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Arizona Cardinals (NFL)

The Arizona Cardinals are a professional American football franchise based in the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area. The Cardinals compete in the National Football League as a member of the National Football Conference (NFC) West division. The Cardinals were founded in 1898, and are the oldest continuously run professional football team in the United States.

The team was established in Chicago in 1898 and was a charter member of the NFL in 1920. Along with the Chicago Bears, the club is one of two NFL charter member franchises still in operation since the league’s founding. (The Green Bay Packers were an independent team until they joined the NFL in 1921). The club then moved to St. Louis, Missouri in 1960 and played in that city through 1987 (sometimes referred to as the “Football Cardinals” or the “Big Red” to avoid confusion with the Major League Baseball St. Louis Cardinals). Before the 1988 NFL season, the team moved to Tempe, Arizona, a college suburb east of Phoenix, and played their home games for the next 18 seasons at Arizona State University’s Sun Devil Stadium. In 2006, the club began playing all home games at the newly constructed University of Phoenix Stadium in the northwestern suburb of Glendale, although the team’s training facility is in Tempe.

The franchise has won two NFL championships, both while it was based in Chicago. The first occurred in 1925, but is the subject of controversy, with supporters of the Pottsville Maroons believing that Pottsville should have won the title. Their second title, and the first to be won in a championship game, came in 1947, two decades before the first Super Bowl game was played.

Since winning the championship in 1947, the team suffered many losing seasons, and currently holds the league’s longest active championship drought, at 67 consecutive seasons. In 2012 the Cardinals became the first NFL franchise to lose 700 games since its inception. The franchise’s all-time win-loss record (including regular season and playoff games) at the conclusion of the 2014 season is 528–729–39 (522–721–39 in the regular season, 6–8 in the playoffs). They have been to the playoffs ten times and have won six playoff games, three of which were victories during their run in the 2008–09 NFL playoffs. During that season, they won their only NFC Championship Game since the 1970 AFL–NFL merger, and reached Super Bowl XLIII. The team has also won five division titles (1974, 1975, 2008, 2009 and 2015) since their 1947–1948 NFL championship game appearances. The Cardinals, however, are one of two NFL teams (the other being the Houston Texans, the league’s youngest franchise) who have never lost a playoff game at home, with a 4-0 record: the 1947 NFL Championship Game, two postseason victories during the aforementioned 2008–09 NFL playoffs, and one during the 2009-10 playoffs.

From 1988 through 2012 (except 2005, when they trained in Prescott), the Cardinals conducted their annual summer training camp at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. The Cardinals moved their training camp to University of Phoenix Stadium in 2013. The stadium was the site of the 2015 Pro Bowl, unlike in past years, where it was held at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. The stadium also played host to Super Bowls XLII and XLIX.

Pro Football Hall of Famers

Arizona Cardinals Hall of Famers
Chicago Cardinals
No. Player Position(s) Seasons with the Cardinals Inducted
1 John “Paddy” Driscoll QB
Coach
1920–1925
1920–1922
1965
2 Walt Kiesling G / DT
Coach
1929–1933
1944
1966
4 Ernie Nevers FB
Coach
1929–1931
1930–1931, 1939
1963
13 Guy Chamberlin End & Coach 1927–1928 1965
33 Ollie Matson RB 1952, 1954–1958 1972
62, 2 Charley Trippi RB 1947–1955 1968
81 Dick “Night Train” Lane CB 1954–1959 1974
Jim Thorpe RB 1928 1963
Charles Bidwill Team Owner 1933–1947 1967
Jimmy Conzelman Coach 1940–1942
1946–1948
1964
Earl “Curly” Lambeau Coach 1950–1951 1963
Stydahar, JoeJoe Stydahar Coach 1953–1954 1967
St. Louis Cardinals
8 Larry Wilson S 1960–1972 1978
13 Don Maynard WR 1973 1987
22 Roger Wehrli CB 1969–1982 2007
72 Dan Dierdorf T 1971–1983 1996
81 Jackie Smith TE 1963–1977 1994
Arizona Cardinals
22 Emmitt Smith RB 2003–2004 2010
35 Aeneas Williams CB 1991–2000 2014

Miscellaneous

Due to Phoenix’s high temperature and strong sunshine in early September, eight of the team’s first 13 home openers in Arizona were held, at earliest, in week three. In 1990 and 1991, the Cardinals opened with three consecutive road games before finally coming home in week four. For the same reason, the team’s home opener was a nationally-televised night game (two Monday Night Football games and 12 Sunday Night Football (ESPN) games) from 1988 to 2001. The team hosted ten straight home openers as Sunday Night Football games from 1989 to 1998.

Patrick Daniel “Pat” Tillman (November 6, 1976 – April 22, 2004) was an American football player who left his professional career while with the Arizona Cardinals and enlisted in the United States Army in June 2002 in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. His service in Iraq and Afghanistan, and subsequent death, were the subject of much media attention.

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