NFL Superstars Put Faith and Family First at Kurt Warner’s Ultimate Football Experience

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In the aftermath of a brilliant performance in the most exciting Super Bowl ever played and the signing of a new $23 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals, much has changed for NFL 2009 Pro Bowl quarterback Kurt Warner. And yet, at the same time, nothing has changed. A mere month after he and Larry Fitzgerald came within 30 seconds of defeating the mighty Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII, Warner is back to doing what he loves: giving back to families in need, as part of his participation in Kurt Warner’s Ultimate Football Experience, an annual charity event devoted to helping underprivileged kids to thrive and succeed.

Kurt and Brenda discuss the mission of First Things First to a full house.

For one glorious day in the Arizona sunshine, they got to experience what it must be like to be Larry Fitzgerald, streaking downfield on a “go route” and looking over your shoulder to find a perfectly placed Kurt Warner spiral, as a nation of NFL football fanatics cheers.

They were salesmen and warehouse supervisors and web designers and CEOs, and on this day they were sharing Kurt Warner’s first and foremost passion. No, not winning an NFC Championship over the likes of the highly favored Carolina Panthers and Philadelphia Eagles, then going to gridiron war with teammates Anquan Boldin and Edgerrin James against the eventual Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers. Instead, they were giving back to their communities under the auspices of Kurt and Brenda Warner’s First Things First Foundation, an organization that provides a wide array of community benefits, primarily for children, and has literally helped thousands of underprivileged families over the years.

Over the course of a year that saw Kurt Warner go from Matt Leinart’s training camp back-up to the NFL Pro Bowl quarterback directing the most exciting fourth-quarter comeback in Super Bowl history, the two-time NFL MVP has never let his focus stray from his primary guiding principle: faith and family first.

His annual charity event, Kurt Warner’s Ultimate Football Experience, is now in its sixth year of making a big difference in the lives of deserving kids. Held at the Arizona Cardinals’ state-of-the-art training facility, this celebrity-filled flag football tournament brought 10 corporate-sponsored teams from across America—including ProSource.net, WalMart, Insight, University of Phoenix, Arizona Cardinals, and Joyce Meyer Ministries - to compete for glory on the gridiron with current and former NFL stars. In addition to Kurt, the other pro football stars who gave it their all for this great event were Anquan Boldin, Brian Griese, Brad Johnson, Matt Leinart, Sage Rosenfels, Josh McCown, Dave Krieg, Rodney Peete and Chris Miller.

“It was a kind of real-life Fantasy Football experience,” said Danny Collier, a website content developer for leading supplement superstore ProSource.net. “Just to be out here, catching passes from a Super Bowl winning quarterback is a big thrill. And to be doing it in the service of a great cause like Kurt’s First Things First charity is an honor in itself.”

In addition to contributing to the Warners’ charitable cause, Collier’s employer, ProSource.net, did its part to ensure peak performance on the gridiron by providing plenty of high-performance nutritional supplements for pros and amateurs alike to refuel with between games. Supreme Protein, another event sponsor, also drew plenty of attention from the event participants with its award-winning protein bars.

At day’s end, there was a familiar face on the winning team, as the Kurt Warner-led Joyce Meyer Ministries team emerged victorious over a Sage Rosenfels-quarterbacked ProSource team, 42-32. ProSource team captain Bob Chinery was encouraged by his squad’s effort, saying, “Last year we were pretty competitive, and this year we improved considerably. Next year, maybe we can do even a little better. We started the tournament with Brad Johnson under center and he was absolutely flawless. His pinpoint accuracy from 40 or 50 yards away was just incredible. There’s no question that his consistent precision passing gave us a huge advantage throughout the day. But more importantly than the competition itself, we need to commend Kurt and Brenda Warner for making this wonderful event happen. We sincerely appreciate having the opportunity to contribute to their great cause of helping children in need. Kurt and Brenda are incredibly giving people who serve as a tremendous inspiration to us all. At the same time, we’d also like to extend thanks to Sage and Brad and all of the other great NFL stars that went out of their way to make the event an unforgettable one for us all.”

For these generous athletes, sponsors and their teams, the Ultimate Football Experience represented the best of both worlds—the opportunity to play America’s favorite game with some of its greatest players—all in the spirit of giving.

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Karen Hunter

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