American Underdog is a 2021 American biographical sports film about National Football League (NFL) quarterback Kurt Warner. Directed by Andrew and Jon Erwin, the film follows Warner’s journey as an undrafted player who ascended to winning Super Bowl XXXIV. It stars Zachary Levi as Warner alongside Anna Paquin as his wife Brenda and Dennis Quaid as St. Louis Rams head coach Dick Vermeil.
The film starts out with a young Kurt Warner who watches Super Bowl XIX. He makes a life long commitment to become a Super Bowl and MVP quarterback.
Several years later, Kurt is playing his 5th year at the University of Northern Iowa with coach Terry Allen. He threatens to bench him after repeatedly not staying in the pocket after dropping back to pass, which would effectively end his NFL dream. After a brutal practice following the coach’s orders, Kurt continues to be the starter and his numbers climb to a point where he has a chance at the draft.
Meanwhile, Kurt becomes attracted to a woman he sees dancing at a country bar. He decides to learn how to dance to impress her. He finds out her name is Brenda and that she is a single mom with two kids and is a nursing student struggling financially. Even though she doesn’t think it will work out, Kurt becomes persistent and walks three miles to her house to get her number and finds out that she was a Marine corporal and that her son is disabled. He instantly bonds with the children and they decide to give it a try.
With his last season of college football over, Kurt anxiously awaits the draft. He doesn’t get picked and wonders why God gave him a dream that he would never obtain. He later finds out that Green Bay gave him the chance to try out. The tryout goes badly and Kurt goes home dejected. Becoming homeless, he moves in with Brenda and lives in the basement. He takes a job at a Hy-Vee grocery store, working nights stocking shelves. He finds out that success is not found on the football field, but how one acts when confronted with disappointments.
Brenda’s parents sell the house and move to another state, putting them in a tough situation, and the couple continue to struggle. At one point, their car runs out of gas and Kurt walks several miles in a blizzard to get to the nearest gas station.