The year was 1998. The place was St Louis, Missouri. Two men were employed by the local NFL team – The Rams. Fate had major treats in store for both men ….. their ultimate boyhood dreams to be fulfilled. This is not their story. This is the story of their wives ….. Brenda and Dawn ….. two spikey-haired Tammies.
Being a Quarterback is a BIG deal whether it is a neighborhood Pee Wee League or the Florida Gators or the New York Football Giants. The spotlight always shines on the QB. Every boy might dream of being Broadway Joe or “a Manning” or a Tebow or “a Colt” but darn few make it.
The last student in each graduating class at Harvard Med School is called “Doctor” so too was the 3rd string QB at the Univ of Northern Iowa in 1994 called “Quarterback”. His name was Kurt Warner.
Surely you know the Kurt Warner “grocery store stock boy” story. It is Horatio Alger-esque. Horatio Alger is listed right behind Horace Greeley in the roll call of people no longer mentioned in public schools but should be.
This has been Super Bowl Week so its all been regurgitated from ten years ago when America first met Kurt (and Brenda) Warner.
This is not Kurt’s story today. This is Brenda’s ….. and that other spikey-haired wife back in St Louis in 1998 – Dawn. The one married to Rams’ linebacker coach – John Bunting. Two “Tammy Wynettes standing by their man” and earning the scars to prove it.
Something else was developing in America back in the late 90s. It was a technological tsunami that was destined to reshape the “joy” of celebrity status forevermore. Kurt & Brenda Warner and John & Dawn Bunting joined the pantheon of high profile sports celebrity couples at the same time that America discovered “the Internet” ….. uh oh.
St Louis has always been “a great sports town”. Unlike such meat grinder sports markets as New York, Philadelphia, Boston, or Chicago; St Louisians treat their local pros quite respectfully by comparison. It’s “our Cardinals” no matter the outcome of the last game or the past few seasons. Old Cardinals never die ….. they just move to a St Louis-area suburb and enjoy “cul-de-sac celebrity” status thru eternity.
The Rams are not quite so revered as they are a carpetbagger outfit once owned by a skanky widda woman named Georgia Frontierre. They showed up in St Louis after bailing out of LA ….. after “the most hated man in St Louis sports history” – Bill Bidwell – took his Football Cardinals to Arizona. St Louisians might be rooting for Kurt Warner today. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone within 100 miles of the Arch that is pulling for Bill Bidwell. Bidwell won “worst owner in all of pro sports” so often they stopped giving the “award”.
Trent Green was injured early in the 1998 season so a journeyman named Kurt Warner got his chance. The “grocery stock boy” story captivated the Midwest and later America as Kurt led the Rams to the Super Bowl. And then there was Brenda.
Most pro athlete wives, especially QB wives, are born and bred for that role. Modern day “Geishas”. If not a former beauty queen or supermodel, at least a cheerleader. Just as future big time QBs can be picked out in a sandlot game, so can “future trophy wife of a pro athlete” be found in shopping malls. Very few are found in the US Marine Corps.
Kurt and Brenda met and married when he was stocking grocery shelves while chasing a silly dream ….. and she was trying to make ends meet as a spikey-haired divorced former marine with two kids, one of which was crippled. Now he’s in his third Super Bowl. They have seven kids now and Brenda has long hair ….. and their story should be required reading for every aspiring pro athlete and the women who marry them.
Oh, did I mention that Kurt & Brenda Warner are “faith-based”. “Faith-based” being the insulting adjective the mainstream media uses to demean “Christians”. Indeed, Kurt and Brenda Warner are “Jesus freaks”. Bless their hearts!
Even in a “good sports town” like St Louis. Brenda Warner took more hits than Chuck Wepner (aka The Bayonne Bleeder) when the media, and the Internet crowd, discovered her. Her hair, her wardrobe, her past, her faith ….. and her occasional blunt answer to a stoopid question.
It must have something to do with “spikey hair” because the same fate awaited Dawn Bunting as “her man” took center stage as UNC FB Head Coach in the late 90s..
America prefers its “sports wives” to be sexy and vapid. When seen it should be in a swimsuit calendar. When heard it should be “valley girl speak”. Neither Brenda Warner nor Dawn Bunting ever got that memo. ….. but Johnny Damon’s wife Michelle apparently did ….
The similarities between Brenda and Dawn break down pretty quickly. Brenda thinks God’s last name was BlessYou and she said that a lot. Dawn thinks His last name was DamnIt and she said that a lot. Both gals got in trouble for doing so while defending their men. Brenda usually carried a Bible (King James version) ….. Dawn usually carried a Budweiser (longneck version). Both got into trouble for doing that too. Both styles have their advocates ….. and their critics.
As noted, both Brenda and Dawn were early casualties of the Era of The Internet Toilet Stall . As 1,000s of sports fans were learning to “click on” and read anonymous comments on their computers, they could read aplenty about Brenda and Dawn. Not much of it was flattering, not much of it was factual ….. but there was a lot of it.
This website was just becoming popular and the term “board monkey” was just getting around. Otherwise innocent sports fans looking for news about their team naively thought the toxic drivel being smeared on the toilet stall walls of their monitor screens was being written by somewhat normal people “like themselves”….. YIKES!
These days most fans know that only the toxic crap written about hated rivals is “absolutely true”. The toxic crap written about “our team, players, coaches” is all lies ……. UNLESS our team is losing a lot or unless its about “our athletic director” who we never like unless his name is Wellman or Teague.
Toxic crap written about spikey-haired wives was something new. Both Brenda and Dawn were neophytes in the media meat grinder. Spikey-haired Tickle Me Elmos ….. pull their strings and both would produce a provocative quote that would hit the Internet within minutes.
Kurt & Brenda Warner fell off the sports radar for six years as he faded to back-up journeyman status to be resurrected this season in Arizona. John & Dawn Bunting left Chapel Hill for the reclusive solitude of the North Carolina coast.
Brenda Warner has long hair now. We have no idea how Dawn Bunting wears her hair these days. Someone will probably tell us. Both gals mighta done a few things differently “had they known back then what they know now” ……
…….. wouldn’t we all.
Kurt Warner was QB for the Amsterdam Admirals
of the European NFL in 1997. Who was his back-up?
3rd Best BLS Trivia Question Of All Time!