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The St. Louis Cardinals were a professional American football that was based in St. Louis Missouri between 1960 and 1987. The team is today known as the Arizona cardinals. The Cardinals were based at the Sportsmen’s Arena and later the Busch Memorial Stadium.
How did the Cardinals Start up?
The franchise that became the St. Louis Cardinals was started as the Chicago Cardinals. In 1947, team owner Charles Bidwill died and left the team to his wife Violet Bidwill. Two Years after Charles died, his widow Violet married a St. Louis business man called Walter Wolfner. The Cardinals were going through tough times both on the pitch and in the backroom. With the Cardinals unable to compete with the Chicago Bears for fans, Wolfner suggested that they move the team to St. Louis. The NFL owners approved the move, bringing to an end the franchise’s 62-year stay in Chicago. There were now two teams in St. Louis with the Cardinals nickname (the other being a baseball outfit) and for a while the NFL considered a name change but soon dropped the idea. The team used the baseball Cardinals’ Sportsman’s park for their home games.
The Cardinals in Competition
The Cardinals played their first home game on October 2, 1960, losing to the New York Giants. They finished the 1960 season with a 6-5-1 record before slumping to 7-7 in 1961 and 4-9-1 in 1962. They narrowly missed the playoffs in 1963 despite improving to 9-5. Despite a number of close shaves, they failed to make it to the playoffs a singe time during the 1960s.
Following the 1970 merger, the Cardinals were placed in the NFC East division. They began the season impressively but characteristically lost momentum towards the end of the season and missed the playoffs yet again. They waited until 1974 to make their first playoffs, when they topped their division. In the playoffs however they succumbed 30-14 to the Minnesota Vikings in Bloomington, Minnesota. They won the NFC East again in 1975 but fate would again conspire to deny them home advantage in the playoffs. They were defeated 35-23 by the Los Angeles Rams at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The team recorded 10 wins in 76 but still missed the playoffs and they spent the rest of the 70s in mediocrity.
The Cardinals showed some promise in the early 80s, posting three consecutive winning seasons from 1982 to 1984 which included making the playoffs in 1982. In the 1982 playoffs, they met the Green bay Packers but were beaten 41-16. Three further losing seasons followed and after the 1987 season, the team left St. Louis.
St. Louis Cardinals’ Most Notable Moments
Like many seasons before, the 1987 season was not exactly a joyful one for the Cardinals. However they made a piece of history that perhaps helped to lift their spirits. On November 8, 1987, the Cardinals made a stunning fourth quarter comeback from 28-3 down to win 31-28 against the Buccaneers. This win remains the largest fourth quarter comeback in the history of the NFL.
On July 22, 1979 during training camp at Lindenwood College in Montana, tragedy struck when tight end James Victor Cain suffered a heart attack and died. Coincidentally, this was Cain’s 28th birthday. His number 88 jersey was retired by the Cardinals.
St. Louis Cardinals’ Most Notable Players
Larry Wilson played his entire professional career (1960-1972) for the St. Louis cardinals winning Pro Bowl selection 8 times. In the 1966 season he made at least one interception in seven consecutive games on the way to a league leading 10-pick season. Wilson was renowned for his zeal and toughness, a fact attested to by a game in which he played with casts on both hands due to a broken wrist and in fact made an interception.
Roger Wehrli played cornerback for the Cardinals for his entire fourteen-year career (1969-1982), winning the pro bowl seven times. He was part of a back line that also featured Larry Wilson. Wehrli made 40 career interceptions for 309 yards and recovered 19 fumbles. He was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007.
Other important players for the Cardinals include Dan Dierdoff, Neil Lomax and Roy green.
What Happened to the Cardinals?
When Victoria Bidwills died in 1962, her two sons, Bill and Charles, Jr took control of the club. As early as 1964, the Bidwills considered moving to Atlanta as they felt St. Louis residents were not that receptive to football and the team was not performing well. The city of St. Louis however persuaded them to stay by building them a new stadium the Busch Memorial Stadium. Two decades down the line, the Busch Stadium was already outdated and the team was still performing poorly. Game attendance suffered drastically and the Bidwills decided to move the team to Phoenix. The St. Louis Cardinals’ last game was a 27-24 home victory against the New York Giants. The team was renamed the Arizona Cardinals and is still in operation today.