Kurt Warner Believes He Would Have Had Success In Cleveland Had They Taken Him In 1999 Expansion Draft


How might things have gone differently for the Cleveland Browns had they added quarterback Kurt Warner to their roster, who was left unprotected by the Rams at the time during the 1999 expansion draft as the Cleveland franchise returned to the league?

That is a question that Warner himself recently contemplated, and while he started off by saying that he has no idea, he later revealed that he very clearly does have an idea of how it went. Because he has been successful no matter where he has gone—including NFL Europe—he believes he would have found success anywhere.

Had I gone to Cleveland, I would’ve expected nothing else except to have success, somehow, someway, in some form”, he said. “Had I been on the field, I would’ve expected to play well and have success. I believe had I gone there and had a chance to play, I would’ve helped that franchise go to places they’ve never been before”.

He did, of course, have success with a generally unremarkable Rams team before he came into the picture. They won a Super Bowl and went to another. Then he had success with the Giants, but lacked a true opportunity there because they had traded for Eli Manning, the first-overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft.

But then he found his way out to Arizona, and he raised up yet another unremarkable franchise and team, and helped make the Cardinals contenders. He brought them to the Super Bowl as well, and very nearly won it, had it not been for one of the great finishes in Super Bowl history.


“Whether it’s arrogance or confidence or whatever you want to call it, that was my mentality when I stepped between the lines on a football field”, Warner said about believing that success would follow wherever he wound up. “That I was going to make my team, and somehow, someway, I was going to find a way to succeed” was the core of his mindset.

“A lot of people when they see my career, they hear or they remember that I sat on the bench for four years in college, got cut by the Packers, worked in a grocery store and then won the Super Bowl”, he said. “That’s kind of the timeline that people see when they hear Kurt Warner”.

He, of course, sees it a bit differently. He took his team to the Arena Bowl championship in two of his three seasons there, he points out, and he was the best quarterback in NFL Europe, statistically, during the one season that he played there. And then NFL success followed.

But would it have, had he ended up in Cleveland? That’s an impossible question to answer, but one thing we do know about the Browns is that they haven’t had a quality starting quarterback since their 1999 return to the league, and one of their best chances—though it was hard to see at the time—presented itself right then and there.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Gluebucket

    Cleveland was actually decent in the early 2000s, I remember the Steelers beating them in 2002 I believe. Perhaps with Warner, they might have been “contenders” for longer.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    More likely they would have gotten Warner killed.

  • dany

    Success yeah. I bet he wouldn’ be a hall of famer though

  • thomas hmmmm

    This guy is the reason they call the league a passing league. The reason why the league changed so much during and after his time in the league. He is the reason the Patriots had to cheat by taping the Rams practices to win that SB.
    Those Rams teams were great. Even if you werent a fan of theirs you wanted to watch their games because the were so fun to watch.

  • Nick Ewry

    I think it’s safe to say that Warmers success had something to do with Holt/Bruce/Faulk/Pace and Fitzgerald/Boldin. The teams the Browns put on the field in 1999 and 2000 were among the worst ever as the majority of the players they hard starting would have found it hard to make any other NFL roster. Couple that with the fact that they get nearly no return on high draft picks such as Courtney Brown he seemed to always be hurt. I don’t think Warner would have had any success there. In fact, I actually think Tim Couch would have been a good QB had he been drafted anywhere else.

  • Terrible Towlie

    Kurt is still mad at the Steelers for beating him in SB

  • pittsburghjoe

    Tom Brady would not have success in Cleveland.