When Cardinals and Steelers Were One

Once upon a time, the Cardinals and the Steelers were the same team. Now they’re Super Bowl combatants.

In 1944, the Chicago Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers were forced to merge because of a shortage of players during World War II.

The team was known as Card-Pitt and they were terrible, finishing 0-10, tying the Brooklyn Tigers for the worst record in the NFL.

Other NFL teams walked all over Card-Pitt so often that they were called the Car-Pitts (carpets).

Card-Pitt held the lead in only two of 10 games that year, and was outscored 328 to 108. Card-Pitt punters averaged just 32.7 yards per kick, an NFL record that still stands today.

Two Fields, Two Coaches

They played home games in Comiskey Park and Forbes Field. Chicago’s Phil Handler and Pittsburgh’s Walt Kiesling, later elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, were co-coaches.

The Cardinals were caught in the middle of a four-year spiral during which time they lost 29 straight games. In 1945, they finished last in the NFL West with a 1-9 record, beating only the Bears.

Three years later, in 1947, the Cardinals beat the Philadelphia Eagles, 28-21, for their first, last and only NFL Championship.

The Steelers went 2-8 in 1945, good for last in the NFL East. They beat the Giants and later in the season shut out the Cardinals, 23-0.

It took the Steelers nearly 30 years to win their first NFL title, when the beat the Minnesota Vikings, 16-6, in Super Bowl IX. The Steelers went on to win four more Super Bowls, tying the Cowboys and 49ers with five Super Bowl rings.

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