(Isaac Bruce photos courtesy of the Los Angeles Rams)
Talk of Fame Network
Former Rams’ receiver Issac Bruce has been a semifinalist in his first two years of eligibility for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but it’s not his candidacy he wanted to promote on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast.
It was the candidacy of Kurt Warner.
Warner was Bruce’s quarterback in St. Louis, and the two helped push the Rams to their only Super Bowl victory – a 23-16 defeat of Tennessee in Super Bowl XXXIV. In fact, it was Bruce who produced the winning touchdown on a 73-yard pass from – who else? – Warner with 1:54 remaining.
Now, both are Hall-of-Fame candidates.
Like Bruce, Warner has been eligible the past two years. Unlike Bruce, he’s been a finalist, making the cutdown from 15 to 10 each year. But there’s a feeling that 2017 is the year Warner breaks through as one of the five modern-era inductees, and Bruce believes “without a doubt” it should be.
“His story itself is just amazing,” he said of his former teammate. “It’s a story made for Hollywood. The way he came out of nowhere. And he just adapted and evolved. He was a player who really took coaching well and maximized his ability to play football.
“The guy who two MVP trophies while playing with the St. Louis Rams, and he won a Super Bowl. Quarterbacks are based and judged on winning, as I believe every player should be. And I believe Kurt Warner is a Hall-of-Fame football player. I’m kind of surprised it hasn’t happened yet.”
Warner will be among the players involved in Bruce’s Legends of the Dome flag football game at the Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis on Saturday, July 23 (2 p.m. kickoff). The game, which will include former Rams like Warner, Bruce, Torry Holt, Aeneas Williams, Mike Jones, Marc Bulger, Orlando Pace, Az Hakim and Ricky Proehl and former coaches Dick Vermeil and Mike Martz, will benefit the Isaac Bruce Foundation, which teaches youths the importance of healthy lifestyles, with the emphasis on education.
But it will do more than that. It will benefit Rams’ fans, too. It’s their chance to say goodbye to the players and coaches they supported for 21 years.
“My heart really went out to those guys,” Bruce said of the fans. “Considering that we were the second franchise that they lost and once the team packed up and moved … I mean, we had success there. We had a lot more success than the ‘Big Red Machine’ that was there prior to the Rams getting to town, and we won championships there.
“We won division championships. We won NFC championships. And then won a Super Bowl. And those teams … for the 21 seasons that we were there … those fans enjoyed every moment of it. So to just see us pick up and leave … and really not have an opportunity to say goodbye … it’s one of the reasons I’m putting together a flag football game in July in St. Louis. So we can all have a football game to say goodbye to each other.”