Losing Is in the Cards

The Arizona Cardinals are the oldest professional football club in the USA, but they’ve never won a Super Bowl. In fact, they’ve never even been to a Super Bowl.

To put this in context, the Cardinals going to the Super Bowl is kinda like the Tampa Bay Rays going to the World Series or the Los Angeles Clippers winning the NBA title. Perennial losers finally becoming winners.

The Cards have a long history of losing — 89 years, 2 championships.

The Cardinals were formed in 1898 as the Morgan Athletic Club in Chicago, and were later known as the Racine Normals and Racine Cardinals when they began wearing dark red uniforms.

As the Chicago Cardinals, they were a charter member of the APFA, or American Professional Football Association (later the National Football League) in 1920, along with the Decatur Staleys, who became the Chicago Bears in 1922. The Green Bay Packers. joined the league  for the 1921 season.

Chicago to St. Louis to Arizona
The Cardinals moved to St. Louis in 1960 and to Phoenix before the 1988 season. The team was renamed the Arizona Cardinals in 1994. The losing continued.

Tenants of Comiskey Park, home of the Chicago White Sox, the Cardinals won the NFL championship by default with an 11-2-1 record in 1925,. The Pottsville Maroons had the best record in the league that year, but had their franchise revoked for violating the territorial rights of the Frankford Yellow Jackets.

In the next 20 years, the Cardinals registered just two winning records. Charles Bidwell purchased the team in 1932, and the Cards have been owned by the Bidwell family ever since.

The Chicago Cardinals hit rock bottom in the early 40s when they lost 29 straight games, including winless 0-10 campaigns in 1943 and 1944 and a 1-9 record in 1945.

That would stand for the NFL’s longest losing streak in history but for the fact that the Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers merged in 1944 due to wartime shortages. That team was know as Card-Pitt or the Carpets.

Cards Beat Eagles for 1947 Title
Following World War II, the Cards rebounded and won their last NFL championship in 1947 when they beat the Philadelphia Eagles, 28-21, above.

Chicago’s “Million-Dollar Backfield” of quarterback Paul Christman, halfbacks Charley Trippi and Elmer Angsman and fullback Pat Hurder rushed for a combined 282 yards in the title game. Angsman scored on a pair of 70-yard runs, and Trippi had a 44-yard touchdown run and a 75-yard punt return.

The Cardinals advanced to the championship game the following year, but lost to the Eagles, 7-0, in a rematch played in a snowstorm in Philadelphia. They haven’t been back since.

After compiling a total of 33 victories in the 50s, the Cardinals moved to St. Louis in 1960. During the teams 28-year stay in St. Louis, the Cards made the playoffs just three times — in 1974, 1975 and 1982 — never hosting or winning a playoff game.

Entering this season, the Arizona Cardinals had one playoff appearance, in 1998, when they beat the then division rival Dallas Cowboys, 20-7,  at Texas Stadium.

Which brings us to the 2008 season, where the Cardinals won NFC West Division, beat the Atlanta Falcons, 30-24 at home, and then ambushed the Carolina Panthers, 33-13. on the road last week.

Is winning finally in the Cards?

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