NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Niki
The opening titles play over a young Kurt Warner watching Joe Montana play on the TV. It motivates him to go outside and practice.
Jump to Kurt (Zachary Levi) as a fifth-year player at the University of Northern Iowa. Kurt and his wide receiver hook up for a touchdown. He’s good, but he always moves outside the pocket…something that aggravates the head coach to no end.
Kurt sits in the dorm room at his desk with a big box TV, a VCR, and tapes, and watching film footage & making highlight reels of his game for the upcoming draft. His teammate barges in and drags him out to the local bar—country music blasts from the speakers. Kurt isn’t a big fan of country music.
But he sees a pretty girl named Brenda (Anna Paquin) having a ball on the dance floor but doesn’t take a shot.
The next day, he asks a teammate to teach him to line dance.
Kurt goes back to the bar, asks the bartender to play a line dance.
He cuts in and makes a good impression on Brenda. They dance all night together, but she suddenly leaves without giving him her number.
The following day Brenda is at her parents’ house. She’s trying to get her toddler daughter to eat something while her 4 or 5-year-old son Zack worries about his broken radio. Zack is legally blind. Then there’s a knock at the back door. Brenda goes to check it out when she sees Kurt standing there with a single red rose. She’s shocked. But doesn’t answer the door. Brenda leaves to make herself presentable while Zack answers the door and lets Kurt in. Immediately Zach is taken with Kurt. He shows him his broken radio, and Kurt mentions it might need a new battery. Zack leads Kurt to the bathroom and opens the top drawer, and shows him new batteries. Kurt switches out the batteries, and the radio starts playing country music. He and Zack begin to hang out and listen to the radio while Brenda’s mom watches, then eventually introduces herself. She’s impressed with Kurt.
Kurt invites her to his next game, and Brenda wonders why he’s even interested when he’s seen everything she’s got on her plate. But he’s very interested. So much so that when she asks where his car is, he tells her that he walked from the university, which is three miles away. Then she gives him her number.
During Kurt’s game, the coach makes him sit on the bench. That annoys Kurt. He pleads with the coach to let him get the W for the coach. But the coach doesn’t put him in the game.
At practice, the coach lets Kurt know that he must stay in the pocket in order for him to play. So Kurt stays in the pocket and gets drilled. Again and again. He’s determined to prove how bad he wants to play.
In the next game, Kurt stays in the pocket and is able to drive his offense to the end zone.
He pulls up to Brenda’s house in his used pickup truck and wants to take her on a date. They go to the lake with the kids. Sit on the tailgate and watch the sunset. Brenda tells him about her time in the marines and her faith in God, and all the blessings she believes He’s sending her. She tells him that Zack’s father dropped him on his head in the shower when he was four months old but didn’t tell anyone. She spent the next day in the hospital listening to doctors tell her about how Zack was left brain-damaged. Kurt assures her that he isn’t going anywhere and that he’s committed to her and the kids.
Kurt brings Brenda and Zack to his mom’s house. But she’s not exactly welcoming. They watch the draft, and Kurt hopes his name will be called but knows it will be a long two days. Brenda reminds him that Zack’s birthday party is tomorrow. Kurt says he will be there.
Brenda leaves with the kids in Kurt’s truck. His mom asks him if he’s ready for all that. Kurt knows that he wants to move forward with Brenda and the kids.
At Zack’s birthday party, Brenda sees Kurt enter. She waits for him to tell her if he was drafted. But he simply shakes his head no. But Zack makes him light up by giving him a piece of birthday cake.
Brenda’s family sits around the dinner table. Brenda’s dad asks Kurt how he thinks the Chicago bears are going to do this year. Kurt starts going into his thoughts when he suddenly stops. Brenda’s dad eyes him with a sly smile. Kurt excitedly asks if someone from the bears called. Dad says no, Kurt shows his disappointment. But two seconds later, the dad says the Packers did. Kurt and the family celebrate.
Kurt gets a signing bonus of $5000. He uses it to buy a used, green SUV. He tells everyone it’s green for the Greenbay Packers.
He says goodbye to Brenda and the family then drives to Wisconsin. At training camp, he watches Brett Favre, Mark Brunell, and former Heisman winner Ty Detmer on the field. The coach waves him in, but Kurt says he can’t because he doesn’t know the playbook. Later that night, Kurt is cut.
Back in Iowa, Kurt buys groceries at Hy-Vee market with food stamps. At the checkout, he sees that they are hiring and asks for an application. Brenda attends nursing school during the day while Kurt stocks shelves at night. They try to schedule a date night, but their schedules don’t line up.
Kurt stocks Wheaties boxes, and his co-worker asks him if he’s ever going to be on the box. Kurt says it’s not as easy as it looks. Then the co-worker goes long, and Kurt passes him a box as a football. They crash into a tower of stacked goods. The manager comes out, and Kurt says they’ll clean it up.
While eating lunch with Brenda, Kurt is approached by Jim Foster (Bruce McGill), coach of the Iowa Barnstormers. Kurt thinks it’s a waste of time, but Brenda takes the card. Jim leaves cash for them like it was an accident.
Sometime later, Brenda’s dad asks Kurt what his intentions are. Kurt says that he loves Brenda and the kids but wants to be worthy of her. Which is doesn’t feel he is at this moment. Brenda’s dad tells him it’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey. This hits home with Kurt. Then Brenda’s dad hits him with a curveball- they are moving to Arkansas and into their dream home.
Kurt and Brenda move into a tiny apartment with the kids and can barely afford to pay for the heat. During one of the coldest nights in Iowa, Kurt takes the family and just starts driving in the truck. Out in the middle of nowhere, they run out of gas. Brenda and Kurt search for change in the seats and glove box. Kurt tells them to stay in the truck, and he will run two miles back to a gas station. At the gas station, Kurt shakes snow off his hoodie, pays $4 and some change for gas, and begs the cashier to let him borrow a gas container. Later that night, Kurt vows that he will do whatever to provide for this family.
Kurt moves to another town where the Barnstormers play. There he is reunited with some college teammates, and coach Foster is happy to see him. He has the team send his checks directly to Brenda.
The barnstormers are a good team in the Arena Football League. It’s different than the NFL. The sideline is a wall, and the coach tells them to get used to running into it. Kurt’s first game takes place in the same arena as a rodeo show. It’s weird to see goats on the way to the field, but the crowd for the Arena game is packed. Kurt leads his team down the field and scores a touchdown. The coach gives him a hundred-dollar bill. Kurt looks puzzled, and the coach says it’s in his contract that Kurt will get a hundred dollars for every touchdown he throws. Kurt then throws so many touchdowns; he needs a jar to keep all his money.
It’s hard for Kurt and Brenda, being apart and deal with their respective responsibilities. They barely have time to have a decent phone conversation. Brenda drives down with the kids to surprise Kurt at his next game. She sees Kurt signing autographs after the game but can’t get through without a pass. Then she realizes that Zack is missing. Kurt hears Brenda’s voice call “Zack .”She panics. Then finally finds Zack in the hallway. Later, Kurt and Brenda have an argument about their situation. Kurt is hurried by teammates to go to a party, but he insists he doesn’t have to go. Brenda leaves.
On another day, Brenda shows up at Kurt’s apartment. They talk, and Brenda wants him to succeed, just not with her. This is the last thing Kurt wants.
In the next game, Kurt throws the game-winning touchdown. But isn’t excited because it doesn’t mean anything without Brenda.
Then Kurt gets a call from Brenda. He drives to meet her in Arkansas, where a tornado just destroyed her parents’ new house. She’s heartbroken that her parents have passed. So is Kurt. Her sister and her husband meet Kurt and Brenda, and the kids spread their parents’ ashes. Brenda says that she’ll forever remember this moment, and if Kurt isn’t going to be here for the long haul, she wants to do it alone. But Kurt says that he’ll be here.
Later that night, the adults are sitting by a fire outside the motel. Kurt volunteers to check on the kids. He starts to cry, and Zack comforts Kurt. Soon after, Kurt and Brenda are married.
Kurt leads the barnstormers to the Arena Bowl, but they lose the championship. He’s then approached by a team executive for the St. Louis Rams. It turns out they’ve been trying to get ahold of him for a while, but coach Foster has been keeping them away.
Kurt shows up at the Rams training facility. Head coach Dick Vermeil (Dennis Quaid) and offensive coordinator Mike Martz disagree on whether Kurt is good enough. Kurt gels with the team and but Martz gets on him for messing up the snap when it was the center’s fault. Kurt’s okay taking the heat, though. Martz calls him into the office and tries to tear him down. Kurt shows his resilience. Eventually, Kurt makes the team as the backup quarterback.
During a pre-season game, the starting quarterback Trent Green gets hurt. He has torn his ACL and will not be returning this season.
At a press conference, Dick Vermeil makes an emotional statement: “We will rally around Kurt Warner.”
Brenda makes her way into the locker room and gives Kurt and last-minute pep talk. She gives him a letter from Zack, and it moves Kurt.
In the season opener, Kurt and his teammates Marshall Faulk, Issac Bruce, and Torry Holt face off against Ray Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens. Kurt takes the field and leads his team to the red zone, but it is intercepted.
On the sideline, Kurt gets a call from Martz, and he’s ready for his scolding, but Martz tells him he was only hard on Kurt to see if he could take it. He’s proven he’s worthy of being here and leading this team. With that, Kurt goes to work. The team works together and overcomes the huge obstacle of beating the Ravens. After the game, Kurt finds Brenda in the stands and kisses her.
Text appears on the screen and states:
Kurt throws three touchdowns in his first NFL start, and in the next two games, he throws three touchdowns as well. It’s an NFL record.
In his first season in the NFL, Kurt leads the Rams to the Super Bowl and beat the Tennessee Titans. He is named MVP.
He would play into two more Super Bowls, one with the Rams, one with the Arizona Cardinals. He would be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017.
Kurt and Brenda had five more kids and a few grandkids today.