A once great performer who spent the better part of a decade playing bit roles and appearing on the periphery of the scene all of a sudden re-enters the national consciousness with a career defining performance.
Kurt Warner’s 2008 season with the Arizona Cardinals? Yes.Â But also, John Travolta’s role as Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction.
The parallels are eerie.
Warner hit it big as a Ram after toiling in a far lesser Arena (League). Travolta became an international star because of Saturday Night Fever, after toiling in a far lesser medium (Welcome Back Kotter).
They both used those events as springboards to widespread success, Warner winning a Superbowl and multiple MVP’s, Travolta starring in hits like Urban Cowboy and the vastly underrated Look Who’s Talking.
Then, the abyss.Â Warner hurt his thumb, lost his job to Marc Bulger, drifted to the Giants, where he spent a season tutoring Eli Manning, and then headed West to Arizona, the place where old quarterbacks go to die. Travolta starred in the not at all overrated Look Who’s Talking Too, and the equally considered Look Who’s Talking Now.
But, then, a third act. Travolta gets rescued by Quentin Tarantino and ends up getting nominated for an Oscar. He stars in Box Office winners like Face Off, Primary Colors and Hairspray. Warner gets rescued by Ken Whissenhut, and to a lesser degree Matt Leinart.Â Now, mid-way through the season, he’s the clear choice for MVP, and is said to be negotiating a contract extension.
Also, there’s the religious fervor. Warner and his wife are big bible thumpers, and Travolta loves himself some Scientology.
So, there you go. Kurt Warner is John Travolta. Let’s just hope he doesn’t follow up this season with the Cardinals with the football equivalent of Battlefield Earth. I think that’s probably the Lions.