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I: Sept. 17, 1920
II: Nov. 7, 1920
III: Nov. 28, 1920
IV: Oct. 7, 1923
V: Nov. 26, 1925
VI: Dec. 6, 1925
VII: Nov. 6, 1929
VIII: Nov. 28, 1929
IX: Oct. 24, 1933
X: Nov. 28, 1935
XI: Oct. 14, 1945
XII: Apr. 19, 1947
XIII: Dec. 28, 1947
XIV: Dec. 19, 1948
XV: Mar. 23, 1959
XVI: Mar. 13, 1960
XVII: Dec. 6, 1964
XVIII: Nov. 7, 1965
XIX: Nov. 16, 1970
XX: Dec. 27, 1975
XXI: Jan. 8, 1983
XXII: Dec. 16, 1984
XXIII: Nov. 8, 1987
XXIV: Mar. 15, 1988
XXV: Dec. 23, 1990
XXVI: Dec. 24, 1994

November 28, 1935: Best of the West

- - - - - The Cardinals of the 1930s did not experience much success, and like the Cardinals of today, an extended playoff run was a rare site indeed. During these ten years, the Big-Red finished only two seasons with winning records. Of these, the 1935 season unquestionably provided the most thrills, and although the team would finish at a modest 6-4-2, the Cards remained in the championship hunt until the seasons' final seconds.
- - - - - The NFL's Western Division saw what was one of the closest and most exciting races ever seen in league history, with all four teams strongly contending for the right to play in the NFL Championship game against the New York Giants, the Eastern Division's winner. The Cardinals, Bears, Packers, and Lions pounded on each other all season long, and when the dust had finally settled, first place and last place were separated by only one game.
- - - - - Late in the season, Green Bay led the pack with a 7-3 record. Behind the Packers was a three-way tie, with the two Chicago clubs at 5-3-1 and Detroit at 5-3-2 (ties were not counted in winning percentages). On November 28, Thanksgiving Day, the Lions bested the Bears, 14-2. Also playing that day were the Cards and Packers, and those assembled in Chicago's Wrigley Field were to witness the completion of an event that has never been repeated by the Cardinals, a three-game seasonal sweep.
- - - - - The Redbirds had already beaten the Packers twice: 7-6 on opening day at Green Bay and 3-0 several weeks later in Milwaukee. So, when these two teams met on the November holiday, the Cardinals would have a chance to beat the same team for a third time in one season, with each win in a different city. The Cards, arrayed in their white-striped red helmets, were led by 27-year old player-coach Milan Creighton and featured one of the league's best defenses. Yet, much like Buddy Ryan's 1994 squad, the offense would be conspicuously weak. Early in the game, the Windy City's Winged Warriors would give up a touchdown, but would rally back. A field goal brought them within four points, and then an interception a few minutes later set up Al Nichelini's long TD run. But, the extra-point kick failed, leaving the Cards only two points ahead. Reliable kickers were scarce and placement kicks were frequently missed well into the 1950s. The Packers desperately tried to put together a scoring drive and would reach the Cards' 12-yard line, but the hurried field goal attempt by Art Schwammel would miss by inches, and Chicago would triumph, 9-7.
- - - - - So, with two weeks remaining, the Lions and Cards would be tied for the division lead with the Packers not far behind and the Bears barely hanging in contention. The following week would see the Lions blow-out the Brooklyn Dodgers, eliminating the idle Packers. Meanwhile, our heroes would manage a 7-7 tie against the cross-town Bears that would be good enough to keep alive their post-season aspirations. The same could not be said for the Bears, whose 5-4-2 record was no longer good enough to keep them in the running. These two teams would meet again one week later, making-up a rescheduled game from October 6 (postponed by baseball's World Series). A victory by the Big-Red would have tied them with the idle Lions for the Western Honors and force a playoff game between the two squads. The Cards trailed 6-0 late in the fourth period, and launched a frantic aerial assault that may have earned them their very first playoff berth. Unfortunately, the Bears would intercept a Phil Sarboe pass, setting up a TD as time expired. The Bears won the rematch (not to mention the Chicago City Crown) 13-0, giving the Lions the undisputed division title in the process (Detroit would beat the Giants 26-7 for the NFL Championship). The Cards fought valiantly to the finish, but their close call with the post-season would not be much consolation. Dark clouds loomed ahead, and Chicago's Cardinals would sink to the NFL's lowest depths. It would not be long before the Redbirds would establish a reputation as the league's laughingstock, a label they would still carry more than sixty years later.

NEXT : October 14, 1945 - The Cardinals finally end the NFL's longest "unofficial" losing streak with a 16-7 victory. The triumph comes after two winless seasons, one during a brief merger with the Steelers to alleviate the wartime shortage of players.

1996-2001, by "The Cardinal"
(This page is not affiliated with the NFL or the Arizona Cardinals)