For some, the number 13 is bad luck. In some places of the world, like Italy, it is actually considered good luck. To others, it can have religious meaning. Thirteen is a prime number, there are 13 cards for each suit in a deck of playing cards, and the United States of America was created from 13 colonies. The number 13 can mean different things to different people, but for Rams fans it often carries a special meaning that goes beyond superstition.
The number 13 represents a Super Bowl victory, two MVPs, and a memory of when the Greatest Show was only found on Turf. While John Wolford wore #13 recently and has since handed it off to rookie Stetson Bennett, the number will always belong to only one quarterback on the Rams.
This is why I believe the Rams should retire the number 13 so that no other quarterback will be able to wear it again. However, one person who might disagree with me is Warner himself.
Warner, in an exclusive statement to Turf Show Times said that “an organization retiring a number is something that should never be taken lightly” and that he’s not so sure he was able to play up to those standards “due to the nature of my career and playing significant time with two different organizations.”
The other one of those teams being the Arizona Cardinals, who Warner helped led to a Super Bowl appearance during the 2008 season.
By now Warner’s unbelievable story has become well known. He was a small school college player that didn’t get his chance until his senior year at Northern Iowa, another team that retired his number, and after a short stint with the Green Bay Packers, Warner was cut before the start of the 1994 season. After taking a night job stocking shelves at the local Hyvee, he began to make a name for himself playing in the Arena Football League for the Iowa Barnstormers. After a failed try out with the Chicago Bears due to injury, Warner finally got his chance with the St. Louis Rams and then an injury to Trent Green in the 1999 preseason thrust Warner into his first starting position in the NFL at the age of 28.
What Warner was able to accomplish over the next three years was nothing short of being a miracle on a football field.
In 1999, his 41 touchdown passes were the second-most ever, ranked only behind Dan Marino’s 1984 season at the time. Along with that, he won MVP, Super Bowl MVP, and the Super Bowl. He would continue this offensive dominance with St. Louis through the 2001 season, where he would again bring the Rams to another Super Bowl appearance and win his second league MVP, passing for 4,830 yards. Though that number only ranks 28th now, it was the second-best ever at the time, again only behind Marino.
If not for his unfortunately short stint as the Rams starter, the importance of #13 to the franchise would not even be in question. But Warner accepts that after only starting 50 games for the organization, almost all between 1999 and 2001, that he may not live up to even his own high standard for retiring a player’s number.
“I am extremely proud of my time with the organization and what we accomplished while I was there,” said Warner through a statement via Priority Sports and Entertainment, “but an organization retiring a number is something that should never be taken lightly and I believe should be reserved for those special players, who were one of a kind, and that will forever be associated with one team.”
Former Rams head coach Mike Martz was harder on Warner than most and noted in Warner’s NFL Network’s Football Life documentary that he may have played a role in cutting the Hall of Fame quarterback’s St. Louis career shorter than it should have been: “In retrospect what impacted Kurt at the end with us, negatively more than anything else, was probably me. I think I had really stressed him, put too much on him. After losing the (2001) Super Bowl, I was pretty geeked up.”
But Warner says that even if the number 13 isn’t retired for him that he hopes that the rookie out of Georgia who currently wears it will be able to be the one to have it retired.
Warner is excited to see what rookie Stetson Bennett can accomplish as the next Rams quarterback to don the number 13 jersey, saying “I know he will bring his winning pedigree to the great organization and my hope is that he has a career that one day leads to that number being retired on his behalf.”
With the Rams moving back to L.A., it’s hard to find a place for the St. Louis Rams greats in football history and some fans have even started a petition to have Kurt Warner’s number retired by the organization. While it was only a short period of time, Warner ranks high in most of the Rams career all-time franchise passing records and is still number one for the team’s career all-time completion percentage with 66.4-percent.
I believe the Los Angeles Rams should embrace their history and former players, both in L.A. and St. Louis. Retiring #13 would be a great start.
Maybe it’s unlucky for some. It brought nothing but fortune to one of the organizations all-time greatest players.
Here is Kurt Warner’s full unedited response to Turf Show Times asking if he had any thoughts on the Rams retiring his number in the future. You can follow his current work at the QB Confidential YouTube channel:
I am honored that anyone would consider that I made a significant enough impact with the Rams organization for my number to be retired. I am extremely proud of my time with the organization and what we accomplished while I was there, but an organization retiring a number is something that should never be taken lightly and I believe should be reserved for those special players, who were one of a kind, and that will forever be associated with one team. I believe due to the nature of my career and playing significant time with two organizations, it is tough to make that distinction for me. I am excited for the next #13, Stetson Bennett, I know he will bring his winning pedigree to the great organization and my hope is that he has a career that one day leads to that number being retired on his behalf.