When Kurt Warner burst onto the national scene in 1999 with the St. Louis Rams, his backstory as a grocery store stock boy and former Arena Football League quarterback was one of the reasons he became such a sensation in directing the "Greatest Show on Turf" to a Super Bowl title.
I was 19 then, and while I was aware of the AFL with the Chicago Rush in town – it wasn't exactly top of mind or something I wanted to find out more about.
As I get more familiar with the league through the Milwaukee Mustangs, I can see how this game played on a 50-yard field can translate to the NFL's 100-yard game – at least at the quarterback position.
Granted, there is no room for a Mad Mike Martz in the AFL – but by watching Mustangs QB Gino Guidugli and his counterparts, I can see how Warner developed that quick release and touch that captivated the country from 1999-2001.
I'll have more on this later in the week, but it's been one element to this game that I've been pleasantly surprised by.
Jim Owczarski is an award-winning sports journalist and comes to Milwaukee by way of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Network.
A three-year Wisconsin resident who has considered Milwaukee a second home for the better part of seven years, he brings to the market experience covering nearly all major and college sports.
To this point in his career, he has been awarded six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, breaking news and projects. He is also a four-time nominee for the prestigious Peter J. Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism, presented by the Chicago Headline Club, and is a two-time winner for Best Sports Story. He has also won numerous other Illinois Press Association, Illinois Associated Press and Northern Illinois Newspaper Association awards.
Jim's career started in earnest as a North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) senior in 2002 when he received a Richter Fellowship to cover the Chicago White Sox in spring training. He was hired by the Naperville Sun in 2003 and moved on to the Aurora Beacon News in 2007 before joining OnMilwaukee.com.
In that time, he has covered the events, news and personalities that make up the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, NCAA football, baseball and men's and women's basketball as well as boxing, mixed martial arts and various U.S. Olympic teams.
Golf aficionados who venture into Illinois have also read Jim in GOLF Chicago Magazine as well as the Chicago District Golfer and Illinois Golfer magazines.