If the St. Louis Rams of the National Football League (NFL) are to be contenders for a championship this season, they will need quarterback Kurt Warner to return to form. Late in July, a couple of weeks after celebrating his 32nd birthday, the quarterback sat in the kitchen of his Chesterfield, Mo., home, sounding downright cocky about the upcoming season. Brenda Warner, however, preferred to discuss last season and the backlash against her and Kurt while the Rams were falling from Super Bowl favorites to 7-9 washouts. It appears their popularity is directly related to Kurt's performance on the field. From 1999 through 2001, as he rose from obscurity to lead the Rams on some of the greatest offensive displays in NFL history, most St. Louis fans couldn't get enough of the Warners. Then came the Crash of 2002 and the couple's plunge into disfavor. It will be even nastier than last year's when Warner was plagued by injuries to his throwing hand; the sudden emergence of Marc Bulger, another formerly anonymous passer who flourished in coach Mike Martz's offense, had people all over town (including players in the Rams' locker room) taking sides. Asked whether Warner is vulnerable to losing his job to Bulger, head coach Mike Martz says, "No. Kurt Warner is our quarterback.".
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