 28. He may not have had many NFL starts, but he had plenty of football experience. He was undrafted but signed with the Green Bay Packers in 1994. After failing to pry open a roster spot, he then found himself playing in the Arena Football League. Finally, he signed with the Rams at the end of the 1997 season.  He even saw some action in one game in 1998, completing four of 11 passes.

Greatest Show On Turf

Nobody could have possibly foreseen the magic that happened for the Rams in 1999. Through the worst adversity, the team placed all of their hopes of a successful NFL season into the hands of an anonymous quarterback. By year’s end, everyone knew Kurt Warner’s name.

The Rams enjoyed a 13-3 season in 1999.  From out of nowhere, Warner led the Greatest Show On Turf to a Super Bowl victory. in 2001, he returned from a broken hand to a second Super Bowl appearance. This time, the Rams lost. But from stocking grocery shelves to hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, Kurt Warner is the poster child of NFL Cinderellas stories.

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Uncanny similarities

The circumstances surrounding the 2020 LA Rams run an uncanny similar track as that of the 1999 Saint Louis Rams. In both cases, the team is counting on a veteran to run the offense. In both cases, the team entrusted the backup quarterback role to an unproven and undrafted quarterback who demonstrated an amazing grasp of the offense.  In both cases, should anything happen to the starter, the hopes and optimism for the team will likely evaporate overnight.

This is not to say that the LA Rams have gotten lightning to strike twice in the same place. Nor is it in any way shape manner or form intended to compare the untested and unproven John Wolford’s NFL potential to the accomplished and heroics of Rams’ quarterback Kurt Warner. The point is not even to suggest that the Rams offense will perform better under dual-threat quarterback John Wolford.

History proves that hope can come when you least expect it

The point we’re making here, in a season of so much uncertainty, is simply to remain hopeful. Whatever happens to the Rams this year, we have the choice to approve or disapprove. We can rush to judgment or show patience. We can despair or hope. I knew the 1999 Saint Louis Rams, and when the starting quarterback Trent Green was out for the season, the outlook for the team fell to lower than the 4-12 record from the previous season.

Expectations were low, but the team grew closer. Warner was not alone then, relying upon RB Marshall Faulk and wide receivers Tory Holt and Isaac Bruce.  Wolford, if he appears in a game, will not be alone either. He will have RB Cam Akers, and wide receivers Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. With so many moving parts, many pundits have already written off their 2020 season. The Rams have the pieces in place to achieve a 13-3 season. The team boasts three All-Pro players in Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, and Johnny Hekker. The Rams passing offense is ripe for a dominating season. And the running game may surprise folks this year.

History lesson? Hope for the best

21 years ago, the landscape of the then Saint Louis Rams changed  Out of a place of deepest despair, that team rose to the highest of heights. A young untested NFL quarterback found himself the starter for the Rams. When the organization was at a historic low, Kurt Warner carried the team to their highest achievement. That is a history lesson that I certainly am not eager to repeat in terms of a player injury, this day in history should be reflected upon for what happened.

Don’t count these Rams out. Despite the national pundits intent on their persistence that this Rams team will do no better than 8-8. This offense is loaded with weapons. The defense is ripped with stoppers and will be disguised. So if you think that someone like backup quarterback John Wolford could not possibly lead this Rams team to a Super Bowl victory, you may want to recheck today’s date in the history books.

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You see, someone like Wolford already did. The road to the Super Bowl in 1999 started on August 28, 1999. That was exactly 21 years ago.